Catherine Sarah Elizabeth Pierce was born on 4 January 1877 to John Pierce, a cooper, and Eliza. She had two sisters, Eliza (1875) and Edith (1879). The family lived at 3 Bryn Draw Terrace, Wrexham.
Catherine trained at Manchester Royal Infirmary from 1909 to 1912. On the 8 August 1914 she joined the Territorial Force Nursing Service at the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester. On the 10 May 1915 she passed her medical to serve abroad and by July 1916 was serving as a Staff Nurse at No. 8 General Hospital in Rouen, France.
In July 1917 Catherine was promoted to rank of Sister after a report showed that she was of ‘good professional ability, very energetic and trustworthy, her general influence and moral qualifications were excellent’
In May 1918 Catherine completed a 3 months course of instruction in the administration of anaesthetics at No 24 General Hospital, France and was certified as competent to serve as an anaesthetist. The certificate stated she had performed 1,000 anaesthetics in the 3 months of her training. In December 1918, Catherine contracted influenza and was sent home for 3 weeks to recuperate. However, she was soon back on duty in France. Eventually, on the 25 April 1919 Catherine returned home from France having served as a theatres sister, anaesthetist and surgical ward nurse at Casualty Clearing Stations and Base Hospitals. She is recorded as living at 16 Oswald Road, Oswestry.
Following a testimonial from the Matron in Chief, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross by the King for her nursing services in France. Catherine wrote to Miss Riddle (Matron in Chief) thanking her for the testimonial saying ‘I shall always look back upon my service in the army as a very happy time in spite of sad sights, hard work and atrocious times away, air raids and shelling with many helpless boys about’
On returning home Catherine worked at Lady Forester Hospital, Much Wenlock, Shropshire until October 1919 when she was appointed Nursing Sister at the Government fever Hospital, Abbasi, Cairo, Egypt. In 1921 she was promoted to Matron.
In 1928 she returned to Oswestry, living at 8 Wat’s Drive. After attending a compulsory course in Military Nursing at the QA Hospital in London she accepted a post as matron at the University of Liverpool, 12th (2nd Western) General Hospital and continued to serve there until retiring in 1939 at the age of 60.
She moved to Rosemary Cottage, Deganwy Caernarvonshire and died on 1 September 1965.
Sources: Llangollen Advertiser, www.scarletfinders.co.uk, www.kumc.edu,