Polk County

Kossuth County

 

Lt. Marjorie Gertrude Morrow

 

Source: Des Moines Tribune, Feb. 14, 1944 (above photo)

Algona Nurse of WWII to be Honored Wednesday

By Mrs. Harlan Sigsbee, Globe-Gazette Correspondent

ALGONA—Among the service men and women remembered here on Memorial Day is a former Algona girl, Marjorie Gertrude Morrow, only Iowa nurse to lose her life in an enemy attack overseas during World War II.

Miss Morrow was honored recently as a “Career Nurse” by the Iowa Methodist Hospital News magazine Several inquiries about her had been made previously. The information about her early life was hard to obtain. Her brother, Ralph, in Illinois is the last of her family. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Morrow, former well known Algona farmers, are dead. A sister, Helen, died recently in California.

Marjorie, known as Gertrude here, was born near Algona in 1916. She attended school here until 1932 when the family moved to Des Moines. She was graduated from Roosevelt High School there in 1933 and from Iowa Methodist School of Nursing in 1938.

Miss Morrow enlisted in the Army Nurses’ Corps at Ames in 1942. In April 1943 she was sent overseas with the 95th Evacuation Hospital Unit. Nine days later this unit of 30 officers and 120 enlisted men landed at Casablanca, North Africa, where they set up their first hospital tent city.

They were shuffled from place to place and finally wound up at Bizerette, North Africa, where they awaited the invasion of Italy. Aboard the hospital ship Newfoundland, they crossed the Mediterranean to Salerno. Unable to land because of air raids and heavy bombing, they were sent 30 miles out to sea. When a plane bombed the ship, sinking it, they manned life boats and eventually were rescued by the hospital ship St. Andrew and taken back to Bizerette.

They were given new supplies and clothing and put on L.C.L.’s to cross the rough Mediterranean to Paestion, Italy. Many casualties awaited them. In three days they were moved to Naples where they boarded L.C.L.’s for the invasion of Anzio.

At Anzio there were continuous air raids, with many casualties, and hard work with only occasional times of rest in foxholes.

On the morning of Feb. 7, 1944, Miss Morrow and her companions received the first mail in a month. At 3:30 that day a German plan bombed the hospital, killing 27 and wounding many others. Miss Morrow was hit and died from her wounds that night.

She is buried in the American Military Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy. Her father received posthumously for her the Purple Heart Medal and the Red Cross Medal.

The magazine article concludes, “Marjorie Gertrude Morrow will always be claimed as the hospital’s own heroine of World War II.”

The new library at Iowa Methodist School of Nursing, Des Moines, has been named for 2nd Lt. Marjorie Gertrude Morrow. The announcement was made Saturday night at the annual reunion of Iowa Methodist Nurses’ Alumni Association.

The new library contains more than 1,200 volumes and many bound journals. A memorial plaque to Lt. Morrow is in the library.

Source: The Mason City Globe-Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) - Mon. May 28, 1962 - Page 15


Photo of Lt. Marjorie Gertrude Morrow, page 59

Text from pages 194 & 195--The 95th was bombed. Your friend, Gertrude, is critically wounded. The doctors don’t think she’ll survive. Later that night she died. Avis said, “I wanted to cry, but the hurt was so deep, tears would not come. I was numb and did not want to believe what I heard. Sweet, gentle Gertrude was helpful and kind when I was a freshman in nurses’ training. I looked to her for guidance even in the war. She survived the bombing at Salerno and I prayed for her at Anzio."

Source: “A Half Acre of Hell”—A Combat Nurse in WW II - Avis D. Schorer (Author of the book)

Marjorie Gertrude “Gert” Morrow was born May 17, 1916 to Merrill Martin and Mary Bessie “Bess” White Morrow. She died Feb. 7, 1944 and is buried in Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial, Nettuno, Italy.

Lt. Morrow served with the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in World War II. She was KIA at the 95th Evacuation Hospital on the Anzio beachhead.

In 1962 The Marjorie Gertrude Morrow Memorial Library at the Iowa Methodist School of Nursing was named in honor of 2d Lt. Marjorie Morrow, ANC, who was one of three nurses of the 95th Evacuation Hospital killed during a bombing raid on Anzio beachhead in Italy on 7 February 1944.

Memorial Biography of Marjorie Gertrude Morrow at the Iowa Methodist Hospital School of Nursing, Des Moines, Iowa
"Miss Morrow volunteered for duty in the Army Nurses Corps in 1942 and trained at Fort Francis E. Warren in Wyoming. In April 1943 she was sent overseas with the 95th Evacuation Hospital Unit. Nine days later this unit of 30 nurses, 30 officers and 120 enlisted men landed at Casablanca, North Africa, where they set up their first hospital. Later they moved to Brizerette, North Africa to await the invasion of Italy.

Aboard the Hospital Ship Newfoundland, they crossed the Mediterranean to Salerno, Italy. Unable to land because of air raids and heavy bombing, they were sent 30 miles out to sea, when a plane bombed the ship, sinking it. They manned life boats and eventually the survivors were rescued by the Hospital Ship St. Andrews and taken back to Brizerette, North Africa.

The unit was given new supplies and clothing and put on L.C.I.'s to cross again the rough Mediterranean to Paestion, italy. Three days later the unit moved to Naples where they boarded L.C.I's for the invasion of Italy.

Lieutenant Morrow's days at Anzio were filled with continuing air raids and hard work with many casualties, and only occasional times for rest in foxholes. On the morning of February 7, 1944, she and her companions received their first mail in a month."

(Bio by: Chuck Rodekohr)