January 18, 2022

Image: Group photograph of the Grande Prairie Ladies’ Curling Club posed with rocks and brooms. Edith is second from right in the back row. ca. 1925 (SPRA

Regimental Number: 8547
Rank: Nursing Sister
Branch: No. 5 Canadian General Hospital, Canadian Army Medical Corps

Edith Louise Hibbs was born on November 14, 1889 in Montreal and was a nurse living in London when she signed up for military service in September of 1915. Her attestation paper describes her as having fair hair and blue eyes. Edith served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps and was soon sent to Malta, where the conditions coupled with the climate took a toll on soldiers and medical staff alike. Edith was no exception. She contracted malaria in November of 1916 and is noted as being sick with it at least four more times. Edith also saw service in Turkey and the Dardanelles. She was discharged from service after her last bout with it in 1917. Edith was then invalided back to England where she continued to work in the hospitals for the duration of the war. Edith was awarded the Royal Red Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on April 28, 1919 – an honour that was awarded in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth for exceptional services in military nursing. Edith came to the Peace Country upon a request made to her by Dr. Lewis J. O’Brien, whom she had met during her military service. Dr. O’Brien offered Edith the job of matron of the Katherine Prittie Hospital in Grande Prairie. Edith agreed and left her job at Summerland, B.C. Conditions were primitive at the log pioneer hospital that had no running water or power and a telephone that shut off at midnight. In 1929 a new hospital was built with a larger capacity, improved facilities, and modern equipment. Edith continued in her old position becoming the first matron of the new hospital. In 1929, Edith married the local veterinarian Dr. Louis Fredette and gave up her position as matron. They had a daughter, Hope. Louis died in 1960 and Edith in 1964.

Source: Grande Prairie: Capitol of the Peace p. 97

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

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