A matron’s smile – Ida Greaves of the Australian Voluntary Hospital

I’ve recently been privileged to be given access to photos and documents related to the service of Matron Ida Greaves RRC.  In every photo, it seems, she is seen with such a friendly, unforced smile.  Yet she was responsible for managing the nursing care of hundreds of men, many with horrendous injuries… and dealing with some challenging working conditions.  What was the secret – determination to stay positive for the sake of the patients and staff, teamwork, a sense of humour … ??  Here are some of the photos:

Field days practice, St Nazaire, France 1914.  Matron Greaves is on the left.   Image courtesy Greaves family archive.

Field days practice, St Nazaire, France 1914. Matron Greaves is on the left.
Image courtesy Greaves family archive. Click on image to enlarge.

Matron Greaves at Australian Voluntary Hospital Camp, c1914-1915. Image courtesy Greaves family archive.  Click on image to enlarge.

Matron Greaves at Australian Voluntary Hospital Camp, c1914-1915.
Image courtesy Greaves family archive. Click on image to enlarge.

Australian Voluntary Hospital, Matron Greaves is standing at right. Image courtesy Greaves family archive.  Click on image to enlarge.

Australian Voluntary Hospital c1914-1915, Matron Greaves standing at right.
Image courtesy Greaves family archive. Click on image to enlarge.

Patients at Australian Voluntary Hospital, c1914-1915. Image courtesy Greaves family archive.  Click on image to enlarge.

Patients at Australian Voluntary Hospital, c1914-1915.
Image courtesy Greaves family archive. Click on image to enlarge.

Tents after storm, Australian Voluntary Hospital, c1914-1915. Image courtesy Greaves family archive.  Click on image to enlarge.

Tents after storm, Australian Voluntary Hospital, c1914-1915.
Image courtesy Greaves family archive. Click on image to enlarge.

6 thoughts on “A matron’s smile – Ida Greaves of the Australian Voluntary Hospital

    1. Great War Nurses from Newcastle & the Hunter Region Post author

      They are indeed a treasure, and this is only a small selection! The photos are really bringing to life for me Ida Greaves’ war service and the work of the Australian Voluntary Hospital. Christine

      Reply
  1. Patricia Neal

    What delightful photos and what a pretty girl Matron GREAVES was. That smile would have encouraged many of the troops she nursed.

    Reply
    1. Great War Nurses from Newcastle & the Hunter Region Post author

      Yes indeed.
      She must have had great reserves of character – in the later years of the war she was posted to several casualty clearing stations (these were field hospitals very close to the front line) and was mentioned in despatches for her work during this time. Not everyone was suited to the emotional and psychological demands of the casualty clearing stations – in August 1917 the Matron-in-Chief, France, noted in the Unit Diary that four sisters had arrived at a base hospital from No 44 Casualty Clearing Station “all suffering from Shell Shock”. Christine

      Reply
  2. Jessica Marsh

    Matron Ida Mary Greaves is my grandmothers great aunt.
    It is wonderful to be able to find photo’s and information about to her life; especially the years she spent working in service to her country and countrymen during the great war.
    I am one of the many generations of nurses in our family; following in both my grandmother and mother’s footsteps. It’s amazing to see pictures and read the story of a woman whom I have only ever heard about from my grandmother.
    I am very excited to see what you will post in the future, as I am very keen to learn more about Ida’s life.

    Reply
    1. Great War Nurses from Newcastle & the Hunter Region Post author

      Good to hear from a family member! You have a WW1 ancestor to be very proud of. I am working on Ida’s biography at the moment, but in the early stages so it won’t be until next year at the earliest. I’ll put you on the mailing list for the launch. Cheers, Christine

      Reply

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