These are the Great War medals of Matron Ida Greaves of the Australian Voluntary Hospital, Wimereux France. Left to right, they are the Royal Red Cross 1st Class, 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. This set of medals is exceptional not only because the Royal Red Cross 1st Class was only awarded to 43 Australian women during the course of the War but because this particular one was the first to be awarded to an Australian. Matron Greaves received the award for outstanding service as matron of one of the first field hospitals (Australian Voluntary Hospital) to arrive in France at the outbreak of war.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported the award on 25 June 1915, p5, with the comment that “Nurse Greaves is a native of Newcastle and is very well known here.” What a pity that the memory of this exceptional woman seems to have faded, unlike that of the Hunter’s Victoria Cross recipients.