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Ethel Ridley fonds
This fonds consists of photocopies of records that document her military career, and photographs pertaining to the life, education and military career of Ethel Blanche Ridley.
Ethel Blanche Ridley was born in 1872 in Belleville, Ontario. She entered St. Hilda’s College, University of Trinity College, Toronto, in 1891 and graduated with a B.A. in 1895. She enrolled as a nurse-in-training in New York. By 1897 she was a registered nurse and in 1898 and 1899 she served as a nurse with the US Army in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. In 1900 she joined the staff of the “Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled” (later New York Orthopaedic Hospital) and served until the outbreak of the First World War. Ridley returned to Canada in August 1914 and was appointed nursing sister in the Canadian Army Medical Corps (C.A.M.C.). She was stationed at Valcartier, Quebec, for basic training and was promoted to Matron. On 22 September 1914 she sailed on the “Franconia” to England. From 1914 to 1919 she served at a number of military hospitals. Ridley was made Matron, Principal Matron, and Matron-in-Chief of the Canadian military nursing staff and received several decorations, including the Star (1914), the Royal Red Cross (1916). She was mentioned in dispatches and appointed Commander, Order of the British Empire in 1918, receiving the C.B.E. in 1919 at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace. She retired from military service later that year. In 1920, Ridley returned to New York City and rejoined the New York Orthopaedic Hospital, serving as Directress of Nurses from 1924-1942. In 1944 Ridley returned to Canada and settled in Gananoque, Ontario, where she died in 1949.