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Agnes Climie

Feature Stories Ident Agnus Climie

Their names will be remembered for evermore

During the war 2,280 nurses served overseas, tending the wounded in military hospitals. Of that number, 150 died, 40 of them Scottish. One of these was Agnes Climie, a young nurse who was posted to France. During a night air raid on 30 September, 1917, she was singing to a nervous patient when bombs hit the ward.

Agnes was one of six children living in Cathcart. Their father, John, worked as a cashier with a timber importer, and his promotion to secretary meant the family became wealthy. Agnes would probably not have had to work, but found a vocation in nursing, training at the Royal Infirmary. In 1914, just after war broke out, she joined the Territorial Force Nursing Service, and was on the staff of the 4th (Scottish) General Hospital at Stobhill. She had been promoted to staff nurse two years earlier, and in May 1917 was sent to The 58th (Scottish) General Hospital at St Omer in France.

Night Air Raid

The field hospital was made up of marquees. On the night of 30 September an air raid began, lasting several hours. The event was described by the Matron in Chief, British Expeditionary Force, who visited the hospital: "The whole unit seemed shocked and dazed. Everyone spoke of the wonderful courage of the women." She described the contrast of the damage, where some marquees were "blown to atoms" and others - some nurses' quarters - were "simply perforated with shrapnel".

Agnes was not on duty during the raid, but had gone to her ward to calm her patients. She was singing to one of them when she was killed. Three other nurses died in the attacks, Elizabeth Thompson, Daisy Coles and Mabel Milne. Many others were killed or injured, including officers and patients.

Agnes, who was 32, was mentioned in dispatches by Field Marshal Haig. She was buried at Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery alongside the other nurses who died that night.

View original referenced text here: pdf icon Agnes Climie [127kb]

  • Portrait of Staff Nurse Climie, which accompanied her obituary in the British Journal of Nursing, published on 10 November 1917. Credit: 'Permissions to use reproductions of material from the Royal College of Nursing.'
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