Alice Phillips Rick - World War I Nurse




In 1918 Alice Phillips boarded a ship with other Red Cross nurses and thousands of soldiers bound for the fighting in France.  It was the time of the deadly influenza pandemic that struck 20% of the global population, killing over 50,000 people.  Some of the soldiers on Alice’s ship fell ill and died, despite her best efforts to nurse them back to health.  Upon her arrival Alice was put to work immediately in a field hospital in Rimancourt, France.  With mustard gas claiming more victims than war injuries, Alice and her fellow nurses worked valiantly in a building without windows in the middle of winter.  The work was challenging, but a few bright spots lightened the demands.  On a furlough to Paris, Alice and some of the nurses were invited to a dance which was attended by the Army top brass, including Gen. John J. Pershing.  The general surveyed the nurses with a critical eye... then asked Alice to dance with him.

JoAnne P. Miller

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