This article is the ninth in a series of biographies about members of the 32nd Station Hospital (and the second of four about the unit’s nurses).
This list of nurses does not include anyone who was assigned just on temporary duty. Nurses who transferred into the unit at the very end of the war (from March 1945 onward, when many longstanding members of the unit were rotated home and replaced with new personnel in anticipation of a transfer to the Pacific Theatre) are also omitted.
Phyllis Anna Hansen, N-723001 (Phyllis Powers) (February 21, 1919 – February 1, 2000)
Hansen was born in Illinois. Her obituary in the Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York) states she graduated from Syracuse Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. She appeared in a 1941 Oswego, New York directory as nurse, and in the 1943 and 1945 Oswego directories as a U.S. Army nurse. 2nd Lieutenant Hansen appeared on the December 31, 1943 roster with assignment of Night Duty, Surgical Ward. She apparently transferred out of the unit prior to the next roster on May 1, 1944.
Hansen left the army as a 1st lieutenant. She married Gordon K. Powers in Oswego on March 16, 1946. She and her husband raised three sons and a daughter. One of her sons recalled that one of his mother’s units was the 16th Evacuation Hospital.
Catherine H. Houlihan, N-721905 (October 29, 1907 – September 7, 2003)
Catherine Houlihan was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the third of five children born to Irish immigrants, Patrick and Ellen “Nellie” Houlihan. She graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1925, followed by the Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1929. She apparently worked at Memorial Hospital for her entire career, interrupted only by her service in World War II. In 1930, she completed a six-month long course at Memorial Hospital to become an x-ray technician. As of January 1946, she was described as being 5 feet, 7 inches (170 cm) tall and weighing 133 lbs. (60 kg) with brown hair and eyes.
According to her Army of the United States Separation Qualification Record, Houlihan went on active duty on November 2, 1942. 2nd Lieutenant Houlihan was one of 25 nurses reassigned from Lovell General Hospital at Fort Devens, Massachusetts to the 32nd Station Hospital in a November 23, 1942 document, joining the unit about a month later. Dwight McNelly recalls working with her on the opening night at the 32nd Station Hospital in Tlemcen, Algeria and described her as “one of the nicest 32nd nurses” on the back of one of his photos. On the back of another photo, McNelly wrote: “On nites with me at our first set-up. She was so homesick even then.”
Houlihan was promoted to 1st lieutenant on October 22, 1943 (along with three other nurses, according to Principal Chief Nurse Brammer’s 1943 nursing report). On the December 31, 1943 roster she was listed with the title of Night Supervisor. On the May 1, 1944 roster, her assignment was listed as Assistant Chief Nurse; the December 31, 1944 roster listed her as Assistant to Chief Nurse. Her Separation Qualification Record elaborated on her wartime service:
NURSE ADMINISTRATIVE: Supervisor of surgical section (240 beds) for 8 months in 32d Station Hospital in North Africa and Italy. Served as assistant chief nurse in same hospital handling administrative details in chief nurse’s office and assisting with professional supervision of nursing care on wards.
Her Military Occupational Specialties were listed as Nurse, General Duty (3449) and Nurse, Administrative (3430).
1st Lieutenant Houlihan was maid of honor at the wedding of 2nd Lieutenant Velma Drolet to Clancy Byrne on September 6, 1944. 1st Lieutenant Houlihan left the 32nd Station Hospital in March 1945 for rotation back to the United States. According to her Military Record and Report of Separation Certificate of Service document, she arrived back in the United States on April 10, 1945 and left the military effective January 10, 1946.
After the war, Houlihan returned to work at Memorial Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. In a letter to me, her nephew, Stephen F. Walsh, wrote: “Whenever one her nephews or nieces drifted in with a sprained ankle or broken arm, Caddy was there to greet us with a loving embrace and an ice cream float from the cafeteria.”
According to her obituary in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Houlihan was “head of the X-Ray Department at Memorial Hospital for many years.” Her obituary also mentioned that she treated patients from the devastating tornado that struck Worcester in 1953, killing at least 90 people and injuring over a thousand. She retired in 1973. Houlihan died in Worcester, aged 95.
Marion V. Huckins, N-721912 (September 24, 1900 – October 30, 1979)
2nd Lieutenant Huckins was one of 25 nurses working at Lovell General Hospital, Fort Devens, Massachusetts who was reassigned to the 32nd Station Hospital in November 1942 and joined the unit the following month. On the December 31, 1943 roster, she was listed as assigned to Night Duty, N.P. Section On the May 1, 1944 roster, she was listed as Nurse, general duty. She was left the unit to be transferred back to the United States in September 1944. Her name (with matching service number) was on a list of passengers on an Air Transport Command document indicating she flew from Casablanca on October 4, 1944, arriving in New York City on October 5, 1944. The document listed her age as 44, which fits with the date of birth listed above.
