HANNA, Bessie Maud
Next of Kin: Mrs. Mary L. Hanna, Wingham, Ontario
Personal Details: 148 lbs., Presbyterian
Bessie “Maud” Hanna was the fourth of five children born to John and Mary Hanna of Wingham, Ontario. An Irish immigrant, her father had moved the family to the town in 1880 where he opened a general store, and later served as Mayor of Wingham in 1894. In the fall of 1908, Maud’s father and eldest brother George, merchant owner of Hanna & Co., died within weeks of each other. Her younger brother, John W, and her mother Mary continued to run the store while Maud attended the Victoria Hospital School of Nursing in London, Ontario.
Maud enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on January 31, 1916, and left Canada on April 2, 1916. She was attached to the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington, Kent, England upon her arrival overseas, and on March 3, 1917 she was transferred to Shorncliffe Military Hospital. She was granted a fourteen day leave on April 16, 1917, and shortly thereafter, returned to her former hospital at Orpington. Maud’s work ethic was noticed and she was transferred overseas to No. 2 Canadian General Hospital at Le Treport, France on May 28, 1917.
In late February 1918 Maud was granted another fourteen day leave. Shortly after her return she was transferred to No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital, which was operating out of an old citadel near Doullens, France. About a month later, Maud was admitted to No. 2 Stationary Hospital at Abbeville, initially diagnosed with tonsillitis, later determined to be diphtheria. She was quickly moved to No. 47 General Hospital at Le Treport, then on to No. 16 General Hospital, where she was reported seriously ill on May 6, 1918. Her condition improved, and on May 18th she was removed from the seriously ill list. On May 30th she was moved to a convalescent ward for non-infectious diphtheria cases, and was returned to England on June 7, 1918.
Maud was treated in a series of hospitals, including the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital in London, Kitchener Military Hospital, Brighton, and the Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital at Buxton. She was invalided back to Canada on the S.S. Tunisian, arriving October 6, 1918. Upon her return she was sent to Toronto where a medical review was conducted on December 9th revealing a serious heart condition. This disability was deemed to be permanent and the treatment was rest. Maud was discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force on January 15, 1919.
In the two years that followed, Maud spent most of her time in Toronto or with her family in Wingham. According to her obituary, she also nursed at the Guelph Military Hospital for a time. On September 5, 1921, Bessie Maud Hanna died of vascular disease of the heart at Christie Street Hospital, Toronto, Ontario. She was survived by two sisters and one brother, and was buried at Wingham Cemetery.