Lydia V Whiteside


Lydia V Whiteside

Ontario, Canada
Death 21 Oct 1918 (aged 33)
Thiancourt, Territoire de Belfort, Franche-Comté, France
Burial Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota, USA
Memorial ID 98350621 View Source


Pneumonia Takes Duluth Nurse at Work in France.

"Lydia V. Whiteside of Duluth died like a true soldier Oct. 21 and too much praise for her work with the Red Cross in France cannot be given."
Margaret L. Dunlop, a nurse with the American forces in France, thus described the death of the Duluth girl in a letter to R.H. Whiteside of this city.
Miss Whiteside died of pneumonia following influenza, while on duty in France. She left Duluth in May with hospital unit No. 26 of the Minnesota Ambulance corps. She sailed for France in July and was at Mobile hospital with "The Flying Unit," so called by General Pershing in dispatches. This unit kept close to the firing line in big drives, handling the wounded marines as they came from the trenches.
Miss Whiteside was in the operating room. In her last letter she said she could see the flash of the guns and had been bombed.. Her mother, Mrs. Richard Whiteside, died Sept. 28 and her father died in 1915 at the old settlers' picnic at Ely. She was the niece of Robert B Whiteside.
Miss Dunlop's letter follows: "I wish instead of writing I could run in and see you and tell you all about Lydia's illness and death. It's hard to write it but I will do my best.
"You all were very much in our thoughts yesterday and the day before, as we did the little things for her that her own people would love to have done. Our hearts ached.
"Just a week ago I learned that she had been sick but was better. I asked the nurse to let me know how she progressed. It was last Saturday that Major McCrae, the C.O., called up and asked me to go over, which I did. She was very sick but still we hoped she would recover. The next day she was a trifle better but Monday not so well. I went over about 2 o'clock and stayed all night. The end came at 11:15, very peacefully. She talked with us at 9 and hen went to sleep. She was tired and it was a relief to see her at rest. There was no suffering at all. There was little suffering at any time, which was a comfort to us all and will be to you.
"It was a case of intestinal infection, Spanish influenza and later pneumonia. Everything that human skill could do was done. Major McCrae, of whose kindness I cannot say enough, had all the prominent medical men who came to the camp see her but it was all of no avail. They had her in a building near the hospital but quiet, in a nice old-fashioned room with French windows and a large open fireplace where wood crackled all day long. She liked it so much. Two do the ten Minnesota girls aided her. I only wish you could have seen their devotion. The nurses all loved her, as did every one in the organization. As some one said yesterday: ‘A word of criticism has yet to be said of Miss Whiteside.' She was a genuine nurse, a true soldier. There is no better over here and it is a pity he career was so short.
"It was Major McCrae's own idea to bring her here to sleep, and I was so glad. We brought her down yesterday afternoon after service in the open on the hilltop, where surrounded by officers, corps men and nurses, she lay. The casket was covered with daisies and draped with the flag for which she gave her life. Upon our arrival here the rest of our girls who are here joined us.
"Two telegrams were sent to Mr. Ranck but the first was addressed to Mr. Rankin. I gave the correct name when I first went over. There had been no word from him Since Tuesday.
"Lydia will always be missed by all with whom she worked."

Duluth News-Tribune, November 26, 1918


Lydia V. Whiteside
The body of Miss Lydia V. Whiteside who died in France while serving with the Mobile unit of the American Red Cross, will arrive in Duluth for burial today.
Funeral services will be held a 2 p.m. tomorrow at the First Methodist Church under direction of Duluth military and patriotic organizations. Rev. C.N. Pace, pastor of the First Methodist church will officiate. Burial will be in Forest Hill cemetery. Miss Whiteside was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Richard Whiteside. Four brothers and three sisters survive.

Duluth News-Tribune, December 20, 1918


Published in the Duluth News Tribune on 29 Sep 1918, Duluth, Minnesota


Miss Lydia Whiteside, a Lakeside girl who has been who has been doing Red Cross nursing "somewhere in France" since early in the summer, thoroughly enjoys the work and writes most interestingly of it. Miss Whiteside speaks of being so fortunate as to meet two Duluthians "over there" Edward Rank and Mac Coolse, both well known here. In writing she says.

"You would enjoy this life very much. In some respects it is like camping out. Twenty of our Unit 26, were detached temporarily from the rest of the unit, about a week ago, and sent up as near the trenches as it is safe for a mobile hospital to be. The nearest I think that any nurses have ever been sent before.

"Occasionally we have a regular Fourth of July celebration in the air. We had a dandy one the first night of are arrival. I was a wee bit nervous all right.

"We are located in a very picturesque place. Wonderful shrubbery and trees, you could almost imagine you were in Minnesota, if a little lake were near by. We have quite a settlement here, and I most certainly enjoy the work and the personnel we are now with have been wonderfully nice to us. It is a most interesting place and I am delighted to have this experience, and more than delighted to have been sent to such fine people.

"We call our tent ‘Chateau de Rouge Canary.' It is an English tent like they use in the tropics, double lined. You surely would enjoy living in it. Candy is something of the past here, as are ice cream or sodas. The Red Cross and Y.M.C.A. furnish chocolate to us, but it isn't like we have at home. We get awfully good things to eat though. We walked about a mile to a neighboring town to make necessary purchases, with polite talk and many gestures. As I said before we are pretty near the front, but I think we are perfectly safe, as the American boys are driving the Huns to Berlin all right.

"They raid us occasionally but haven't accomplished much, only demolished some property. We visited an old Cathedral this morning in a famous French village, which the Germans have been occupying for some time and had their stores all ready for the winter, but we Americans fooled them. But the havoc wrought was awful. They had simply taken a hatchet and hacked the tapestry and all the statuary, then they had collected gold and silver vases and had everything packed in readiness to fly. They had also completely demolished the interior of the home, everything torn to shreds. We also walked over a famous old bridge wrecked over a famous river, which is not much wider than the canal at Duluth. I had always pictured it to be as large as the Mississippi.

"We have been terribly busy lately attending lots of boys of the Rainbow division. I look at everybody as I rather expect to find some Duluth boys. We are certainly doing lots for the wounded boys, but we are pretty tired sometimes.

"During the big drive the work has been strenuous, sometimes on duty from 18 to 24 hours. The boys are so grateful and we are the first American women they have seen since they came over. One boy said to me, "Please may I touch you to see if you are real?" we seldom hear our boys spoken of as Americans, it is "Commys," British "Tommys," and French Frogs.

"The spirit between our boys and the French is wonderful, they are all great pals and try to teach each other their own language. Recently I visited the furnished dugouts of the Germans, furnished fo the winter with all French belongings. One was all lined with linen sheets, upholstered furniture, mahogany bed, wonderful china, rugs and candle sticks, but our Americans shoved the Huns out of them in a hurry.

"Have had a few German prisoners, they are very humble.

"Socks are badly needed because we simply have to cut them off the boys with their fractured legs, and some of them haven't had them off for weeks.

"We enjoy long walks through the country for recreation. One day four of us had a picnic in the hills once occupied by the Germans. The little villages are indeed pathetic, shelled and robbed and deserted. But the French are gradually coming back with their dog carts and few worldly possessions.

"I would like to tell you more, but here is something really funny, the Huns are scared stiff of the American negroes, they call them the fighting black devils, and run the minute they see them, never wait to fire a shot."

*Article found by Findagrave contributor Larry Johnson (47621280)

Lydia also has a memorial on Victory Drive in Minneapolis; see memorial #113402204.


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