Alice Griffin‘s September 27, 1943 letter home mentioned Huckins (who was in enclosed pictures now lost to history):
Huckie in the pictures is Marion Huckins. She’s worked around Boston but her family (sister) is from Greenfield. She’s the one that was in the Army a month & was sent overseas. She’s 43 and had a very bad pneumonia last winter or rather spring. She’s wonderful now and is tickled with foreign service.
The most likely match is Marion Valentine Huckins, who was born in Strafford, New Hampshire to Frank Wolcott Huckins (a police officer) and Marietta L. Valentine (Huckins). At a reunion of 32nd Station Hospital nurses, Huckins listed her address as being in Greenfield, Massachusetts, where city directories list her as a nurse at least 1951–1963. She died in Greenfield, aged 79.
Ella Evlyn James, N-721670 (July 29, 1904 – October 1, 1971)
Ella Evelyn James was born in Lanark Township, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Alfred and Janet James. She declared her intention to became naturalized U.S. citizen on August 1, 1934 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The document described her as being 5 feet, 5 inches (165 cm) tall and weighing 138 lbs. (62.6 kg), with dark brown hair and brown eyes. The document stated that she moved from Almonte, Ontario to the United States, arriving in St. Albans, Vermont on August 18, 1925.
According to a March 12, 1943 article in the Stamford Advocate (“Army Nurse in Africa”), James graduated from nursing school at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. The article also stated that she joined the U.S. Army in August 1942. The article said James told her sister “that she wouldn’t have missed the adventure ‘for the world.'”
2nd Lieutenant James was one of 25 nurses working at Lovell General Hospital at Fort Devens, Massachusetts who was assigned to the 32nd Station Hospital in November 1942. She appeared on the unit’s December 31, 1943 roster with assignment of Night Duty, Surgical Section. She was still with the unit December 31, 1944 when she was listed as a general duty nurse.
James was particularly good friends with a group of seven other nurses who all served at Fort Devens, Massachusetts and then joined the 32nd Station Hospital together. Alice Griffin’s 1943 letters home frequently refer to James as “Jimmie.” She may have also been known as Jamsie based on a caption in Ruby Milligan’s album.
A May 10, 1943 letter from Alice Griffin to her family mentioned her equestrian skills:
Jimmie had a wonderful time riding. She rode bareback & saddle too – you see she was brought up on a farm in Canada so she can ride–I’m just a city gal.
James was on a list of returning nurses in 1945 with an address that’s mangled, possibly New Canaan, Connecticut, where her sister lived. James was on a list compiled for the unit’s 1982 reunion (oddly enough, listed with the middle name of May) who had lost touch with the rest of the unit, with a last known address at the 832nd Tactical Hospital, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. Her nephew confirmed that at some point James transferred from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Air Force; although oddly enough, her tombstone describes her as a major in the Army Nurse Corps. Her photo was printed in the Clovis News-Journal (Clovis, New Mexico) on August 11, 1964 with the following caption:
Maj. Ella E. James is presented with the U.S. Air Force Commendation Medal by Lt. Col. John C. Meyers, base director of medical services, on her last day of active duty in the U.S. Air Force. While at Cannon, Major James was the nurse supervisor of the obstetrics-gynecology clinic, at the 832nd Tactical Hospital.
Veronica Josephine Janus (Vernoica Freund), N-731430 (January 10, 1916 – April 5, 1982)
2nd Lieutenant Janus joined the hospital on June 11, 1944. She was listed as a general duty nurse on the December 31, 1944 roster. She was promoted to 1st lieutenant as of March 27, 1945.
The original version of this article described the following biography as likely a match; a 1981 document from the collection of Dr. William A. Carey, Jr. and Ina Carey that their daughter found about plans for a reunion confirmed it is correct.
Veronica Josephine Janus was born in Melville, Saskatchawan to Polish immigrants and emigrated to the United States on July 29, 1920. Apparently, the original family name was Janusz, later changed to Janus. She graduated from Layola University, followed by St. Mary of Nazarath School of Nursing, both in Chicago. She was naturalized on October 29, 1942 (apparently at Fort Sheridan, Illinois). A March 19, 1943 article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, Wisconsin) entitled “Nurse Aids Wounded” mentioned that a Lt. Veronica Janus had spent two months serving stateside on a hospital train before beginning a new assignment at Camp Patrick Henry in Virginia. The article also stated that “Lt. Janus wants foreign service” (which apparently, she got). An April 15, 1960 article in The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) “Junior Auxiliary Program to Feature Veronica Janus and Tommy Sheridan” describes her as “newly-appointed executive director of the Central Agency for the Chronically Ill” (and which she had been assistant director of since 1955).
