Colonel Yvette Gussie Gordon MBE MR

Courtesy Desmond Awoonor-Gordon

Colonel Yvette Gussie Gordon MBE, MR (nee Spencer-Auber) is a retired nursing sister and the first Sierra Leonean female to enlist in the Sierra Leone Military Forces after Sierra Leone’s independence.

The then young Yvette Spencer-Auber studied for her Senior Cambridge Exam at Freetown Secondary School for Girls. She began nursing training at Redhill County Hospital in 1946 aged 18; and qualified as a State Registered Nurse, State Certified Midwife and Theatre Nurse by 1951.

Courtesy Desmond Awoonor-Gordon

On returning home she took up employment at Lunsar as a Hospital Manager of the new Marampa Mines Hospital. Sierra Leone Development Company, owners of Marampa Mines, sent her to study Hospital Administration in Scotland. On her return to Marampa, she established a Nurses Training School that gained recognition as a Registered Second Level Nursing Training School which earned her membership on the Nurses Board of Sierra Leone.

 

Courtesy Desmond Awoonor-Gordon

Yvette was part of the independence welcoming party, when the young Queen Elizabeth visited Sierra Leone and travelled to Marampa Mines. She was commissioned first as Lieutenant and on the same day, promoted to Captain. She became Matron in-charge of the 34th Military Hospital which was run by Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.

Captain Spencer-Auber travelled for further military training at Aldershot Military Training Centre in Hampshire and on her return promoted to Major. She married Richard Awoonor-Gordon an accountant in 1964.

In 1981, newly promoted Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon was part of the delegation of the late President Siaka Stevens, on a state visit to China. Retiring from the Sierra Leone Military Forces in 1986, Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon was promoted to full Colonel.

Courtesy Desmond Awoonor-Gordon

She retired to England. After a 3-month refresher course to re-register to practice nursing in England, she became a Midwife at Lewisham Hospital, where she had first worked in the early 50s.

She finally retired in 1997 and enjoys life with her children, Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren. She still travels worldwide. A few years ago, Yvette was blessed in celebrating her 90th birthday.

Courtesy Desmond Awoonor-Gordon