Asleep in the Deep

Asleep in the Deep

NOVEMBER 4 VIRTUAL Presentation,
7 pm, Thursday, November 4, 2021, VIA Zoom

Contact us for the ZOOM Link at

The tragic story of First World War nursing sister Anna Stamers, who died in the 1918 sinking of the HMHS Llandovery Castle, will be the focus of the next presentation in the York Sunbury Historical Society’s virtual speaker series, featuring historian Dianne Kelly.

This LIVE event is FREE and will be held via ZOOM at 7 pm on Thursday, November 4, 2021. The presentation will be recorded and made available online after the event.

Dianne Kelly (nee Christensen) holds a BBA, MBA and BA (Honours) in History from the UNB, the latter completed upon her retirement from the NB civil service where she held numerous positions including Chief Firearms Officer, Chief Coroner and Director of Consumer Affairs. Kelly received the Malleson Prize in Imperial and Commonwealth Military History for her essay on the sinking of the hospital ship, HMHS Llandovery Castle. Inspired by her studies and trips to First and Second World War battlefields in Europe, she became interested in the story of Nursing Sister Anna Stamers, who died with other nursing sisters on the HMHS Llandovery Castle.

In October, 2021, Goose Lane Editions and UNB’s Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society published Kelly’s book, “Asleep in the Deep, Nursing Sister Anna Stamers and the First World War”. The official launch will be held at Provincial Archives on the UNB campus, at 7 pm, Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

On June 27, 1918, the HMHS Llandovery Castle, a Canadian hospital ship returning to England, was sunk by a German U-boat in contravention of the Geneva Convention. Two hundred and thirty-four crew members died, including 14 nursing sisters. It was the most significant Canadian naval disaster of the First World War. Anna Stamers, a 30 year-old nursing sister from Saint John, was on board. Anna signed up to serve in June 1915 and before her assignment to the HMHS Llandovery Castle, she served at three Canadian general hospitals. Her longest period of service was with the No. 1 Canadian General Hospital in Étaples, France.

The book explores Stamers’s childhood and nursing education in Saint John, her decision to enlist, her assignments as a military nurse and the details and aftermath of the sinking of the HMHS Llandovery Castle. The reconstruction of Stamers’s life illuminates one young woman’s experience of war and the role Canadian nursing sisters played during the First World War.

While Anna is the focus of the story, the voices of other Canadian nurses describe the living and working conditions and the demands for care coming from the battlefields. More than 2,800 Canadian women served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) in the First World War. The book includes an index of 165 nursing sisters with an NB, including a number who served at the same hospitals as Anna. Canada’s nursing sisters were commemorated following the war and continue to be remembered for their coolness, courage and skill in providing care for the sick and wounded.

Contact us for the ZOOM Link at

For further information, please contact:

Melynda Jarratt, Executive Director, Fredericton Region Museum
York Sunbury Historical Society & Fredericton Region Museum
Tel: (506) 455-6041