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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

An Officer and a Lady

Canadian Military Nursing and the Second World War

During the Second World War, more than 4,000 civilian nurses enlisted as Nursing Sisters, a specially created all-female officers’ rank of the Canadian Armed Forces. They served in all three armed force branches and all the major theatres of war, yet nursing as a form of war work has long been under-explored. An Officer and a Lady fills that gap. Cynthia Toman analyzes how gender, war, and medical technology intersected to create a legitimate role for women in the masculine environment of the military and explores the incongruous expectations placed on military nurses as “officers and ladies.”

Table of Contents


1 “Ready, Aye Ready”: Enlisting Nurses

2 Incorporating Nurses into the Military

3 Shaping Nursing Sisters as “Officers” and “Ladies”

4 Legitimating Military Nursing Work

5 “The Strain of Peace”: Community and Social Memory


Appendix; Notes; Selected Bibliography; Index

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