Our Illawarra ANZAC Angels – Our Nurses in WWW1

Under Construction

Illawarras Own ANZAC Angels

There is a comprehensive site on Australian Nurses in WW1 , not to mention Women in WW1 – Lady Rachel Dudley’s Australian Voluntary Hospitals (more), AWM page on Nurses (more)  –  Casualty Clearance – and the Hunter Valley Nurses in WW1 have been documented on-line . There’s now a Facebook group commemorating WW1 Australian and New Zealand Nurses and an Australian Government page on Nurses at Gallipoli. Also Through These Lines – Looking for the Evidence – Hospital Ships and Wikipedia – Hospital Ships – Australian Hospitals – Australian Army Medical Units in WW1 – State Records NSW – The Other ANZACS

There were also Red Cross VAD’s Volunteer Aid Detachments – some of whom served as Nursing Members.

But what of the Illawarra Nurses who served overseas in WW1 ?  Who were they ? Where did they serve and in what capacity ?

Several have been included in the Illawarra Remembers site and a number of stories are in Trove. At least two are believed to have been Matrons on Hospital Ships, including Alice Mary Cooper who was Matron on the No.1 Australian Hospital Ship Karoola from 1915 – 1919.

Who were our own Illawarra  ANZAC Angels – Illawarra Nurses in WW1 ? We had identified 20, and Illawarra Military Historian Terry Bugg’s research has indicated another 14 possible names, making approximately 35 so far identified …

  • Florence Mary AuldDetail – ADFA – Service Record – mentioned on Woonona Public School Honour Roll which is located in the Woonona Bulli RSL Sub Branch Room
  • Hallie May Bell – accompanied troops on the HMS Medic in December 1918
  • Jessie MacDonald Baxter – served in Egypt, Salonika, Western Front – awarded Royal Red Cross Second Class for Service in Egypt – detail – does not show her birth as being in Wollongong but in the local newspaper articles she is described as Wollongong-born. 1917 Sunday Mail News Story. In 1920 she married Dr Donald Clark and they assisted many refugees in Salonika in the 1920’s.
  • Senior Sister later Matron Emily Gertrude Browne – detail – AANS entry photo – group photo in Alexandra Hospital in India – enlisted in 1916 – embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board R.M.S. Kashgar (image) on 2 September 1916 (ADFA) – appears to have served mainly in India from 1916  to 1919  – Matron of the hospital ship ‘Varela,’ operating in Persian Gulf waters – awarded Royal Red Cross Medal 2nd Class  – more – for service in India (Official record AWM27 373/25– Commonwealth Gazette of Australia – No. 75 17th June 1919.  Information on AANS in outposts like India – CWGC on India where the Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Service had its origins. AWM Awards entry. Women Who Served entry.  Returned to Australia in late 1919. For seven years  Sister Browne was on the staff of the Fraser Memorial Hospital in Ceylon. In 1936 she was reappointed to Randwick Military Hospital, where she served until the mid 1940’s.
  • Vera Burling – VAD nurse ?
  • Muriel Campbell – VAD Nurse ?
  • Miss Campbell – Commandant of VAD Nurses
  • (Magaret Jane Canvin ??)
  • Ida Mary Carruthers
  • Dorothy Gwendoline Cawood – one of only 5 Australian nurses to be awarded the Military Medal in WW1 – (others included Alice Ross-King and Rachel Pratt)
  • Miss M Cochrane – VAD Nurse
  • Alice Mary Cooperdetail – AANS Entry – enlisted in 1915 – Matron on No. 1 Australian Hospital Ship Karoola 1915 – 1919  – Images – Ship – Stretcher Case –  Mess  – 1916 – Souvenir Card (1) – November 1917 – January 1918  – Ship Colour PatchLife boat Drill – was initially used a troop ship (more)  and by 1916 was also used a Hospital Ship after being outfitted in Southampton – Wollongong’s John Harold Lindoy was one of the wounded soldiers he returned to Australia on the Karoola in 1916. Alice was awarded Royal Red Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class. Returned to Australia on the H.S. Karoola in 1919. A letter from Matron Cooper :


Miss Essie Hutchinson, hon. secretary of the Windsor branch of the Red Cross Sociely,   has received the following acknowledgments   for goods sent from this branch: —  

No. 1 Australian Hospital Ship,

Australian Imperial Forces, December 23rd, 1915.      

