Nurses of World War I: Agnes Florien Forneri

Agnes Florien Forneri was born in Belleville on April 18, 1881 daughter of Reverend Richard Forneri and Kate McDermott. The father of our subject was Rector of Christ Church and St. John’s Church in Belleville and later was at Adolphustown, Merrickville and in 1904 in Kingston where the family lived at 311 Alfred Street.

311 Alfred Street, Kingston

Agnes attended schools locally and was a graduate of the Nursing School of the Lady Stanley Institute in Ottawa in 1906. She enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on February 22, 1917 at Kingston.

Agnes Forneri by McCormick of Belleville, added to Lives of the First World War by Selena Hardie

Height:  5’ 3”

Weight: 115lb

Stated age: 26 (actual age: 35)

Nursing Sister Forneri went overseas in March 1917 and served for three months on the staff of Kitchener Memorial Hospital in Brighton, England and was then transferred to the 8th Canadian General Hospital at St. Cloud in France. The strain upon the Medical Corps was particularly heavy at this time but she remained on duty until February 1918 when she was invalided to England. After a month’s rest she resumed her duties at Bramshott Canadian Military Hospital. Her desire and ambition to lose no time in the work of mercy in which she was engaged were greater than her strength to perform it. She suffered a relapse in a few weeks’ time and died of haemorrhagic peptic ulceration on April 24, 1918. Truly it may be said of her that she died for Canada; died peacefully and with no regrets for the sacrifice she was making. She was buried with full military honours in the church yard at Bramshott and over her grave there stands a marble cross erected in loving memory of her sweet character and unswerving patriotism by the Matron and Nurses of the hospital in which she died.

Headstone, courtesy of Don Knibbs at

She is commemorated on a plaque at St. Luke’s Church in Kingston where her father was the Minister.

Commemorative plaque at St. Luke’s church in Kingston, Ontario

Nursing Sister Agnes Florien Forneri died aged 37 years 6 days.