Nurses of World War I: Grace Brown Waters

Grace Brown Waters was born on June 15th, 1881, at the 9th Concession, Lot 34 in Brighton Township, Northumberland County near Campbellford, Ontario, daughter of David Waters and Margaret Keith. The family removed to Belleville about the turn of the century, the father of our subject employed as a tailor and living at 27 Forin Street.

27 Forin Street, Belleville

She was educated locally, was a graduate of a 3 year course, and was in the first graduate class of the Nursing School at St Luke’s Hospital in Utica, N.Y. on Oct 18, 1905. Miss Waters was a life-long friend and companion of Stella Jenkins and enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on Jan 6, 1916 at Kingston, the same day as Miss Jenkins.

Height:  5’ 5”

Weight:  114lb

Age: 34 (stated age: 32)

Nursing Sister Waters served at the Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital in England and with the # 7 Canadian General Hospital in Le Tréport, France; she was hospitalized in May 1917 with influenza at Étaples. She returned to Canada setting sail on July 3, 1919 aboard the S.S. Celtic and was discharged on July 15, 1919.

Photo by Grace Waters of staff and patients at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Cliveden

Miss Waters returned to the Red Cross Nursing Service in Utica and in 1921 was appointed Tuberculosis Nurse in the Utica Health Department. In 1924 Miss Waters and Jenkins, as former Bellevillians, welcomed Gwen Lazier to their Genesee Street home as she trekked on horse-back through New York State on her way to Washington, D.C.

In 1936 the two friends attended the unveiling of the Vimy Ridge Memorial to Canada’s fallen soldiers and were then guests of King Edward VIII of England at a Buckingham Palace garden party; the assembled Veterans sang The Maple Leaf Forever. After the death of Miss Jenkins, Miss Waters returned to Belleville and resided at 290 George Street.

290 George Street, Belleville

Grace Brown Waters died at the Belleville General Hospital on Mar 4, 1972 aged 90 years 8 months 19 days. She is interred at the Belleville Cemetery Section P, Row 7, Grave S5S. Her grave marker gives her year of birth as 1884.

Grave marker for Grace Waters