Dear Madam, — The generous donation from your society duly reached us and is now on board our hospital ship, “Karoola.” The   thoughtfulness of you and your fellow workers is very much appreciated, and the gifts will provide great comfort for the wounded soldiers under our care. I personally feel very grateful to you all, and wish to offer you the hearty thanks of our staff.

Yours sincerely          

(Signed) ALICE M. COOPER, Matron,

No. 1 Australian Hospital ship “Karoola.”    

No. 1 Australian Hospital Ship,”

  • Sarah Delaine Demestre
  • Elizabeth Lily  “Lil” Dewe (1883 – 1974) – very few details on her Discovering ANZACS record other than “Miss Elizabeth Lily Dewe” returned on the Orsova in 1919 – no ADFA WW1 entry- attended Woonona Public School and is listed as “L. Dew Nurse” on the Woonona Public School Honour Roll now in the Woonona Bulli RSL Sub Branch Room. She has an entry on Looking for Evidence site which links to a Red Cross Nurse VAD entry with references to Australia, New Zealand and England – and an additional similar entry which states that she was transferred to the Australian Imperial Defence in January 1919, having served in England since 1917.  (Note – there was a Mr E Dew in Wollongong in July 1913 and her brother James Dew enlisted in the AIF in 1916 and was born in Southend – Bulli about 1880 his wife Sarah Ann Dew was listed as his next of kin) .
  • Margurerite Evelyn Rita Fuller – served in Egypt and France
  • Kate Isobel GallenShellharbour ANZACS – training completed 1911
  • Matron Hayes – served with VAD nurses treating patients of Influenza in Wollongong
  • Ellen Ethel Jean Hedderman who trained at Wollongong Hospital and became Matron at Barraba Hospital, was awarded the Royal Red Cross – detail – she nursed at the Temporary Hospital in Wollongong during the Influenza crisis in 1919 – ADFA entry
  • Alfreda Estelle “Freda” Hewlett – served in France – detail
  • “James” Sisters – VAD Red Cross Nurses in WW1 – James girls of Dunmore Eva, Miriam & Beatrice (Shellharbour Local History).
  • Agnes Alexina McRae Jolly – had been Nurse in Charge at Bulli Hospital 1914-1915 when she enlisted 26 April 1915 (although her address was given as Balmain on ADFA entry)  – Service Record –  detail  – Illawarra Remembers – was a nurse at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney after WW1 (1930 & 1936) – died  July 20 1952
  • Nollie Leake ??? – awarded Royal Red Cross 2nd Class & Mentioned in Despatches – her brother was an acting postmaster in the Illawarra however she appears to have been in Orange and Sydney.
  • Sister Amy Holloway Matthews of Berry Hospital enlisted in July 1915 – Hunter Valley Nurses
  • Rose McAnen / Mary McAnene ? – served in England
  • Jane McClelland
  • Ellen McClelland – served in a hospital in Egypt in 1915 – Illawarra Mercury August 10 1915 – she was from Kempsey and may have been living with her family in Kembla St Wollongong at the time she enlisted as her brother Robert John McClelland had been a Mechanical Engineer (living in Wollongong when he enlisted in 1914 – died Gallipoli 26 April 1915) – detail – ADFA – perhaps one of the longest serving Illawarra nurses in WW1
  • Maria Alexandra Myra McClelland
  • Lilian Mitchell of Bellambi – had been a Sister at South Sydney Hospital not included in National Archives Records for AIF Service – had travelled to London to work in a military hospital after offerering her services, left on the Medina in 1915, and worked at Maida Vale Hospital and at the Weir Hospital Balham Hospital London – South Coast Times & Wollongong Argus November 26 1915 – note a number of Australian soldiers died in Maida Vale Hospital after being “invalided there” from the Front in the WW1 years – listed on both Woonona and Corrimal Public School Honour Rolls – Woonona’s is in the Woonona Bulli RSL Sub Branch Room
  • Sister Pearl Musgrave – served at Abbasia Hospital near Cairo Egypt – detail
  • Emily Rebecca Mary “Millie” Parsons (Illawarra Remembers) 
  • Elsie Marion Richardson (nee Hull ?) – did VAD Nursing in London during WW1 years, after returning to Australia she died suddenly in 1918, leaving a child of 8 weeks according to the South Coast Times & Wollongong Argus September 27 1918 – probate
  • Daisy Richmond ARRC was one of the WW1 nurses of whom Peter Rees wrote in his 2008 book, “The Other ANZACS – The Extraordinary Story of Word War I Nurses” (Allen and Unwin 2008, 2009); which was also published in 2014 under the title “ANZAC Girls – The Extraordinary Story of Word War I Nurses” (Allen and Unwin 2014). Daisy had been in the Bush Nursing Service before WW1. During early days in the War she served on the Guildford Castle, when they disembarked wounded from Gallipoli on May 4 1915 – and then at the rescue of survivors of the torpedoed HMS Goliath on May 9 1915, and was later on the Neuralia in the Dardanelles in May – September  1915, when many wounded were collected from Cape Helles for transport to Lemnos. In July she was aboard the Neuralia with wounded soldiers when it came under fire. In September 1915 she was on the Neuralia when it rescued survivors of the torpedoed Southland. She had grown up in Burwood and attended the Methodist Ladies College ( Peter Rees – ANZAC Girls p 6).On her return she was never to marry , becoming Matron of Wollongong Hospital after the war, and serving first as a hospital matron in Hobart. She had served on a hospital ship at Gallipoli, and later in France. Later she served with the NSW Bush Nursing Association including at Bargo on the Nepean Dam in the early 1930’s, where she was also Inspector and Organiser. In 1964 she was awarded an MBE, and never having married, she willed home to the Anglican Chesalon Homes – she died in 1969.
  • Alice Thompson (later wife of Dr Theo Allen) – awarded Medal for Military Merit Fourth Class – conferred by the  King of the Hellenes – passed away June 6 1922 at Dunedoo – buried in Wollongong – Illawarra Remembersdetail
  • Miss H Vidal – VAD Nurse
  • Muriel Leontine Wakeford (Illawarra Remembers) – detail – Illawarra Mercury story 2013 – Lemnos Gallipoli blog – BirdeeMag
  • Bertha Watson Wallace
  • Bessie Stuart Wallace – a staff nurse with Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve and not with the AIF nurses – detail  – served in Egypt in the 19th General Hospital where she married a New Zealand born – English resident doctor Captain Philip Seston (Leston) Vickerman January 26 1916  – Service Record – QAIMNS mention – they appear to have lived in Hong Kong and Buenos Aires before they moved to Scotland to retire – she died in 1953 at Stranraer, Wigtonshire Scotland following her husband’s 1949 death in Dumfries in 1949 (photos on Ancestry)
  • Dora Ellenor Warringtondetail – Service Record – embarking overseas in October 1918, her overseas services was very short – in 1920 opened or operated a hospital in St John’s Rd Glebe, Sydney ie Ayshleigh Private Hospital with Katie Rees, Dora left this in 1923-  married James Foote Maxwell – returned to Nursing sometime after his death in 1933 in Perth Western Australia, travelled to England in 1935, visited Australia in 1945, while serving in Queen Alexandra Nursing Service in WW2, was living in London till 1952 when she returned to Sydney and continued nursing – died 1979 in NSW.
  • Carrie Bowden Whittingham – served in Egypt and France – ADFA Service Record

