To understand the actions of the unit and the relationship between the civilian and military medical establishments, a study of some of the individuals associated with the unit is necessary.
ELIZABETH LAWRIE SMELLIE C.B.E
Elizabeth Lawrie Smellie was born in Port Arthur, Ontario, on March 22, 1884. After graduating from St. Margaret’s College inToronto, she decided to follow her father into the medical field by training to become a Nurse at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Following her training, Smellie returned to the Lakehead in 1909. Here she worked as the night supervisor at McKellar General Hospital in Fort William. Upon the Outbreak of war in 1914, Smellie volunteered to provide service overseas. While serving in England and France as a hospital matron, she was mentioned in dispatches in 1915. In 1917, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace. At the end of the war, she was assistant to the Matron-in-Chief, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Nursing Services in Ottawa where she remained until 1920. During the 1920s and 1930s, Smellie would become recognized for her contributions in both military and civilian medical establishments. She taught public health nursing at McGill University in Montreal, worked part-time with the Victorian Order of Nurses, and in 1924 became their Chief Superintendent. In 1934 alone, she was decorated C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire) for her war service, received the "Snively" Nursing Medal and an Honourary Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of Western, Ontario. In addition, Smellie was sent by the Rockefeller Foundation to study nursing conditions in twelve countries and was also elected vice president of the American Public Health Association. During WWII, Smellie served as Matron-in-Chief, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Nursing Services. During this time, she also organized the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. In 1944, Smellie retired from the services. Again, her service in the military gained her widespread respect. The Honourable J.L. Ralston called her "dean of the nursing service" and she went on to become an Honourary Colonel, the first female to reach this position in the Canadian Army. During this same year, she was made Honourary President of Branch 5, Royal Canadian Legion in Port Arthur, Ontario.
One of the last honours she received was the Red Chevron award for her contributions to the military nursing services. Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery presented her this award in Ottawa in 1960. During her last public appearance in her hometown, Smellie addressed the 50th graduating class of nurses at McKellar General Hospital. In her address, she told the graduates to remember "to nurse, the hands cannot be divided from the head and the heart." This truism was not only good advice, but could also be applied to her whole career in the medical services.
Monument - Elizabeth Semllie (2)
Waverly Park, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Thunder Bay Military Museum and History Society
J. D. MCINTOSH
J.D. McIntosh was born on April 15, 1912 to Dr. Y. L. & Jetti McIntosh. Following his schooling in Fort William, McIntosh attended the University of Toronto where he studied Medicine. After graduating, he began practicing with his father in 1936. During that same year, McIntosh joined the 4th Field Ambulance as a Medical Officer. Upon the outbreak of World War II, the unit was mobilized and McIntosh went with them to France with the advance party in 1940. Shortly after their arrival, the unit was sent back to England, due to the French surrender. At this time, McIntosh was subsequently transferred to the Saskatoon Light Infantry as Regimental Medical Officer and then to the 5th Field Ambulance that landed in Sicily on D-Day, July 10, 1943. Following his time with the 5th Field Ambulance, McIntosh would become Malaria Officer with the First Canadian Division of the 8th Army wherein he would take part in several major battles including the Battle of Monte Casino in the Spring of 1944. Upon his return to the 4th Field Ambulance, the unit would join the First Canadian Division in Holland. McIntosh would remain overseas, helping out in Canadian hospitals in England right up until his discharge in 1946. Once arriving home on Canadian soil, McIntosh rejoined 4th Field Ambulance where he would serve as Commanding Officer from 1949 until his retirement in 1955. During the postwar period, the unit excelled under McIntosh’s command. In 1950 and 1951, the unit won
the Ryerson-Shillington Trophy recognizing them as the Best Militia Medical Unit in Canada.
During his medical career, McIntosh was a member of the Thunder Bay Medical Association, the Ontario Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association, receiving the Glen Sawyer Award from the Ontario Medical Association in 1987.
Fort William, Ontario
Thunder Bay Military Museum and History Society
One example of the wide range of services provided by the modern Canadian Armed Forces can be illustrated by taking a look at the career of Major Christian Borland. At the age of 16, Borland joined 18 (Thunder Bay) Service Battalion. Choosing to attend school to become a nurse, Borland trained outside of the military during the Trudeau cutbacks of the early 1980s. In 1984, he graduated as an RN and decided to continue his military service. Major Borland served the Naval Reserve on HMCS CHIPPEWAin Winnipeg and HMCS YORK in Toronto, before moving back to HMCS GRIFFON in Thunder Bay. Here he reached the rank of Master Seaman before being commissioned with 18 Medical Company (which became 18 Field Ambulance in 2003).
During the Bosnian conflict, Major Borland spent 7 months in Bosnia with Role 3 Multinational Integrated Medical Unit at Sipovo Garrison in a Serb Republic. He was one of only six Canadians in this group which also included Brits, Dutch, and Czechs. Working with such a diverse group proved difficult, according to Borland, as not only language, but also training and even names of medicines differ from one country to the next. In the next major conflict involving Canadian soldiers, Major Borland served 3 tours in Afghanistan (totaling 1 year) during the 2006-2008 period. Once again Borland served with Role 3, this time at Kandahar Airfield as a Critical Care Nurse, where he had a key role in helping resuscitate and treat trauma injuries.
On Canadian soil, Borland was a part of Operation Noah and later provided assistance in Winnipeg during the Red River flood as Flight Nurse. During this disaster, Borland was involved in the rescue of victims of the flood with the use of a helicopter. Borland also participated in Operation Podium, which provided support for a six-month period around the 2010 Winter Olypmics, which took place in Vancouver, BC.
Outside of the military, Borland has worked for nearly 14 years at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre as of 2010. Also, he has worked as a contract nurse in Saudi Arabia, in the Canadian Arctic, and Northern Ontario. Borland’s widespread training history mirrors his varied experiences with the Ministry of Health. He has completed qualification as a Flight Paramedic with the Armed Forces, graduated from Seneca College’s Medic Program, continues to be an accredited mortician and has received further military medical training at Vancouver General Hospital.
Major Borland in Emergency Room - Role 3 Multinational Hospital
25 September 2007
Major Christian Borland
Thunder Bay Miltiary Museum and History Society