Janus married Raymond J. Freund (1915–1996) on October 6, 1962. Her obituary in the Green Bay Press-Gazette described “Mrs. Raymond (Veronica) Freund” as having served in World War II and left the military with the rank of major. No children were listed. The Department of Veterans Affairs record under her married name lists her as entering active duty with the U.S. Army on October 15, 1942 and being released from active duty March 4, 1946, though it appears she remained in the reserves.
Julia M. Jurgel (Julia M. Desmond), N-721914 (October 30 or 31, 1910 – February 16, 1950)
Julia Jurgel was born in in Massachusetts to John and Rose Jurgel, who had immigrated from Lithuania. She was listed on the 1930 census as a student nurse at Hale Hospital in Haverhill, Massachusetts. She was listed as a private practice nurse living with her parents in Groveland, Massachusetts as of the 1940 census.
2nd Lieutenant Jurgel was one of 25 nurses from Lovell General Hospital at Fort Devens who was assigned to the 32nd Station Hospital in November. Presumably she joined the unit the following month, but if she did, she must have transferred out prior to the December 31, 1943 roster. The Application for Headstone or Marker form submitted by her husband lists her as being commissioned on October 27, 1942, entering active duty on November 2, 1942, and being discharged on December 25, 1945 with a rank of 2nd lieutenant. In terms of her unit, the document only mentions Lovell General Hospital and Fort Devens (1127 Service Command Unit). Several other individuals known to have served with the unit only had a single, different unit listed in their obituary or death record.
Jurgel’s name appeared on a list of 32nd Station Hospital members compiled for the 1982 reunion, so she presumably served with the hospital in North Africa. (Although she was on a list of members who could not be contacted due to out of date addresses, she had in fact been dead for over three decades by that point.)
Jurgel married Frederick T. Desmond (1925–1957), probably in 1949. She died in Boston. Her obituary, printed in the Boston Traveler on February 17, 1950, stated:
Mrs. Desmond was a nurse in the U.S. Army and served in the North African and Italian invasions during World War II. She died after childbirth and her daughter will be buried with her.
Goldie Kauffman (Goldie Abramson), N-721936 (July 11 or 13, 1915 – ?)
Goldie Kauffman was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts to Nathan (a carpenter and later factory owner) and Annie Kauffman, immigrants from Russia. The family later moved to Maine and she graduated from Portland High School. 2nd Lieutenant Kauffman was one of 25 nurses assigned to Lovell General Hospital at Fort Devens, Massachusetts who was assigned to the 32nd Station Hospital in November 1942 and joined the unit the following month. On the December 31, 1943 roster she was listed as Ward Nurse, Surgical Ward. She was listed as a general duty nurse on the May 1, 1944 roster. On the December 31, 1944 roster her assignment was listed as Nurse, Communicable Diseases. She was promoted to 1st lieutenant as of March 7, 1945.
Kauffman married Abraham A. Abramson (probably 1914–1995) in Portland, Maine on December 1945 according to an Ancestry.com family tree. The couple subsequently moved to California. Her name appears in a University of California Los Angleles Medical Department document from March 1952 as graduating June 14, 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She graduated with highest honors.
I spoke with Kauffman’s niece, who provided a great deal of information, but was uncertain of some details. She said she believed Kauffman may have attended Maine General Hospital School of Nursing in Portland and believed she met her future husband before the war at a hospital in Portland. She said they met each other again during the war at her hospital. She recalled him as being an ambulance driver during the war, and said he found Kauffman after the war. She said the couple lived in Venice and Santa Monica, California after their marriage, and recalled Goldie as becoming the head of the Los Angeles Department of Health. The couple did not have children. I was unable to find a record of death for her, but Kauffman’s niece stated she had been dead for at least five years at the time of our conversation in January 2019.
Claire M. LaBonne (Claire L. Byrnes), N-721658 (December 22, 1907 – January 23, 1994)
LaBonne was listed on the 1930 and 1940 censuses as a nurse living in Waterbury, Connecticut.
An article printed in The Boston Herald on August 28, 1942 (“25 N.E. Nurses Get Army Call”) reported that “Maj.-Gen. Sherman Miles, commanding general of the First Service Command, has ordered 25 New England reserve nurses to active duty.” LaBonne, Virginia J. Donehue, and Dorothy E. Racicot were among those nurses assigned to Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Later, 25 nurses including 2nd Lieutenant LaBonne were reassigned from Lovell General Hospital at Fort Devens, Massachusetts to the 32nd Station Hospital in November 1942. They reported to the unit the following month.
