Coigach Folk

COIGACH'S SACRIFICE IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR


Page 14

NURSES FROM COIGACH

The majority of these notes are extracted from a document in the CCHG archive prepared by Pauline Ward and assisted by two former Health Visitors who gathered information on their predecessors - Beryl Morgan and Margaret Starling. The relatives were very happy to lend photographs to be copied for the archive. Mairi Thornton has also recently provided additional information and photographs after discussion with family members.

Rachael Fraser

Rachael came from North Uist to work in Coigach as a young community nurse, where she met her husband Donnie. She rode a motor bike for her rounds, lodging with Kathie Ann and Allah Macleod at Greenhill. She and Donnie went to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and eventually returned to Coigach with their young family. Rachael continued working as a District Nurse for many years.

Sandy Fraser

Sandy trained as a nurse in Glasgow’s Victoria Hospital and later became a radiographer in London. She returned to Coigach where she lived the rest of her life and was a renowned Gaelic singer. Her sisters Jessie Ferrier (née Fraser) and Dolly (Dolina Margaret) were also nurses. In those days women were required to give up nursing when they started a family as Jessie did just before the war. Their brother Donald Fraser (p. 38) was a Prisoner of War from 1940 to 1945.

Jessie Graham

Jessie trained in the Royal Northern Infirmary, Inverness, and then worked as a District Nurse in Shetland, moving on to work in Perthshire. In 1976 she became the Nursing Officer covering an area including Coigach. Jessie had a sister, Isa, and her brother Robert Graham was captured at St Valéry en Caux on 12th June 1940 and a prisoner of war (p. 39).

Alasdair Maclean from Altandhu and Angus Macleod from Badenscallie trained together at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow. Alasdair moved to the Southern General Hospital and was then called up to serve with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Southampton. They both returned to Coigach to retire. Alasdair settled in a new house in Altandhu above the Fuaran Bar (which was his original family home). Angus and his wife Sadie retired to Badenscallie. His brothers Kenny and Roddie were still living in Coigach.

  

Rachel Fraser                                        Sandy Fraser


Jessie Graham with her brother John.


Alasdair Maclean and Angus Macleod

   
Agnes Maclennan                                         


Kenneth Maclean Macleod and Christina (Chrissie) Ann on their wedding day in 1948.

 

Agnes Maclennan (née Gillies)

Agnes came from the Isle of Lewis. She had trained at the Southern General in Glasgow. In 1942 she came to Coigach as a District Nurse. She received a personal message from Queen Mary acknowledging her nursing service, bringing many Coigach children into the world. In 1944 she married Kenny Maclennan of Blairbuie and had 3 daughters and 2 sons. Two of her daughters also became nurses.

Barbara Maclennan

Much has been written about Barbara in A Hundred Years of Wester Ross (2002) by Donald Shaw. – p. 31.

Barbara was born in 1918, grew up in Coigach, one of 13 children. She left school at the age of 15 and went to work in Glasgow. Then, when aged 18 she trained in her chosen profession of nursing. After qualifying she was posted to Italy to deal with troops injured in the front line. Returning to Ross-shire, she worked at the Ross Memorial Hospital, Dingwall, before pursuing a career with the military charity SSAFA, for which she received the MBE. She eventually retired to live in Ullapool. She died in 2001.


Barbara Maclennan with her MBE  [Both photos courtesy of Ian Maclennan.]

Kenneth Maclean Macleod (Kenny) and Christina Ann (Chrissie) Macleod

Kenny came from Badenscallie and trained in Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow. During WW2 he was a Petty Officer, nursing on aircraft carriers. After WW2 he worked at Craig Dunain, taught at the Royal Northern and then became Night Superintendent in Raigmore, all in Inverness. Kenny retired to Polglass and was elected a Coigach Councillor. Through his efforts the houses at Island View were built.

Chrissie was also a nurse and trained at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She joined the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps in WW2. She became the Coigach District Nurse after WW2, staying with her brother William ‘Uisdean’ Macleod.

Katherine Maclean and Lena Macleod

Katherine (née Stewart) from Polglass, and Lena, from Culnacraig, both started their training in Glasgow at the end of the war and worked as Staff Nurses at the Robroystan Hospital. Katherine became a District Nurse in Glasgow until she moved back north with her husband and settled in Invergordon. Lena eventually retired to Inverness. Her sister Betty (married name Cameron) was also a nurse in Glasgow and attended the Clydebank Blitz (13th-15th March 1941). She retired to Skye with her husband.

 



Katherine Maclean and Lena Macleod

Nora Macleod (née Macaskill)

Nora trained in the Western Infirmary in Glasgow. She later joined the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps and went over to Normandy 5 days after the D-Day landings. Nora and her colleagues were nurses in France, Belgium and Holland, running field hospitals for wounded Allied servicemen and also German POWs. She then served in Norway, and in Suez, Egypt. She married Willie ‘Uisdean’ Macleod in 1952, brought up her family in Polglass, and became a relief district nurse in Coigach. Willie’s brother John Alick Macleod (pp. 24-26) was killed in France in June 1940.

Nora Macleod (nee Macaskill) in Egypt
 

Text reads:  Members of Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service were the first Allied women to arrive in Normandy.  The picture shows the Matron (Senior Commander Miller) addressing the nurses on their duties.

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