Nurses on ambulance trains rode the high roads of war and saw the devastation at first hand. Read about it in “With Staff Nurse Susan Greaves on No 22 Ambulance Train”, a new page in “Stories”.
The usual methods of identifying nurses from a specific area – eg place of birth, address on the Embarkation Roll, address of next-of-kin, name on school honour roll etc – only go so far. In More than Bombs and Bandages, Australian Army nurses at work in World War I (Big Sky Publishing, Newport 2011) Kirsty Harris has included a very useful appendix of training hospitals of AANS nursing members (pp.239-259). Kirsty’s research has allowed me to identify more women who graduated from Newcastle and Maitland hospitals. I am gradually adding these names as I research their service records. Today’s additions are Staff Nurse Aimée Michie known to her patients as Sister Mick and Sister Jessie Elizabeth Slack – Jessie Slack’s service record indicates that she was mentioned in despatches although as yet I have not discovered the particular action that led to this.
Friend and fellow researcher Ed Tonks has pointed out to me just how special these medals are (see previous post for a photo) – the 1914 Star is very rare, with only approximately 123 awarded to Australians including a small number from Matron Ida Greaves’ unit, the Australian Voluntary Hospital. Not to be confused with the 1914-15 Star which is much more common.
The oak leaf on Matron Greaves’ Victory Medal ribbon denotes Mention In Despatches. Ed tells me that although Ida Greaves was mentioned twice, irrespective of how many mentions, only one oak leaf emblem was to be worn. The first mention, which led to the award of the Royal Red Cross was as follows:
Despatch of J.D.P. French, Field Marshall, Commanding-in –Chief the British Army in the field, dated 5 April 1915 for gallant and distinguished service in the field.