Smellie, Elizabeth National Historic Person

Ottawa, Ontario
Portrait of Colonel Elizabeth Lawrie Smellie, C.B.E., R.R.C., L.L.D., in her official dress uniform; painted by Captain Kenneth Forbes, 1944. (© Canadian Museum of Civilization Collections, nchig02e.shtml)
(© Canadian Museum of Civilization Collections, nchig02e.shtml)
Address : 236 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 2011-07-19
Life Date: 1884 to 1968

Other Name(s):
  • Smellie, Elizabeth  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 2010-010

Importance: Enlisting as a Nursing Sister in 1914, she provided exemplary service and leadership throughout the First World War


COLONEL ELIZABETH SMELLIE (1884–1968) A remarkable leader who once resided here, this First World War military nurse and then Assistant Matron-in-Chief was awarded the Royal Red Cross (First Class) in 1917. As Matron-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Medical Corps during the Second World War, she was responsible for thousands of Army nurses, and assisted in the formation of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Navy nursing services and the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. Colonel Smellie retired in 1944, the first woman to hold this rank. She then guided the Victorian Order of Nurses through a changing healthcare system as Chief Superintendent until 1947.