Note – Sara Stella Francis – detail,  Ida Grace Francis – detail & Ruth Francis – all nurses in WW1, were nieces of Mr C Puckey and Mr W J Spence were also reported in the Illawarra Mercury  June 1 1917 – but were not actually of the Illawarra.





1 Response to Our Illawarra ANZAC Angels – Our Nurses in WWW1

  1. Michael Hedderman says:

    Good Afternoon
    My name is Michael Hedderman and Ellen Hedderman was my Great Aunt. I am keen to locate any photographs of her, as all connections with the family have long since passed away. I was privileged to attend the 2015 Anzac march in Uralla NSW and meet the present owners of the family home.
    Any help you can provide would be much appreciated.
    Kind regards
    Michael Hedderman
    26 Maud St Benalla 3672

    Ellen Ethel Jane HEDDERMAN
    Religion Church of England
    Occupation Nurse
    Address Uralla, New South Wales
    Marital status Single
    Age at embarkation 30
    Next of kin Mother, Mrs J Hedderman, Ennismore, Uralla, New South Wales
    Enlistment date 15 June 1917
    Rank on enlistment Staff Nurse
    Unit name Nurses (July 1915 – November 1918)
    Embarkation details Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board RMS Somali on 30 June 1917
    Rank from Nominal Roll Staff Nurse
    Unit from Nominal Roll Australian Army Nursing Service
    Fate Returned to Australia 21 April 1919

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