LaBonne was good friends with a group of nurses including Alice Griffin, who mentioned her frequently in her letters home. Based on a March 25, 1943 letter, LaBonne may have been fluent in French, or at least a quick learner. Griffin wrote: “I can hear Claire jabbering away to someone in French – she is a riot – uses her hands & all just like a Frenchie.”
Her assignment was Head Nurse, Medical Ward as of December 31, 1943. She is listed as a general duty nurse on the May 1 and December 31, 1944 rosters. She was promoted to 1st lieutenant, effective March 17, 1945. She was one of several nurses from the 32nd Station Hospital who arrived back in New York on the Vulcania on October 4, 1945 with an eventual destination of Fort Dix, New Jersey, where she was presumably released from service.
LaBonne married Edmund Byrnes in Watertown, Connecticut on January 15, 1946 (see further discussion of Byrnes below). Her Find a Grave entry includes text indicating it is a copy of her obituary in the Town Times on January 27, 1994. It also mentioned that her husband Edmund L. Byrnes died in 1970. Her obituary states:
She lived in Watertown since 1946, was a graduate of St. Mary’s School of Nursing, and worked at St. Mary’s and Waterbury hospitals for many years before serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurses Corps. She served in Africa and Italy during World War II. She was a charter member of the Watertown Art League and was well known for her paintings.
She died in Waterbury, aged 86. Her obituary does not list any children.
Note about Edmund L. Byrnes: I did find a text-only copy on Ancestry.com of a death record for an Edmun L. Byrnes [sic] who died in Waterbury, Connecticut on November 5, 1974, aged 70. His spouse is listed as Clai. These discrepancies probably occurred when the document was digitized, but it’s close enough to the obituary date of death that ordinarily, it would be the end of the story.
Oddly enough, a 1994 list of 32nd Station Hospital survivors compiled by Willard Havemeier listed an Edmund L. Byrnes living at 225 Middlebury Road in Waterbury, Connecticut. The list of survivors does have a number of typos. If the obituary is accurate, then perhaps the list was supposed to list Mrs. Edmund L. Byrnes. However, a record on Ancestry.com lists an Edmund L. Byrnes as living at that same address as of 1993. It seems like too much of a coincidence for there to be another Edmund L. Byrnes (who just happened to be a 32nd Station Hospital survivor) living in the same town as another Edmund L. Byrnes who married a 32nd Station Hospital nurse. At this time, I am unable to explain the discrepancy.
Sophie Josephine Lange (Sophie Blick), service number unknown (November 16, 1917 – July 15, 1985)
Sophie Lange was born in Buffalo, New York to Polish immigrants, Stanley and Josephine Lange. According to Lange’s daughter, when Sophie was about five years old, Josephine died and Stanley placed Sophie in an orphanage. By 1925, at age 7, she was living in Immaculate Heart of Mary Orphan Asylum in Cheektowaga, New York. With the support of her aunt, however, she graduated from nursing school at Buffalo General Hospital in 1936. By the time of the 1940 census she was working as a surgical nurse there. Her daughter recalls that Lange also worked as a private duty nurse.
Although her name doesn’t appear on any extant unit roster, Sophie J. Lange of Buffalo, New York is mentioned in a January 30, 1943 Associated Press article, “Cambridge Girl Busy on Trip to Africa With Seasick WAACS” as one of several nurses “stationed at a hospital 200 miles behind the front lines” in North Africa. The unit is not mentioned, a standard security precaution of the era. However, the other four nurses in the article are all known members of the 32nd Station Hospital: Dorothea LeCain, Kathryn Judith McCann, Margaret McCormick, and Ruth Donovan.
She must have transferred out prior to the first extant roster on December 31, 1943. That’s consistent with her Department of Veterans Affairs record, which indicates she joined the U.S. Army on August 12, 1941 and was released from service on August 26, 1943. Her name appeared on a list of 32nd Station Hospital members (compiled for the 1982 reunion) who had lost contact with the rest of the unit years before.
Dorothea LeCain (Dorthea LeCain Foster), N-721689 (January 10, 1920 – March 7, 1991)
Dorothea LeCain was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She completed her nurse’s training at Cambridge City Hospital Nursing School in April 1942 and worked at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis in the summer of 1942. 2nd Lieutenant LeCain was one of 25 nurses reassigned from Lovell General Hospital at Fort Devens, Massachusetts to the 32nd Station Hospital in November 1942.
