Medals and Memories of a Clare Heroine

Clare Champion, Friday, February 9, 2001

The medals won by a Clare-born nurse who became a heroine of the Second World War will be mounted on a special case in the new county museum, thanks to the generosity of her niece.

Born in Mountshannon on March 25th, 1904, Josephine Margaret Canny was one of eight children of RIC Constable, Thomas Canny, and his wife, Kate Allen. Although the family moved to Roundfort in Mayo when Josie was five years old, she never forgot her Clare roots and, in later years, often entertained her niece Teresa Carter and other relatives with stories of her early childhood in the Banner county.

At age nineteen, Josie went to Melbourne to study nursing and later stayed on in the city to enlist in the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps, eventually attaining the rank of Major.

Following the outbreak of World War II, she was posted to Sierra Leone, Alexandria and later Cairo. She also made her mark as a heroine of the conflict. King George VI awarded her the Royal Red Cross medal, first class and she also received the Alexandra Military Nursing Service medal, the Italy Star, the Africa Star and the 1939-'45 star.

Now, Teresa is hoping that Clare people will have an opportunity to appreciate what she achieved when they view medals in the county museum.

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