Nursing sister, Canadian Army Medical Corps Margaret Jane Fortescue

Service Nurse
Rank Nursing sister, Canadian Army Medical Corps
Regiment:Canadian Nursing Service
Date of Birth: 23/07/1878
Born Keewatin, Canada
Date of Death: 27/06/1918
Memorial: Not Listed Memorial Inscription

Service History

From De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour 1914- 1924

FORTESCUE, MARGARET JANE, Nursing Sister, Canadian Army Medical Corps,

Youngest daughter of the late Joseph Fortescue, Chief Factor, Hudsons Bay Company, by his wife, Sarah Jane, daughter of the late Rev. Mason, D.D., of Northumberland; and granddaughter of the late Matthew Fortescue, County Court Judge, of Totnes, Devon;

b. Hudson’s Bay, Canada, 1879; educ. Dawlish, co. Devon; was trained as a Nurse at Montreal General Hospital; volunteered for foreign service, and joined the Canadian Red Cross In 1915; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 18 May, 1915, being posted to various hospitals and casualty clearing stations there; Was posted to H.M. Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle 5 June, 1918, and was lost when that ship was torpedoed and sunk in the Irish Sea on the 27th of the same month.

The Director of Medical Service, London, wrote: “. . . Sister Fortescue was untiring in her efforts to do everything humanly possible for the sick and wounded under her care,” and a former patient, a private in the Canadian Army; “Little Mother" (the name bestowed upon her by the patients whom she nursed) earned the V.C. as much as any man in the Army. …….. .. Four years’ untiring labour and fearless devotion, often caring for the wounded and dying in sound of guns and while bombs crashed through the hospital roof; through cold and heat, by days and dreary nights of ceaseless care, Nursing Sister Fortescue was ever brave and unafraid, knowing nothing else save the doing of her duty, no matter what the cost. We who received her tender ministrations have the proud and reverent memory of a good woman.” She was mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette, 28 May, 1918) for gallant and distinguished services, and devotion to duty, at No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station; unmarried

Association with Dawlish

Her grandfather, Matthew Fortescue moved to Berry Pomeroy, Devon before the 1861 census and by 1878 he was living at "Oak Park House", East Cliff, Dawlish, and his occupation is shown as J.P. and County Court Judge.

Her father, Joseph FORTESCUE was the eldest son of Matthew and Margaret Fortescue, and was born in Greenwich, Kent on 16 October 1833. He was christened on 2 December 1833.

Joseph is shown on the 1851 census as living with his parents in the home of Mary Fortescue, a widow aged 83, at 28 Regent Square, Grays Inn Lane.

Joseph then moved to Canada and married Sarah Jane Mason, eldest daughter of William and Sarah Mason. They were married at York Factory, Northwest Territories, Canada on 14 September, 1864

Their children were:

Matthew (1866- ) married Pendentia Angela Butler of Ireland in 1890;
Annie Maud Marie (1867- ) married Angus McKay of Prince Albert, Sask in 1889

Caroline Elizabeth (1869-1871;

Hugh ( 1870-1870) (infant death);

Frances Eleanor (1871- 1928 )

Gertrude Edith May (1873- )
Charles Le Geyt (1878- 1936)

Margaret Jane (1878-1918 )

John Percival (1879 - )
twins George Godfrey (1886- 1916)

and Joseph Edward Barrington (1886-1898)

Margaret Jane Fortescue followed her elder sister Frances Eleanor and was sent home to Dawlish for her education, and was the ward of her aunts while here. She then returned to Canada where she was trained as a nurse.

Devon Roll of Honour
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Sarah Jane Fortescue, mother.
Last Known Address: Miss Susan Parrott's Ladies' School, 8 Westcliff, (Dawlish 1891 census) Edgehill, Kingston, Ontario, Canada (her father's last home before his death in 1899)

Margaret Jane Fortescue

Canadian Casualty Clearing Station

A poster to raise money using the impact of the sinking of Llandovery Castle

Memorial tablet placed on her grandfather's grave in St Gregory's churchyard, Dawlish for census, BMD and Probate records

Various Directories for Dawlish (Public Library, Local History)

Dawlish St Gregory's Churchyard