Posted on May 12th, 2016 by pajamapress
International Nurses’ Day is celebrated around the world on May 12 to mark the generosity and contributions of nurses everywhere, past and present. The date also marks Florence Nightingale’s birthdate; she’s the nurse many consider the founder of modern nursing.
Today we’d like to take the opportunity to honour our favourite historical nurse, Aileen Rogers, who appears in both A Bear in War and Bear on the Homefront, and who helped to safely deliver English children to guest-houses across Canada during World War 2. Aileen was also the original owner of Teddy, who resides at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and is something of a national celebrity.
Aileen Rogers was born in Montreal in 1905. She contracted polio at a young age and it affected her walking for much of her life. When she was 10 and her father, Lawrence Browning Rogers, went to fight in World War 1, Aileen sent her beloved teddy bear overseas to keep him safe. Years later she graduated as a registered nurse from Montreal General Hospital School of Nursing. She had various nursing jobs, including her work during World War 2, and ended her career as head of McGill University’s health services. She lived in Montreal until she passed away in 1988.
Aileen’s experiences during the second world war were preserved in a diary she kept in 1940 along with hundreds of family letters and memorabilia from the wars. Her niece found these records stored in an old family briefcase in 2002.
Stephanie Innes, Aileen’s great-niece, co-wrote A Bear in War and Bear on the Homefront using her family’s war memorabilia including Aileen’s journal, photographs, hundreds of letters, and Teddy. Stephanie lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is the senior medical reporter for the Arizona Daily Star.
Learn more about Aileen, Teddy and their family: