Staff Nurse Edith Mary Cammack, Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS), died at the 4th Southern General Hospital in Plymouth on 1st March 1918 as a result of dysentry and malaria contracted whilst on duty in Salonika with 30 Stationary Hospital.
Staff Nurse Edith Mary Cammack © IWM (WWC H19-7-1)
Edith Mary Cammack was born in Spalding, Lincolnshire on 18th August 1875 and was baptised at St Nicholas’ Church on 22nd September 1875. Her parents, Edmund (a solicitor) and Mary Ann (née Prosser) had married at St Mary’s Church, Acton, London in 1872 and Edith was the second of the couple’s five children (two boys, three girls). It seems that the youngest brother, Edmund Ernest Cammack (1881-1958) emigrated to the United States in 1910.
The eldest of the siblings, Alfred Henry Cammack (born 1873) became a naturalised US citizen in 1935. Edith’s sister, Helen Maud (1877-1915) married Reginald Guy Earle Freeman at Knowle parish church in 1905.
By 1911, Edith (aged 35) was a Temporary Assistant Nurse at Wallingford Union Workhouse, Berkshire. She joined the Territorial Force Nursing Service in 1914 and embarked from Southampton to Salonika aboard the Carisbrook Castle in July 1916.
In 1915, the Matron’s annual report on Staff Nurse Miss Cammack said: “She is a clever woman with original ideas, self-reliant and reliable with a good influence on those around her. She has never held a higher rank but is fitted for promotion.”
After bouts of enteritis and dysentery from October 1916, Edith was invalided home with malaria in November 1917. She recovered and spent her sick leave at her sister’s home in Knowle. A medical board declared her fit for home service, reporting that “she feels quite well and is anxious to return to duty.” She was ordered to report for duty at the 4th Southern General Hospital, Plymouth in January 1918.
However, after a sudden relapse, she died on 1st March 1918. As her brother, Ernest Edmund Cammack, lived in the USA, her body was released to her brother-in-law, Reginald Freeman of the Clough, Knowle. She is buried in Knowle churchyard and is the only female listed on Knowle’s war memorial. The Matron at the 4th Southern General Hospital described Staff Nurse Miss Cammack as “a woman with a charming personality and will be much missed by us all”.
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