Nurses of World War I: Harriet Olive Stacey

Harriet Olive Stacey was born at the farm house on Concession 6, Lot 14 near Wooler, Murray Township, Northumberland County on March 10, 1888 daughter of James Stacey and Jane McColl.

After completing high school at Trenton and Campbellford, she attended Model School at Picton, taught for 5 years at Bethel S.S. # 12 at Wooler, Ontario and Ruddel, Saskatchewan; she was a graduate of the Nursing School at Belleville in 1914. Miss Stacey enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps at Belleville on Nov 20, 1914.

Harriet Olive Stacey (right), courtesy of Belleville General Hospital Archives

Height:  5’ 10”

Weight: 170lb

Age: 26

Nursing Sister Stacey embarked from Quebec on May 6, 1915 and, posted to Étaples, France served as a surgical nurse and later was night supervisor for 2 years. In 1917 she was sent to the casualty clearing station behind the front lines in Belgium; the Hospitals consisted of tents without floors, were sand-banked to keep out shrapnel and bombs and gas masks and helmets were part of the Nurse’s equipment. Diagnosed with pulmonary Tuberculosis, Miss Stacey was invalided back to Canada, setting sail on Feb 27, 1918 aboard the S.S. Ongar and was discharged on June 5, 1918. In Trenton at this time, an influenza epidemic was rampant and she was put in charge of a temporary Hospital set up in the old Library on the east side of the river. After a short time spent working in Hamilton, Montana, Hattie was in the employ of the Belleville General and in 1931 was appointed Superintendent of the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital which was newly opened in Montana on July 1st; later that decade she returned home to care for her aged mother.

Nursing Sister Stacey passed at the Trenton Memorial Hospital and on her casket lay 3 medals, one of which was the 1914-15 Star; the wearer of this Medal had been called the Contemptibles by Kaiser Wilhelm, a word that in Military circles became a Badge of Honor. With the assistance of the Last Post Fund and the Cemetery, a Grave Marker was provided this Veteran.

Harriet Olive Stacey died on Nov 29, 1971 aged 83 years 8 months 19 days. She is interred at McPhail’s Cemetery, the N.E. ¼ of Lot 7, Line 3.

Marker for Harriet Stacey, courtesy of Campbell’s Monuments