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Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

An Australian Nurse at Gallipoli - Sister Muriel Wakeford

Nurse Muriel Wakeford. Illawarra Rememers website. Woolongong City Libraries.
Many of the tens of thousands of wounded and sick of Gallipoli were transported to hospitals throughout the Mediterranean - from nearby Lemnos, to Egypt and Malta. They were transported from the shores of the Dardanelles on hospital ships as well as normal transport ships (known as "Black Ships". They also went on to service the wounded from the nearby Salonika campaign, calling in to Thessaloniki harbour to pick up the frost-bitten soldiers towards the end of 1915.One of the former was the Hospital Ship Gascon.
To give some idea of the role of ships and their nurses at Gallipoli, below are series of images from the Australian War Memorial showing the Gascon at work at Gallipoli and transporting the wounded from Gallipoli.
One of the number of Australian nurses who served on the hospital ships ferrying the wounded from Gallipoli to Lemnos, Egypt and Malta, was Bathurst-born Sister Murial Wakeford.
Nurse Wakeford aboard the Gascon. Illawara Remembers website. Woolongong City Libraries.
In May 1915 she wrote to her family in Australia of her experiences with the wounded from Anzac. Her letters were reprinted in various newspapers, including the Sydney Morning Herald. This is a quite moving extract from this letter:
"Quite a number of men I know have been killed. I can quite imagine what a sad Australia it will be when the casualty lists come out. The roll of honour will be a very long one. People will begin to realise that this is the war in earnest. The poor men in the trenches, living for a week at a time, without sleep or a wash, and very little food, and eventually getting these horrible wounds - it makes one wonder if it is worth the cost. The Australians are spoken of highly in every quarter. They are called "die-hard Australians", and I tell you they do die hard too."

The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 30 June 1915, page 12
For the nurses who cared for the Anzacs on the hospital ships, like Sister Murial Wakeford and many others, Lest we forget. 
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
HS Gascon. AWM
Barges bringing wounded soldiers alongside the Hospital Ship Gascon. AWM
A flat bottomed barge transporting wounded soldiers from Anzac Cove alongside the Hospital Ship Gascon. AWM image
Injured soldiers confined to stretchers being lowered into the wards of the hospital ship Gascon which was standing off Anzac Cove, April 1915. AWM image - Donor Sister A. Twynam RRC.
Wearing a white surgical gown, Colonel Edward Victor Hugo, Senior Medical Officer of Hospital Ship Gascon, which was moored off Anzac Cove, watches as a wounded soldier from Anzac, is carried on a stretcher.At sea, off Gallipoli, April 1915. AWM image.
Barges bringing soldiers wounded on the peninsula alongside Hospital Ship Gascon. The staff of Gascon was made up from the Indian Medical Service medical officers, a Royal Army Medical Corps matron, Australian nursing sisters and Royal Army Corps and Indian Medical Service orderlies.  At sea, off Gallipoli, April 1915.AWM image - Donor Sister A. Twynam RRC.
Bodies of the dead on stretchers covered by Union Jack flags being transferred from the decks of the hospital ship Gascon to trawler for burial at sea. At sea, off Gallipoli, 1915. AWM image.
At sea off Gallipoli, wounded being transferred from the ship Galeka to the Hopital Ship Gascon, half an hour after the first boat left for the shore. The wounded are climbing a ladder to the deck from a ship's boat. At sea, off Gallipoli, 25th April 1915. AWM image.
Alexandria, Egypt. 1915. Army patients from Gallipoli being transferred from Hospital Ship Gascon to a hospital train for movement to Cairo. AWM image - Donor Sister A. Twynam.

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