A January 30, 1943 story by Associated Press war correspondent Ruth Cowan (1901–1993) story mentioned LeCain and several other 32nd Station Hospital nurses. There were some variations in the article in different papers; it was published in The Boston Evening Globe as “Cambridge Girl Busy on Trip to Africa With Seasick WAACS” and in The Evening Star (Washington D.C.) as “Army Nurses Crossing to Africa Spend Time Caring for Seasick”. Both versions of the story mentioned that LeCain was on the same transport with nurses Kathryn Judith McCann of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Margaret McCormick of Rutledge, Vermont (presumably Margaret M. McCormick), and Sophie J. Lange of Buffalo, New York. The Boston version of the article also mentioned that she was friends with Ruth Donovan (who the article stated was “aboard another ship in the convoy bound for North Africa”). The Boston version also stated that LeCain, “a tall, slim brunette, was known to the ship’s company as ‘the glamour girl’ of the nursing group.” The Boston version described the nurses as “more than a little chagrined” that their first patients included not only soldiers but members of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, all of whom were seasick. The Washington version of the story stated:
“We came to work, all right,” said pretty blue-eyed nurse Dorthea Lecain, 25, of Cambridge, Mass., as she recalled the voyage with a rueful grin, “but I must say we didn’t expect to be nursing women.”
LeCain was good friends with a group of seven other 32nd Station Hospital nurses, one of whom recorded LeCain’s feelings about the incident. In a March 19, 1943 letter home to her family, Alice Griffin specifically mentioned the article:
We are not 200 miles behind the lines as the paper said – that article was crazy and an insult. Le Cain and the others were tearing because the Waacs were darn sick and they were glad to take care of them. — these newspapers.
(In addition, LeCain’s daughter told me the article got her mother’s eye color wrong too; she had brown eyes.)
2nd Lieutenant LeCain’s assignment was listed as Ward Nurse, Medical Ward as of December 31, 1943. She was listed as a general duty nurse on the May 1, 1944 roster. 2nd Lieutenant LeCain “was transferred to the detachment of Patients 23rd General Hospital, 24 July 1944.”
Her obituary in the Albuquerque Journal on March 9, 1991 states she and her husband Lieutenant Colonel Robert Turnbull Foster (1914–1999) raised two daughters and two sons. She died in New Mexico in 1991. She is buried in Santa Fe National Cemetery in New Mexico.
Helen Frances Mahoney (Helen Ganley), N-721933 (November 9, 1917 – March 14, 2010)
2nd Lieutenant Mahoney was one of 25 nurses working at Lovell General Hospital at Fort Devens, Massachusetts who was assigned to the 32nd Station Hospital in November 1942. She was listed as an operating room nurse on all three extant unit rosters (December 31, 1943, May 1, 1944, and December 31, 1944). She was promoted to 1st lieutenant on August 7, 1944.
Although most U.S. Army documents provide only the middle initial, Special Orders No. 323 does list her full name: Helen Frances Mahoney. When first published, this article noted that unfortunately, even this is a fairly common name and I was not able to find any other confirmed information for this nurse. Subsequently, I received a document dated May 9, 1981 from the collection of Dr. William A. Carey and Ina Carey about an upcoming reunion. The document listed her married name as Ganley and her town as Methuen, Massachusetts.
Working with that, I found quite a lot of information about Mahoney. She was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts to William and Ellen Mahoney. According to her obituary, she graduated from “Lawrence General Hospital School of Nursing, Class of 1939 and did her post graduate work in New York at the New York Hospital.” Mahoney was listed on the 1940 census as working as a trained nurse and living in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She and her husband Edward Ganley raised a daughter and two sons. She died in Haverhill, Massachusetts, aged 92.
Virginia H. Marlow, N-789288 (dates of birth and death unknown)
2nd Lieutenant Marlow was transferred from the 24th General Hospital to the 32nd Station Hospital in October 1944. She was transferred to the Detachment of Patients, 300th General Hospital in December 1944. I have been unable to learn anything else about this nurse.
Kathryn Judith McCann (Kathryn Judith Brown), N-723269 (November 20, 1917 – July 21, 1996)
McCann was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania to James and Mary McCann. Her Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Application for World War II Compensation is extremely useful. It lists her as being at St. Peter’s Hospital in Brooklyn when she entered the U.S. Army on May 20, 1942. It also lists her as going overseas on January 14, 1943, which suggests she was already with the 32nd Station Hospital (which shipped out for Algeria on the same day). Indeed, a January 30, 1943 Associated Press story in The Boston Evening Globe, “Cambridge Girl Busy on Trip to Africa With Seasick WAACS”, mentions McCann being on the same transport with nurses Dorothea LeCain of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Margaret McCormick of Rutledge, Vermont (presumably Margaret M. McCormick), and Sophie J. Lange of Buffalo, New York.
