September 4, 1925 - December 21, 1944
Phyllis Margaret Trebble was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, the daughter of Thomas and Thurza Myrtle (nee Scott) Trebble. Thomas Trebble was born in England and served in WWI. Thurza Trebble was born in Columbia Falls, Montana. She had three sisters, Irene Myrtle, May Catherine, and Lois Isabelle, plus one brother, Roy Herbert. The family lived in Winnifred, Alberta, 50 kilometres west of Medicine Hat. The family attended the Anglican church.
Mr. Trebble was the postmaster of the Winnifred Post Office for 22 years. (It opened May 1909 and closed in February 1970.) Phyllis worked at the post office after she finished her Grade XI education at Bow Island, Alberta.
When Phyllis, 18 years old, applied in Calgary to become a member of the CWAC in November 1943, the particulars of her family's health was required. "Father, 58, Postmaster: poor. Mother, 43, housewife: good. Sister, 15, school student: good. Sister, 10, school student: good. Sister, 19, teacher: fair. Brother, 21, airman overseas: good." She noted that she had foot trouble, plus kidney/bladder issues. "One year ago, pain in low back for several months...never laid up." When she was young, Phyllis had crossed eyes. During her exam, the doctor stated Phyllis had "convergent squint - amblyopia and anopsia."
She stood 5' 4 1/2" tall, and weighed 128 pounds. She had a rough V shaped scar between her thumb and first finger on her left hand. She liked embroidery. After the war, she wanted to be a typist.
On her PERSONNEL SELECTION RECORD: Finished Grade XI at the age of 16 after 11 years of schooling. Attended Winnifred school up to High School and then went to Bow Island School. Took one grade each year. Liked Latin, Home Economics. Took typing and shorthand for one year. Left school because father wanted her in the Post Office. OCCUPATIONAL BACKGROUND: Postal assistant and telephone operator for one year and two months in Winnifred, Alberta. OTHER PERSONAL HISTORY AND APPRAISAL: Trebble's father is the Post Master of Winnifred and Trebble herself has lived in this town for many years. Is an engaged girl who does not plan to be married in the near future. Has one brother in the RCAF Overseas. One of her three sisters is teaching at Garbutt Business College in Lethbridge. Her father did not wish her to enlist for he was anxious that she remain at home. Her homelife seems to have been very happy...light brown hair and eyes. Plump cheeks. Wears glasses sometimes for the muscles in her eyes are weak (has a slight cast). Because of this girl's introductory knowledge of Postal work, and the fact that she has a good education, training as a Postal Assistant is advised. This is Trebble's main ambition. Seems also capable of being trained as a Clerk General Duty. Her appearance is neat and attractive, her achievements are well above average and she should prove to be a conscientious and reliable...She took mechanics and shop work at school but she prefers more feminine hobbies. Likes to be with people her own age. She seems socially well adjusted. Has never had nervous troubles. Anxious to go overseas." Captain Betty Lough, CWAC Army Examiner
Training and Postings:
On December 2, 1943: "Is enjoying basic training. Progress has been good. She would like to be a postal assistant. She has worked for her father, a Post Master, and has had over a year's experience." On January 25, 1944: "Highly recommended for Trades Training as Postal Assistant. Has very good education, good ability and experience in civilian life as Postal Clerk."
Pte Phyllis Trebble donated blood on January 5, 1944. She was fingerprinted and photographend on November 8, 1943. She earned $1.10/day by April 3, 1944, with an increase to $1.20/day the next month. She bought a $50 Victory Bond in November 1943.
