In Those Splendid Girls, author Katherine Dewar combines her love of history and knowledge of nursing to redress a 100-year-old wrong: the absence in the historical narratives of both Prince Edward Island and of Canada, of nurses’ experiences in the Great War. Told through the stories of Island nurses, their experiences of mud, blood and courage reflect those of women from all provinces who served amid the horrors of WW I. Dewar identifies at least 115 Island women who answered the call to war, many of whose names have not been known until now. Granted rare access to private diaries and fragile photo albums tucked away in dusty attics, she pieces together their stories of hospitals, bombings, fear and friendships to provide this powerful new account of the war.
Born in Summerside, P.E.I., Katherine Dewar attended Prince of Wales College before graduating from the Prince County Hospital School of Nursing, University of Prince Edward Island and St . Francis Xavier University.
She taught nursing for 22 years at the P.E.I. School of Nursing and served on several national committees of the CNATS (Canadian Nurses Association Testing Service). She was actively involved in the P.E.I. Nurses Association serving on its executive plus chairing many committees.
Upon her retirement, Katherine researched and published articles on Prince Edward Island history. As well, she prepared a genealogy of her family, and co-authored with Wayne Wright the book This Caring Place, the history of the Prince County Hospital and School of Nursing. Most recently her research is focused on these Island women who served in the Great War, and whose stories have not been told until now.
Katherine has received several heritage awards for research and writing, most recently The PEI Museum and Heritage Award of Honour, given for an outstanding contribution to the heritage of P.E.I. over a long period of time.
Along with researching, writing, and painting, Katherine is a social and environmental activist. She lives in Charlottetown, P.E.I.