SPARKS Letitia (Etta) – Canadian Army Nursing Service
Letitia Sparks was born in Ottawa, Canada on 25th May 1879, the daughter of Mr and Mrs John Sparks. Known as Etta, she trained as a nurse at Hartford, Connecticut, USA, remaining in the USA after she graduated until the Spring of 1915 when she returned to live with her parents at Britannia on the Bay, Ontario, Canada where joined a Kingston Medical Unit as a nurse.
On 5th May 1915 Etta enlisted as a Nursing Sister with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force at Kingston, Ontario. On her attestation form she is described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall with brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. The following day on 5th May 1915 she sailed from Canada bound for England and onward to France where she arrived on 25th May 1915. After 2 months working at No 1 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples she returned to England on 29th July 1915 before proceeding to the Dardanelles on 31st July 1915. Leaving Egypt on 11th April 1916, she returned for nursing duty in France, serving at various Casualty Clearing Stations and hospitals in and around Le Treport.
She was admitted to hospital at Rouen, France on 29th July 1917 with Malignancy of Breast and transferred to Queen Alexandra’s Military Hospital, Millbank, London the following day. The malignancy was found to be inoperable with the medical board of the opinion that she was not well enough to be invalided home to Canada. On 8th August 1917 Etta was transferred to the Kitchener Hospital at Brighton where she died of carcinoma of the breast at 02.30 on 20th August 1917. She was buried in Brighton City (Bear Road) Cemetery, Sussex, England, Grave ZIY. 95.
In her will she requested that her estate pay debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, pay Beechwood Cemetery Company a sum sufficient to ensure the perpetual care and maintenance of her cemetery plot and the residue to be paid to her mother. In the event of her mother predeceasing her, the residue of her estate was to be divided equally between The Methodist Church at Britannia, The County of Carleton General protestant Hospital, and the Protestant Orphans home of Ottawa.