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Nursing Training

Heroes Remember

When war broke out, I was absolutely determined to serve my country. That sounds old fashioned, old hat and a needless thing to say, but it, I well it was the way that I was brought up. See, Dad was, you know, in police gear all the time and it was sort of my dream to do something like this and I just loved the army. Fabulous. But I went in training at Toronto General Hospital, September 22nd just that same month and I graduated three years later from Convocation Hall, big night, oh gosh. Then when my time was up in November and the superintendent pinned my pin on, she said, "Now, we have something for you Miss Rideout. We want you to go to the John Hopkins Hospital and take a course in operating room technique and come back and run all these hospitals for us. You know, there were 16 of them. I don't know how many they have now because they built and expanded and everything else. That's a 100 years ago nearly, but I said, "Mrs. MacFarlane, I am sorry. There's only one thing I want to do and it's to serve my country." Boy, anybody to turn a thing down. Look, they were going to pay for the whole thing. Interviewer: And that would have launched you quite a career at that time as well. Absolutely. Yes, yes it would have. But I wouldn't have missed the army for anything else that I've done in life. I just, to be with those boys and some of them were just boys. You know, kids and I was a kid myself because when I went in to see, oh yes so after that night at the Convocation Hall, the graduation and everything, I left the next day on the train from Moncton and got on the Saint John train and had an appointment with Major MacDonald. And, so I waltzed in and he said, "Now Miss Rideout, I have to know two things about you." I said, "What are they?" He said, "One is your age." I said, "What's the other one?" He said, "Your experience." I said, he said, "You have to be 25." I said, "I'm only 23." "Well," he said "What experience have you had?" I said, "None, I graduated yesterday." And it almost struck him funny. He thought she had her nerve so I left, shook his hand. I didn't salute. I'm not in the army then, but I just got back to Toronto I was going to take a job at the hospital, you see, and wait for my call. My gosh, it was there when I got back. Interviewer: So you weren't disappointed then when you left him after that interview, did you... I was flattened, but if you're going to fight a war you come right back and get at it again. Would the Jane Wyman story of the Black Nightgown mean a darn thing to you. Interviewer: No, so will you tell it? Well, Jane Wyman was a movie star of the time and she had been at Kreig and Japan and you know, places in America in films and stuff. But the fact was that before they left, that before she left in this movie to go over overseas, her patients gave her a black lace nightgown and the patients I had, as a final gong, I was just about to walk out the door and I was saying goodbye and one guy an up patient came over and he said, "Sister Rideout, we have a little present for you." And I undid this thing and it's a black lace nightgown and I still have it. So I, I am not a drinker of great dimensions even yet, but at that time I had never had a drink in my life. I'm not too bright, but I thought if ever I am going to stay with work and do my duty overseas, I do not want to even have one glass of beer and I never did. I always knew what I was doing. So anyway, this gang came down to the room. They knew I had the black nightie. I'd been talking about it. "Oh Georgie, put your black nightie on." And, "Come on with us and then you can put your great coat on and we want you to dance on a table in the bar." Dance on a table in the bar! My gosh, that was the furthest thing from my mind. Well, guess what? Oh it was such fun. And first of all, I threw off the great coat you know and then well, here we are, you know, it's a black night gown. You can't see through the thing so it was perfectly alright. Oh I flung a shoe or two.

Ms. Seeley recalls her nursing training and her deep desire to serve her country during the Second World War.

Georgina Seeley

Georgina Seeley was born in Moncton, New Brunswick on July 11, 1919. She was the youngest of six children and was part of the first class to graduate from the new Moncton High School in 1936. Her father served as Chief of Police for the cities of Moncton and Fredericton. Prior to enlisting in the Canadian Army in 1942 and serving as a Nursing Sister for the remainder of the Second World War, she spent three years at Toronto General Hospital completing her nursing training.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Georgina Seeley
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Nursing Sister

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