April 1, 1902 - April 29, 1941
Jessie Margaret MacLeod was the youngest child of George and Ellen Ann (nee Sinnis) MacLeod. She had one brother, James, and one sister, Marion. They had lived in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, attending the United Church. Mr. MacLeod, a farmer, died in 1911 and Mrs. MacLeod died in 1921.
Jessie lived in Fox Brook, Nova Scotia for 22 years and then lived in Halifax for 17 years. From 1928 to 1940, she was employed as a Registered Nurse.
Jessie stood 5' 1 1/2" tall, weighing 118 pounds. She had brown hair and eyes and wore glasses. She had an appendectomy scar.
On April 22, 1940, a letter to the Air Officer Commanding, Easter Air Command, Halifax stated: The appointment of the above mentioned Nursing Sister to the RCAMC, CASF, RCAF and posting for duty to the RCAF Station Hospital, Dartmouth, is concurred in, effective June 1, 1940. She was struck off strength with the RCAMC on November 15, 1940, where she was immediately appointed to the RCAF Special Reserve.
She is noted as enlisting on May 25, 1940 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. By February 1, 1941, Jessie was commissioned in the Special Reserve, Royal Canadian Air Force with the rank of Nursing Sister. She required a chest x-ray examination which she was instructed to go to the RCAF Recruiting Centre, Navy League Building, 17 South Street, Halifax, NS. If her exam was successful, she was to report to RCAF Station, Dartmouth, NS on February 7, 1941. "With regard to uniform, no action is to be taken in this connection until such time as the pattern has been approved. In the meantime, the ordinary nurse's white uniform will suffice."
Nursing Sister MacLeod was admitted to the hospital as a bed patient to the Dartmouth Station Hospital on April 28, 1941, after having chills for three to four days prior. "Feeling extremely stupid. Didn't know what she was doing. Excruciating headache. Some rigidity of neck and spine. Throat inflamed with mucopurulent membranes not particularly adherent to tissues. Spinal Fluid: suspicious of being slightly turbid. Cell count increased. Smear of spinal fluid -- myriads of typical gram negative diplococci (meningococci). Some intracellular and profuse extracellular. 46 grams soluable daginen injected deeply into muscles of right buttock 1:45 am, 29/4/41. Emena." She was given another 45 grams of soluble daganen intravenously at 7:45 am.
On April 29, 1941, Nursing Sister Jessie MacLeod died of spinal meningitis at the Dartmouth RCAF Station Hospital. She was buried on the MacLeod home property, three miles from the town of Westville, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. Her brother, James, paid some of the funeral expenses.
James received a letter dated May 4 1941 from Air Vice Marshall Breadner. "Your sister was extremely popular and efficient and her loss is greatly deplored and keenly felt by all who served with her."
She served with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps for 168 days and then with the RCAF for 165 days.
In the inventory of personal clothing and property belonging to Nursing Sister MacLeod: a life insurance policy worth $1000, another worth $1170, and a Canada Life Retirement Annuity Bond, plus $375.04 in her Royal Bank of Canada account. She also had a manicure set, a reversible raincoat, purse with mirror and change purse, her hospital diplomas, cigarette lighter, a wrist watch, a ring, a watch bracelet, clothing, including two two-piece rose dresses, 14 aprons, 15 pairs of stockings, three veils, and four pairs cuffs. Her sister and brother split her estate equally. Her brother noted in a letter to the Department of Defence, Estates Branch on August 5, 1941: "I received all articles listed in good condition and thank you for your valuable service....My older sister, Marion (Mrs Bonner, of New York City), is almost a stranger to Jessie and myself as she had been away from home since her school days and I am going to try to get her to come to Kirkland Lake this summer and give her the half of all estate as directed by Jessie's will."