2nd Lieutenant McCann was listed on the December 31, 1943 roster listed with the assignment of Night Duty, Medical Section. She was listed as an operating room nurse on the May 1, 1944 roster and a general duty nurse on the December 31, 1944 roster. She was promoted to 1st lieutenant as of March 27, 1945. She left the unit in July 1945. Her overseas service ended in November 1, 1945. Although she left the U.S. Army on March 1, 1946 at Camp Stoneman, California, she apparently rejoined the military in March 1947. The Pennsylvania Application for World War II Compensation contains both her World War II service number (N-723269) as well as her service number from 1947 onward (N-1370), which makes it possible to follow her career a little further. As of 1950 she was working at the station hospital at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
She was listed on the January 1, 1951 Official Army Register as having joined the service on May 20, 1942 and as being promoted to captain on May 20, 1949. She was listed in the January 1, 1956 Official Army Register as a captain who was 883rd on the Army Nurse Corps Promotion List. She was listed in the January 1, 1961 U.S. Army Register under her maiden name as being promoted to major on July 3, 1958. She is listed (under her married name) on the January 1, 1966 U.S. Army Register as retiring from the U.S. Army on December 31, 1962 at the rank of major. Her last residence was listed as Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is buried at Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Oklahoma. I have been unable to learn any further about her, not even her husband’s first name.
Margaret M. McCormick, N-723690 (likely September 14, 1903 – December 5, 1966)
McCormick was likely a member of the 32nd Station Hospital when the unit shipped out for Algeria on January 14, 1943. A January 30, 1943 story by Ruth Cowan of the Associated Press listed a nurse named Margaret McCormick of Rutledge, Vermont (possibly supposed to be Rutland, Vermont) as being on the same ship crossing the Atlantic with Dorothea LeCain and Kathryn Judith McCann, both members of the unit. The article was printed in at least three different versions in various papers, including The Boston Evening Globe (“Cambridge Girl Busy on Trip to Africa With Seasick WAACS”), the Boston Traveler (“Cambridge Army Nurse’s First Patients Seasick”), and Washington D.C.’s The Evening Star (“Army Nurses Crossing to Africa Spend Time Caring for Seasick”). The version printed in the Boston Traveler contains an additional sentence omitted from the other papers: “Miss McCormick trained at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn and also worked for the New York Public Health Department.”
As of December 31, 1943, she was listed as Supervisor, Medical Section with a rank of 1st lieutenant. She was promoted to captain as of August 17, 1944, but her assignment remained the same as of December 31, 1944. After Principal Chief Nurse Brammer left the unit in July 1945, Captain McCormick was designated the Chief Nurse, effective July 22, 1945, but this was after the unit ceased operations in Caserta. She was one of several nurses from the unit who is listed on a 7th Replacement Depot document from 1945 that lists her as returning to New York on October 4, 1945. Her home address was listed as Attleboro, Massachusetts on the roster.
I found a June 4, 1946 photograph in The Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, New York) with a photo of “Margaret M. McCormick, R.N., Plant Nurse” at the L C Smith & Corona Typewriters factory. The photo of her looks similar, but isn’t high enough quality to be sure. Unfortunately, Margaret M. McCormick is an exceedingly common name.
Even with the Brooklyn, Rutland, Attleboro, and Ithaca leads, I was not able to find a certain record of her, though I have a guess that is admittedly a synthesis of the various leads. There was a Margaret M. McCormick who appeared on the 1930 census as a 25-year old trained nurse, born in Vermont but living in Brooklyn. Working backwards from that, she was likely the Margaret M. McCormick who appeared on the 1920 census as a 16-year old living in Pittsford Village in Rutland County, Vermont, the daughter of William and Mary McCormick (who were born in Vermont to parents who had immigrated from Ireland). The census details are consistent with the birth record for Margaret Mary McCormick in Pittsford, Vermont on September 14, 1903. A Margaret McCormick with that date of birth died in Brooklyn, New York in December 1966. A death notice printed in The Palm Beach Post on December 6, 1966 stated: “Miss Margaret McCormick of Brooklyn, N. Y., formerly of 213 Southern Blvd., died Monday in Brooklyn.” The notice brought the line of inquiry full circle by adding: “Services and burial will be in Pittsford, Vt.” However the notice did not give any biographical details such as her being a nurse or World War II service that would make it possible to be certain of the match.
