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Gallant girls under fire on the Western Front

 
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Sep 2008 6:21    Onderwerp: Gallant girls under fire on the Western Front Reageer met quote

WHITE headstones, row on row, dusted with the falling pink petals of cherry blossoms, stretch almost to infinity in the sad stillness of the St Sever cemetery extension near Rouen in the north of France.

Here lie 783 Australians in the third largest Australian military burial ground in the world. Uniquely among the hundreds of well-tended cemeteries that dot the landscape in this region, two of the graves are for Australian women.

The fighting fodder for the inhuman carnage that was World War I was exclusively male. No women could join the Australian Imperial Force. But behind the lines, often uncomfortably close to the shelling and gas warfare of no man's land, women worked as nurses and hospital aides.

Their role has been largely forgotten, submerged by the overwhelming male presence of both sides. But here, on a crisp spring morning, a small party of Australians stop beside the graves of Hilda Mary Knox of the Australian Army Nursing Service and Louisa Riggall of the Australian Red Cross to pay their respects and say g'day.

The two nurses are believed to be the only Australian female casualties of the war to be buried in France or Belgium. More than 48,000 men died here, 11,000 of whom have no known grave. Both nurses died while working in one of the many hospitals established in the Rouen region, a safe distance behind the lines.

Knox, the daughter of James and Isabella Knox of Benalla, Victoria, was 33 when she died on February 17, 1917, of an unspecified illness, possibly influenza. Her war records simply say she died of sickness. Her role is commemorated today at Benalla's civic gardens.

Less is known about Riggall, also of Victoria, who died of a haemorrhage -- probably cerebral -- on August 31, 1918, six weeks before the war ended in an armistice. As a member of the Red Cross, she was not included in military records.

Visiting St Sever are Loris Knight, of Perth, and Beryl Jackson, of Benalla, who have come to pay homage to others when military historian Graham Fleeton points out the nurses' graves. "It is such a peaceful setting," Knight says. "I just felt they were very safe there. They're not forgotten."

Among Knight's treasured possessions are letters sent to her husband's father from wounded soldiers who had received socks and other gifts from Victorian schoolchildren.

She recalls one that praises the work of the nurses looking after the wounded, saying: "It seems a good bit like home to have an Australian woman to talk to."

"As I stood there in remembrance in the cemetery I prayed that the Australian accents of Sister Knox and Sister Riggall gave true comfort to some Australian lad caught up in such a terrible war," she says.

The work of about 2500 women known to have served as nurses and aides between 1914 and 1918 also has been recalled in a book, Australian Women and War, by Melanie Oppenheimer and published by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Next week Allen & Unwin will release another book on the subject, The Other Anzacs: Nurses At War, 1914-1918, by Peter Rees.

Most of the women who volunteered to serve overseas were members of the Australian Army Nursing Service. About 130 were officially seconded to the British nursing service and a further group, probably also numbering about 2500, made their own way to the front and joined voluntary hospital groups.

Some were privately funded, with beer baron Robert Tooth a prominent backer.

Also outside the official military contingent were the Bluebirds, a group of 20 nurses organised by the Red Cross and financed by the Australian Jockey Club.

They took their names from the dark blue uniforms provided as a "gift to France" by Sydney retailer David Jones.

One of the Bluebirds was Ethel (Elsie) Cook, who had been drummed out of the AANS when the military brass discovered she was married. She was sent home in April 1916 but joined the Bluebirds and wassailing back to Europe within amonth.

The military officers treated the women as an unwanted distraction.

As a Bluebird, Cook and her party were not recognised by the military, even though they had been given medals by the French, and on their return to Australia were denied the war gratuity awarded to all who returned from the front. The press and the Returned and Services League took up their case, and the decision was eventually overturned.

Life near the front was confronting and harsh.

Narrelle Hobbes, attached to the British nursing service, wrote to her family: "When you see them brought in, stretcher after stretcher in that endless procession, you wonder if, when you see the next man's face, you will see one of your own friends. Dear heaven, it's awful, and every man or boy is someone's boy."

Hobbes later served in Malta, Sicily, India and Mesopotamia, where she became ill.

She died at sea as she was being repatriated to Australia in 1918.

