Tag Archives: Australian Army Nursing Service

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Catherine O’Connor

AANS 3-2

Nurse

Catherine (Katie) was born in 1870 in Kilmore, the daughter of Patrick O’Connor and Elizabeth Seymour. At birth she was registered as Kate Margaret but later was known as Catherine. After school she trained for three years in nursing at Melbourne Hospital obtaining her Melbourne Hospital Certificate and her Victorian Nursing Certificate . She then nursed as a sister in charge of medical and surgical wards at Melbourne Hospital.

Katie enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service at Melbourne on November 3, 1914 as a nurse with the 1st Australian General Hospital (AGH) and embarked in Melbourne on November 28, 1914, on the Kyarra taking the 1st AGH to Cario, via Alexandria.  Nurses with at least three years service at a recognised hospital and aged between 21 and 45 years could apply to serve overseas.  For some reason Katie lowered her age from 44 years to 37 years on enlistment.

Katie first served in Egypt at the Hellioplis Hotel, the base for the 1st AGH in Cario from early 1915 to April 1916. This hospital expanded rapidly during the Gallipoli campaign. Katie was promoted to Sister on December 1, 1915, and was transferred to the 1st AGM at Rouen, via Marseilles in France in April 1916.

In France, the 1st AGH was based at the racecourse at Rouen from 1916 to late 1918, west of the Western Front.  It is said that 90,000 casualties passed through its wards during this period.  Katie’s service record indicates that she was attached to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (ACCS) from April 1917 until November 1917. Stations such as this were established almost “in the front line”.  During this time Katie was also temporarily transferred for short periods to the 32nd CCS, 46th CCS,  and also spent leave in the UK, Paris and Trouville.  It is likely Katie held a senior position with the 1st AGH from November 1917.

Katie was mentioned in despatches on April 7, 1918, as confirmed in the Commonwealth Gazette of October 24, 1918. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) on January 1, 1919, as reported in the Commonwealth Gazette of May 23, 1919.

Katie left Rouen in November 1918 for England and returned to Melbourne on the Somali, arriving on February 8, 1919. She was welcomed home in Kilmore in early March. Her appointment was terminated on April 16, 1919. She was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star.

Katie died on July 30, 1949 in Melbourne and was buried in the Kilmore Catholic Cemetery where her headstone can be seen today. Her name is recorded on the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll in the Memorial Hall.

Nurse Katie O'Connor
Nurse Katie O’Connor

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 12 May 2015, p10

 

Advertisements

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Elizabeth Geoghegan

AANS 3-2

Nurse

Elizabeth was born in 1878 in Kilmore, the second daughter of Terence Joseph Geoghegan and Eliza Dargan. After school she trained for three years in nursing at Melbourne Hospital obtaining her Melbourne Hospital Certificate and her Victorian Nursing Certificate. She then nursed as a sister in charge of medical and surgical wards at the Melbourne Hospital.

Elizabeth enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service at Melbourne on 28 November 1914 aged 36 years as a nurse with the 1st Australian General Hospital (AGH) and embarked in Melbourne on 5 December 1914, on the Kyarra taking the 1st AGH to Cairo, via Alexandria.

Elizabeth first served in Egypt at the Hellioplis Hotel, the base for the 1st AGH in Cario from early 1915 to April 1916. This hospital expanded rapidly during the Gallipoli campaign. Elizabeth was promoted to Sister on 1 December 1915, and was transferred to the 1st AGH at Rouen in France, via Marseilles in April 1916.

In France, the 1st AGH was based at the racecourse at Rouen from 1916 to late 1918, west of the Western Front. It is said that 90,000 casualties passed through its wards during this period. Elizabeth’s service record indicates that she was attached to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station from November 1916 until August 1917. Stations such as this were established almost “in the front line”. She was transferred for short periods to the 3rd AGH and 5th AGH and also spent leave in the UK, Paris and Trouville. It is likely Elizabeth held a senior position with the 1st AGH from August 1917.