Elizabeth Teresa McGaulley (Elizabeth McGaulley Mahar), N-723174 (July 5, 1904 – February 26, 1988)
McGaulley was born in New York, the daughter of Michael and Elizabeth McGaulley. She appears on the 1920 census as living in Plattsburgh, New York. She is mentioned in a March 20, 1925 newspaper article in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle as graduating from nursing school at St. Mary’s Hospital. At the time of the 1930 census, she was working as a nurse, living with her older sister and brother-in-law in West Palm Beach, Florida. A May 20, 1942 article in the Plattsburgh Daily Press, “Miss Betty McGaulley Joins Army” states that prior to being commissioned, she had “for several years has been following public health work in New York City.” As of October 6, 1942, when she was mentioned in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, she was a U.S. Army nurse assigned to Pine Camp, New York.
It is unclear when she joined the 32nd Station Hospital, but she was definitely a member of the unit by July 26, 1943 when she was mentioned in one of Alice Griffin’s letters home, an outing partially derailed by Griffin’s stomach:
McGaulley & I started uptown today & per usual I was starved so we stopped into the Bucket of Blood – gave the owner a sob story & had “steak” salad & two egg omelets. The steak was about 2 by 2 inches but it tasted good.
2nd Lieutenant McGaulley appeared on the December 31, 1943 roster with assignment of Night Duty, Medical Section. It appears she transferred to the 33rd Field Hospital around January 1944. Dwight McNelly’s unpublished manuscript mentions that about a week into the Anzio invasion, two nurses were transferred from the 32nd Station Hospital to serve at the beachhead. The most likely candidates are McGaulley and 2nd Lieutenant Rose V. Straley. McGaulley is mentioned in the diary of Dr. Arthur Batterton deGrandpré of the 95th Evacuation Hospital, whose February 6, 1944 entry states: “Betty McGaulley from Plattsburgh, called yesterday; she’s with the 33d Field Hospital. Some change from a Station Hospital, where she served previously.”
McGaulley appeared in a photograph printed on March 4, 1944 in the Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) as well as several other papers on different dates. The caption of the photograph states:
German bombing or shelling by long range artillery is not enough to halt the “primping up” of American nurses on the beachhead below Rome. Lieut. Mary Brady, of Brooklyn, N. Y., holds the mirror here while her medical colleague, Lieut. Elizabeth T. McGaulley of Plattsburg, N. Y., repairs her tousled hair-do.
Dr. Arthur Batterton deGrandpré’s June 25, 1944 diary entry states:
Saw Betty McGaulley at church. She still serves with the 33d Field Hospital. She was at Anzio for 4 months and is now getting ready for another adventure by boat (ending up in the South Pacific). She looks very well.
Evidentially, she returned to Plattsburg after the war, since she’s in a 1946 city directory. She married Henry Allen Mahar in August 1947. Her obituary in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican states she was a member of the Disabled American Veterans and American Legion. Her obituary does not list any children.
Lexie Winsome Miller (Lexie Miller Hazlett) N-721908 (August 9, 1907 – March 30, 2003)
2nd Lieutenant Miller was one of 25 nurses transferred from Lovell General Hospital at Fort Devens, Massachusetts into the 32nd Station Hospital effective December 1942. She was listed on the December 31, 1943 roster with the assignment of Night Duty, Medical Section. On the May 1, 1944 roster she was listed as Nurse, general duty. Miller transferred to the 64th General Hospital in June 1944.
Although most World War II U.S. Army documents only provided middle initial for personnel, Special Orders No. 323 did list her middle name. This makes it almost certain that she is the Lexie Winsome Miller who was born in Nova Scotia and arrived in the United States on August 28, 1926. Her Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen on September 28, 1938 lists her as a nurse living in Boston. She married Herman Hazlett in 1947 and died in Texas. A document posted on Ancestry.com states: “Lexie was a registered nurse and she spent most of her life as a visiting nurse to the poor. She ended her career running a clinic for abused and neglected children in Houston, Texas”.
Ruby Eleanor Milligan (Ruby Milligan Hills), N-721820 (December 19, 1918 – January 25, 2011)
Ruby Milligan was born in Berlin, New Hampshire to James and Frances Milligan, who had immigrated from Canada. By 1937 she was listed on a directory as working a nurse at Central Maine General Hospital in Lewiston, Maine. I was initially confused to see that on the 1940 census she was listed as a student nurse at the Charles V. Chaplin Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. In email correspondence with Milligan’s son, he explained that his mother’s education at Central Main General Hospital would have been analogous to L.P.N. today, followed by additional training at Chaplin equivalent to R.N.