Rose Kirkcaldie, also a member of the British service, wrote: "There are men with burns and flesh wounds beginning on the crown of their heads and finishing on the soles of their feet; men with limbs off; others, less fortunate, with limbs shattered beyond repair ... There were men shot through the abdomen, men shot through the chest; men scarred with ugly bayonet wounds; men with burns from bursting shells covering most of their bodies and limbs."

Although most of the hospitals were set up well behind the lines, many nurses worked in forward positions, often in emergency clearing stations where the wounds of men carried from the front were first assessed. Those requiring hospitalisation were then sent to places such as Rouen, and from there many were sent to England for surgery, recovery or rehabilitation.

The forward stations were dangerous places. Pearl Corkhill, from Tilba Tilba in NSW, was working at the British No38 clearing station when it was bombed by German aircraft during the battle of Passchendaele in July 1917.

She stayed at her post and, according to the citation accompanying her Military Medal, "continued to attend to the wounded without any consideration for her own safety, although enemy aircraft were overhead. Her example was of the greatest value in allaying the alarm of the patients."

The MM was a rare honour, but it appears one celebrated more by the men than by her. She wrote to her parents: "The commanding officer sent over a bottle of champagne and they all drank to my health."

Away from the front, women were also contributing mightily to the war effort. They took up jobs previously the domain of men, and many of those who didn't work knitted socks and vests for the men.

They also raised their political voice. While suffragettes chained themselves to railings demanding the vote in Britain and the US, the votes of Australian women -- already enfranchised since South Australia led the way in 1894 -- were sought by both sides in the two conscription campaigns that dominated the latter years of World War I. In both referendums, the pro-conscription forces lost narrowly, with women especially unwilling to consign their sons to death.

As Oppenheimer observes in Australian Women and War: "At war's end there was hardly an Australian family not touched. Many lives were changed forever. There were thousands of widows, children without fathers, families who had lost sons, brothers and cousins. Others had to deal with lifelong illnesses, physical and psychological scarring and permanent disfigurement."

Typical was Elsie Grant, from Emerald, Queensland, who served on the Western Front to be near her brother, Allan. After he was killed at Passchendaele, Grant returned to Australia, only to find her mother had died. She married and had four children, but a combination of undiagnosed post-natal depression, post-traumatic stress and the loss of her brother proved too much for her. She committed suicide in 1927, another victim of the war.

The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War; 1914-1918 by Peter Rees (Allen & Unwin, $49.95).

Australian Women and War by Melanie Openheimer ($49.95). Go to the online shop at: www.awm.gov.au

© http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24261876-31477,00.html
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patrick



Geregistreerd op: 17-2-2005
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BerichtGeplaatst: 03 Sep 2008 12:09    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The two nurses are believed to be the only Australian female casualties of the war to be buried in France or Belgium.

ahum hier nr 3

Edith Ann Moorhouse
Rank Sister
Unit Australian Army Nursing Service
Service Army
Conflict 1914-1918
Date of Death 24 November 1918
Cause of Death Died of sickness
Cemetery or Memorial Details FRANCE 1027 Lille Southern Cemetery
War Grave Register Notes MOORHOUSE, Sister Edith Ann. Australian Army Nursing Service. Died of sickness 24th Nov., 1918. Son of Frederick and Deborah Moorhouse. Born at Undera, Victoria, Australia. I. C. 25.
Source AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army

cooee
patrick
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Sep 2008 4:52    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Nog wat verdere informatie:
http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-nurses/ww1.htm
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arneken



Geregistreerd op: 28-6-2007
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Sep 2008 20:39    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

patrick @ 03 Sep 2008 13:09 schreef:
The two nurses are believed to be the only Australian female casualties of the war to be buried in France or Belgium.

ahum hier nr 3

Edith Ann Moorhouse
Rank Sister
Unit Australian Army Nursing Service
Service Army
Conflict 1914-1918
Date of Death 24 November 1918
Cause of Death Died of sickness
Cemetery or Memorial Details FRANCE 1027 Lille Southern Cemetery
War Grave Register Notes MOORHOUSE, Sister Edith Ann. Australian Army Nursing Service. Died of sickness 24th Nov., 1918. Son of Frederick and Deborah Moorhouse. Born at Undera, Victoria, Australia. I. C. 25.
Source AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army

cooee
patrick


mischien bedoelen ze tijdens de oorlog? alé ik weet niet hoe ze hun artikel hebben opgesteld?
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