During World War Two Archibald McIndoe, a pioneering plastic surgeon, treated burnt airman at the Queen Victoria Hospital(Q.V.H.) East Grinstead. Working alongside him was an equally talented Canadian plastic surgeon, Group Captain Albert Ross Tilley. He persuaded the Government to fund the building of a Wing at the Q.V.H. for the many Royal Canadian Air Force injured fliers. The Canadian Wing opened in 1944. It had 50 beds and had a staff of over 50 people including orderlies, nurses and clerks. Marjorie Jackson became Matron in the Canadian Wing in 1944, she was deeply respected and loved by her patients and staff in the Wing.
The injured airmen who passed through McIndoe’s operating theatre became known as his ‘Guinea Pigs’. In 1941 they went on the form the Guinea Pig Club as a social support group, one of the first of its kind.
Captain Tilley depended on the caring and generous Matron Jackson for the care of the Guinea Pigs. Jackson’s remit extended beyond medical care of the men as she remembers,
“….. we went out socially with them and got them out as soon as we could, going down the pub into the town. We worked very hard in the psychological aspects.”
Matron Jackson and Ross Tilley with the air raid siren given to Ross Tilley as a retirement present.
Canadian Nursing Sisters - "Angels of Mercy" - Matron Jackson is back row in the middle.
After the War
Marjorie returned to Canada after the war and took a course in Hotel Administration at McGill University, Montreal. In 1949 she was reported in the Guinea Pig Magazine as caring for her parents who had been in ill health for some time. She became Director of Nursing until her retirement in 1974. She died on 10th April 1998, aged 87.