February 18, 1910 - December 30, 1945
Gladys Helen Fitzgerald was born on February 18, 1910 to James Lawrence and Amy Oates Fitzgerald in Foxmead, Ontario, near Orillia. She had five sisters, including Florence, Marguerite, and Elizabeth. She had two brothers: Walter and Charles. Charles died in 1919 of gas poisoning during WWI. She was the youngest. The family resided in Belleville, Ontario.
She attended the Collegiate Institute, Orillia, Ontario from 1923 to 1926 where she took her matriculation. From 1927 to 1930, she was at the General Hospital, Belleville, Ontario and became a Registered Nurse.
At enlistment, she stood 5'4" tall, weighing 124 pounds. She had an olive complexion, with brown eyes and black hair. She had an upper denture and a partial lower.
She was taken on strength at the Ottawa Military Hospital on May 3, 1943, after enlisting in Kingston, Ontario. She was then attached to the Kingston Military Hospital on August 26, 1943. She returned to Ottawa a few days later to the Rideau Military Hospital by September 1. She moved to the Cornwall Military Hospital September 13th until January 15, 1944, where she returned to the Rideau Military Hospital in Ottawa. She was authorized to have a Christmas leave prior. She travelled to Sussex and Windsor, Ontario, between January and April 1944.
In May 1944, she travelled to the United Kingdom and reported for duty at Leavesden Military Hospital. Throughout the summer of 1944, she moved to No. 1 Canadian General Hospital until she was admitted to that hospital in January 1945. She returned to Canada by July 1945 and reported for duty to the Rideau Military Hospital effective August 29, 1945. She was again admitted to hospital as a patient on November 8, 1945, discharged November 23, 1945, and granted five days leave for Christmas. She died at 2015 hours, December 30, 1945.
The coroner's report, dated December 30, 1945: "That the deceased was on duty until 3 pm December 30, 1945. She had been home on Christmas leave and returned for duty on December 27, 1945, complaining of hives. At about 4 pm, December 30, 1945, Captain Lowe gave her an intravenous injection of calcium gluconate. Apart from being slightly flushed, she felt alright afterwards and had a good supper. At about 8:15 pm, she walked into the room of Nursing Sister De Roches and stated that she felt terrible. She persuaded her to lie down and rang for help. On their return, they found Nursing Sister Fitzgerald unconscious. Major Conroy arrived a few minutes later and when he saw her, she was dead. Major Conroy stated that a year ago, she was admitted to Rideau Military Hospital suffering from a uretral calculus. In November 1945, she was again admitted suffering from oedma of the ankles and anorexia and after a thorough investigation, they decided the oedema was of a nutritional type. As the cause of death was not evident, I ordered....an autopsy. Dr. Lionel Dent found softening of the heart and some nephritis. I made a tentative diagnosis of myocarditis and issued an order for burial." She is buried in Belleville, Ontario in their cemetery.
In her dressing case, Lt. Fitzgerald had a silver dressing set, a Kodak camera, photos, letters, a purse, and many pieces of jewellry. In her trunk, more jewellry, clothes, a diary, a radio, and a braid of hair were noted. She also had a carton where she had toiletries, more clothes, 10 packs of cigarettes and playing cards, plus candy.
Lt. Fitzgerald was awarded the Africa Service Medal, the 1939-1945 Star, the Italy Star, the France Germany Star, the War Medal, CVSM and Clasp.