Elizabeth was mentioned in dispatches on 7 November 1917 as confirmed in the Commonwealth Gazette of 18 April 1918. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) on 25 February 1918, as reported in the Commonwealth Gazette of 7 November 1918. She transferred to London for duty in late December 1918.

Elizabeth returned to Melbourne in late July 1919 on the Friedrichsruh as Sister in Charge. Her appointment was terminated on 7 December 1919. She was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and the 1914/15 Star.

In 1937 Elizabeth was one of 2,000 Australians who were awarded the Coronation Medal. At the time she was Matron of a Sanatorium in Mont Park. After World War Two she lived at Malvern and later moved to Perth where she died in 1970 aged 91 years.

Elizabeth Geoghegan 3-2
Elizabeth Geoghegan

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 7 April 2015, p13

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Ilma Georgianna May Toomath

AANS 3-2

Nurse

Ilma Georgianna May Toomath was born on 5 January 1876 in Kilmore, the daughter of the Rev Andrew Toomath and Emily Dobson. Her father was the Church of England minister at Kilmore 1873 to 1891; he died at Armadale in January 1914 aged 82 years.

In 1890 Ilma attended Tintern Ladies College and in 1892 she gained prizes for Music, Geography and History at Parkville Ladies College. After schooling Ilma trained as a nurse at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital for three years. She then nursed in Melbourne, including as Matron of the Foundling Hospital and Infants’ Home.

After joining the Australian Army Nursing Service, Ilma volunteered to serve overseas on 5 November 1917 at age 41 years. She departed Melbourne on the SS Indarra on 26 November 1917 and arrived in Bombay on 18 December 1917 where Ilma nursed at the Colaba War Hospital until July 1919. She then transferred to the 19th British General Hospital at Rawalpindi until 1 October 1919. In August Ilma spent 9 days on temporary duty with the British Ambulance Train “A”.

After spending 15 days in the Sisters Hospital in Bombay in October with paratyphoid, Ilma remained in Bombay until she embarked on 26 November 1919 on the SS Medic for Melbourne. Ilma was promoted to Sister on 26 November 1919 and was discharged from the Nursing Service on 3 May 1920. She was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and the 1914/15 Star.

Ilma continued nursing after the War and lived with her sister at Berwick, then at Norman Avenue, South Yarra. She retired in the late 1930s and lived with her sister Henrietta at Ferntree Gully. Ilma died on 4 April 1944.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 7 April 2015, p13

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Agnes May Semple

AANS 3

Nurse

Agnes May (May) Semple was born in 1879 in Kilmore to Dr William Henry Semple and Anne Devon. May trained at St Vincents Hospital in Melbourne. She enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service in May 1915 and served initially at the Military Hospital in Geelong until August 1916, then at No. 5 Australian General Hospital, St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

In January 1917 May embarked on the Omrah in Melbourne arriving in Plymouth, England on 27 March. She undertook nursing duties at Weymouth on the south coast and at Southall, London, before returning to Australia on the Llanstephen Castle in February 1918. May nursed the injured on board and arrived in Melbourne on 16 April 1918.

Nine months later Nurse Semple sailed from Sydney on the Wiltshire arriving in Suez on 11 December 1918. She nursed at the 31st and 27th General Hospitals in Abbassia, Egypt. May returned home on the troopship Ceramic in February 1919 and during the voyage performed nursing duties, including cases of influenza which caused the ship to be quarantined for several days off Geelong and Sydney.

Nurse Semple was discharged from the Australian Army Nursing Service on 9 May 1919, and was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. She carried on her nursing career and retained an interest in the welfare of 1914-1918 veterans.

May was admitted to Kew Hospital on 13 September 1954 and died on 24 September aged 74 years. Her burial service was held at Christ Church, Kilmore, and at the graveside was attended by many old friends and former service members of both World Wars and included the RSL Service. Her name is recorded on the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll and the Anglican Church Honour Roll.

Agnes May Semple-2
Nurse May Semple

 

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 9 December 2014, p6