While in Ottawa, Phylllis received a telegram from her mother in early April 1944. "COME IMMEDIATELY. TAKE CHARGE POST OFFICE. DADDY HAVING OPERATION THURSDAY. ANSWER. MOTHER." Phyllis promptly asked for a a leave from the CWAC, dated April 11, 1944: "Illness of father. Father has to undergo an operation for ulcers of the stomach and am needed to take charge of post office at home." It was anticipated that Mr. Trebble would require eight to twelve weeks convalescence. "Father has become very ill and operation is necessary. There is no one to take over unless I am there." Thomas Trebble died on May 8, 1944 at the age of 58. Phyllis requested an extension of her leave. "I wish to advise that owing to the death on Monday of my father, it will be necessary to have my leave extended for at least one month. It will be necessary for me to take charge of the Post Office here until such time as other arrangements can be made. Please advise regarding extension as soon as possible." Phyllis was granted her request and two months' additional leave was recommended. Mrs. Trebble then took over as postmistress until November 1945.
On September 27 until October 7, 1944, Pte Trebble was at the Rideau Military Hospital, then again November 17 to November 28, 1944.
In December 1944, Phyllis required more medical attention. By this time, she had been returned to Alberta to the Internment Camp Hospital, Medicine Hat. "December 19, 1944, vaginal bleeding one day, pelvic pain seven days, vomiting three times a day. Up until three months ago, periods were 28 days apart and she flowed for seven days using 4-5 pads/day. Never had pain with periods. Had tonsillectomy September 1944 and was in hospital for 10 days and again in November for 10 days. The last time she was in hospital, she had Vincent's Angina [trench mouth]. September period was the first one that was different. Had period last two weeks. This period came earlier than it should, three weeks instead of four weeks. Bled more than normal each day of this period, but did not go to bed and didn't report sick. No pain with this period. There were some clots at this time." She had endometrial surgery. "December 21, 1944: 1530 hours: Patient's condition seemed not as good with slight cyanosis of lips and occasional tremour of mandible. No complaint of chill. Blood transfusion discontinued on the possibility that this might be a transfusion reaction. Intravenous continued. 1630 hours: Patient slight nauseated. Complaining of back ache and headache. No abdominal pain. Abdomen soft. Patient responds to questioning but is not bright. Condition is slightly improved. 1900 hours: Resting quietly. Condition about the same. Pulse becomes faster when patient is disturbed. 1940 hours: Patient became very restless and complained of sharp generalized abdominal pain, described as crampy and was all over. Later, patient said it came on suddenly. Did not have any particular radiation. Abdomen tender all over with fairly marked muscle guarding. 1945 hours: Intravenous started to run interstitially; discontinued. Oxygen by nasal catheter started immediately. Pulse weak and very rapid. 1955 hours: Condition rapidly deteriorating. 2015 hours: Ceased to breath."
On January 2, 1945, an autopsy was performed. Phyllis Trebble died of a pulmonary embolism with menorrhagia. She also had septicaemia streptococcus hemoliticus; "endometrium peeled off readily."
In the list of Phyllis's personal belongings: billfold with photos, postage stamps, clothing, make-up, glasses and case, toothbrush, railway ticket (Medicine Hat to Ottawa), Player's Mild cigarettes, cigarette holder, skates, a New Testament, a bathing suit, and a plastic locket without chain. These items were forwarded on January 22, 1945 by Canadian Pacific Express to Ottawa before they were later sent to Mrs. Trebble. The "Public Clothing and Equipment" were secured and returned to the Quartermaster Store, No. 113 Depot, CWAC. "There were no deficiencies."
The total cost of Pte Phyllis Margaret Trebble's funeral was $301.50. This included casket, outside case, engraved plate, preservation, hearse services, service car, minnister's car, personal services, grave marker, plot and opening, and extra for men on Sunday.
Mrs. Trebble wrote to the Department of National Defence on September 15, 1945: "I am very sorry but I did not know the Dept. would provide a memorial for her grave, therefore I had one erected with her number, name, and the branch of the service she was in."
Roy Trebble (1922-1989), a WWII veteran with the RCAF, married Emelie Anton. They had one son, Douglas, and named their daughter, Phyllis.
In 1947, Thurza Trebble married William Cullen Bryant. They are buried in the Medicine Hat Cemetery, with Phyllis buried near her father.