2nd Lieutenant Milligan was one of 25 nurses working at Lovell General Hospital, Fort Devens, Massachusetts who was assigned to the 32nd Station Hospital in November 1942 and who joined the unit the following month. She accompanied the unit overseas to Tlemcen, Algeria in January 1943. 2nd Lieutenant Milligan participated in a medical exhibition in Oran, Algeria sometime in 1943, during which she modeled a winter nurse’s uniform.
Milligan was listed on the December 31, 1943 32nd Station Hospital roster as Ward Nurse, Orthopedic Ward. She was listed as a general duty nurse on the May 1 and December 31, 1944 rosters.
Writing decades later, Willard Havemeier recalled of Milligan: “She had a great smile and loved to dance to swing music.” Milligan was good friends with fellow nurses Annie P. Barone (Hagerty) and Ina Bean (Carey); the three of them appear frequently together in Milligan’s photo album from the war.
Milligan served as Bean’s maid of honor at her wedding to Dr. William A. Carey, Jr. on March 29, 1944. A March 1945 32nd Station Hospital report states that 2nd Lieutenant Milligan was rotated home to the United States via the 7th Replacement Depot. She left the army at Fort Devens. She attended at least one nurses’ reunion as well as the 1962 unit reunion. Her World War II album is one of the best sources of 32nd Station Hospital photographs to come to light so far.
Milligan married Maine Hills, Jr. (1917–2004) on April 30, 1948. Their marriage lasted almost 57 years, until Maine’s death. The couple raised four sons and a daughter. One of their sons told me that his mother was a public health nurse in Waldo County, Maine. She died at the Augusta Veteran’s Home, aged 92.
Rita G. Moore (Rita G. Harold), N-723542 (October 13, 1915 – March 29, 1971)
Rita Moore was born in Pennsylvania. She was likely promoted to 1st Lieutenant on October 22, 1943. 1st Lieutenant Moore appeared on all three extant rosters (December 31, 1943, May 1, 1944, and December 31, 1944) rosters as Supervisor, Surgical Section.
She married 1st Lieutenant John G. Harold (O-1634852, 1917–1971) in the hospital chapel on May 15, 1945. The officiant was Catholic Chaplain William V. O’Connor, who had been transferred to the Adriatic Base Command in April but returned for this and at least one other wedding. The Harolds raised one son and two daughers. She died in New York and is buried at Long Island National Cemetery.
Dorothy Evelyn Mowbray, N-723514 (June 5, 1918 – October 6, 1986)
Dorothy Mowbray (known as Dottie to her friends) was born in Wilmington, Delaware to Alpheus and Evelyn Mowbray. She attended Pierre S. DuPont High School in Wilmington, followed by Delaware Hospital Training School for Nurses. She entered active duty as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army on July 15, 1942 and she served at Fort DuPont in Delaware before joining the 32nd Station Hospital in December 1942.
Although Mowbray left the unit prior to the earliest complete nurses’ roster on December 31, 1943, I came across a newspaper article in the Wilmington Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware) from January 3, 1944 that stated:
LIEUT. DOROTHY MOWBRAY, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Q. Mowbray, 209 West Twenty-first Street, who has been serving in Africa, is home on sick leave. Her room-mate in North Africa was Lieut. Marie Thielemann, a graduate of St. Francis Hospital Training School of Nurses, previously stationed with her at Fort DuPont. Among the physicians on the staff was Maj. Robert O. Y. Warren in this city.
No unit is listed, which was typical of operational security regarding news stories during World War II. However, both Thielemann and Warren were members of the 32nd Station Hospital. I contacted Mowbray’s nephew, who had an unpublished manuscript written by his aunt which confirmed her unit was the 32nd Station Hospital. This manuscript will be published in the coming months as the Collections section of the site is filled in. She also wrote a series of ten articles for the Wilmington Morning News published between November 23 and December 4, 1944.
2nd Lieutenant Mowbray’s Army of the United States Certificate of Service indicates she left the 32nd Station Hospital in October 1943, arriving back in the United States the following month. Due to health issues, she was discharged at Rhoads General Hospital in Utica, New York on April 19, 1944. In a December 1990 letter to Mowbray’s nephew, Mowbray’s friend Harriett E. Hutchison wrote:
Your Aunt Dorothy was one of the finest nurses I ever worked with. Her WWII assignment, in Africa, was the last straw in regards to her health and she was truly sad to be shipped back and medically discharged. I remember how very proud her father was of her. I could write pages more but I’m sure I have made my point.
Mowbray resumed her career as a nurse in Wilmington, and died there, aged 68.
Last updated September 11, 2019