Georgina Pope (1862-1938) is one of fourteen figures from Canada’s military history who are commemorated at the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa–an impressive collection of nine busts and five statues located across from Parliament Hill, next to the national war memorial.
Pope, the daughter of Father of Confederation W.H. Pope, trained as a nurse in New York. In 1899 and again in 1902, she led the contingent of Canadian nurses sent to the Boer War. In 1903 her contributions were recognized when she became the first Canadian nurse to ever be awarded the prestigious Royal Red Cross Medal, 1st Class. Five years later, in 1908, Georgina Pope became Canada’s first army Matron, responsible for training military nurses for the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Headquartered in Halifax, she trained nurses for service overseas during the First World War and then she herself was posted overseas from 1917-1919.
After the war she lived in Charlottetown and travelled widely. When she died in 1938, her visiting hours were held at Government House and she was honoured with a full military funeral.
Her critical roles in the Boer War and the First World War have led her to her unofficial recognition as “Canada’s Florence Nightingale”.
This year, 2017, is the 100th anniversary of Georgina Pope’s overseas service in the Great War. Her military accomplishments are highlighted in the fall of 2017 with an exhibit at the Eptek Centre in Summerside, P.E.I.