Shirley McCorquodale Lyle graduated from Franklinville High School in Franklinville, North Carolina, and worked in a local mill office until entering the Virginia School of Nursing in Richmond in 1934. After graduating in 1937, Lyle worked at Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in Richmond for one year and then in the pediatrics ward of Cincinnati General Hospital in Ohio for one year.
On 26 December 1939, Lyle joined the Army Nurse Corps as a second lieutenant and went to Fort Benning, Georgia. She worked in the base hospital until March 1942, when she sailed to Australia with the 33rd Surgical Hospital on the Patrick Henry. They set up a hospital in Townsville, Australia, and then Lyle was sent to Mount Isa, in the Australian outback, to start another hospital. She also set up hospitals in Alice Springs, Cloncurry, and Rockhampton. Lyle was later stationed in Mindoro, Philippines, by way of Port Moresby and Dobodura, New Guinea. In July 1945, she contracted malaria and was flown to California after thirty-nine months overseas. After a few months of leave and rehabilitation and participation in a bond tour in Philadelphia, Lyle was assigned to Fort Meade, Maryland.
In 1949, Lyle was again stationed overseas, at the 130th Station Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany. During her three year tour there, she was promoted to major. In 1952 she was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where she met Jim Lyle, an army officer in Darby’s Rangers. Lyle was later assigned to Fort Monroe, Virginia, while Jim served in Austria and Italy. In the fall of 1955, Shirley and Jim Lyle were married in Germany, and in December, she was able to join him in Italy. In late 1957, the couple was assigned to Fort Benning. Lyle retired from the Army Nurse Corps on 1 January 1960. The Lyles lived briefly in San Francisco but moved to Raleigh when Jim retired from the army in 1965.