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Nona Molson fonds (P723)

1915-1922. - 1 textual record (scrapbook).

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

Nona Molson was the great-granddaughter of John Molson. She was born in Lennoxville in 1874 and died on June 4, 1933. She was a younger sister of John Dinham Molson, who himself was the grandfather of Mrs. Martha McKenna, the donor of this scrapbook.

Miss Nona (Alice Carlyle) Molson qualified and enrolled as a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.), British Red Cross, 198th Paddington (London) Division, on March 17,1915, with the rank of Quartermaster. After training at St. Mary's Hospital Paddington and the Officers' Hospital, Weymouth, she went to France in August 1915 as a Nursing V.A.D. to l'Hôpital Bénévole in Céret, in the Pyrenees, where she remained until February 1917. From April 1917 until May 1919, she served in Salonika (now Thessaloníki) in Greece, where she worked at the British Red Cross Sisters' Convalescent Home. She was there for a devastating fire in the city in August 1917. The war with Bulgaria came to an end on September 29, 1918.She was mentioned in dispatches and received the decoration of the Royal Red Cross, second class. She subsequently became assistant superintendent, superintendent and commandant of the British Red Cross Sisters' Convalescent Home for Sisters (B.R.C.S.).

After five years of service overseas, she left Salonika and returned to the U.K. via Marseille. On July 6, 1919, she was back in London for a Peace Thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral, and later in July she was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. On December 18, 1919, after receiving a decoration from the British Red Cross at Buckingham Palace, she was invited to Marlborough House to meet Her Majesty Queen Alexandra.

Scope and Content:

This fonds pertains to Nona Molson's activities as an auxiliary nurse during World War I in Europe. It consists of a scrapbook of her wartime experiences, starting off with her qualifying certificates to become a V.A.D. for the British Red Cross. The Hôpital Bénévole at Céret, in southern France, had 40 beds for French soldiers who were not seriously wounded.

The scrapbook includes photographs of nurses, soldiers and monarchs of the period, letters, postcards and cards from French soldiers expressing their gratitude, identity cards, various certificates (mostly from the Red Cross), programs, mementos and maps. It also contains documents from her stay in Salonika, clippings from the Balkan News, and cards and letters from soldiers.