Help us promote Lemnos' link to Anzac - Make a donation now

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

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Nurses Exhibition features Lemnos and Salonika Nurses

The recent Red Cross and WW1 Nurses exhibition held at Geelong's Osborne House was well worth the visit. Put together by the Osborne House Geelon and the Osborne Park Association Inc, this exhibition shows just how rich the link between Australia and Greece was in the First World War.

The exhibition was well put together and assembled. It featured a series of panels telling the stories of many of the nurses with connections to the Geelong area who served in WW1. These were illustrated with photographs.
Some of the nurses stories included were:
Nurses who served on Lemnos - Sister Violet Blanch Duddy, Staff Nurses Victoria Wakley, Staff Nurses Edith Avice Watson, Sister Evelyn Davies, Sister Ida Mary Mockridge and Sister Catherine (Kit) McNaughton.
Nurses who served on Hospital Ships at Gallipoli -Sister Hilda Samsing, Staff Nurse Mina Alice Bromley, Staff Nurse Bernice Loughrey and Staff Nurse Leonora Millicent Allender.
Norwegian-born Sister Hilda Samsing who served on the Hospital Ship Gascon during the Gallipoli campaign.

Nurses who served on the Salonika Front (Greece and Serbia) -  Staff Nurse Eva Gladys Moule, Sister Ethel Maud Biggs, Sister Ethel Giddings, Sister Ethel May Gillingham, Sister Ellen Barnett Issacs, Staff Nurse Alice Hartridge, Staff Nurse Edith Eileen Malcolm, Staff Nurse Daisy Florence McIntyre, Staff Nurse Olive Winifred Petersen, Staff Nurse Caroline Hanah Sheldon, staff Nurse Laura May Appleton and Sister Laura Beatrice Begley. Also Doctor Mary De Garis.

Staff Nurse Edith Malcolm, who served on the Salonika Front, with other members of her family who served in WW1. Source AWM

The exhibition also included an impressive display of medals awarded to individual nurses. Of special interest were those of NurseVictoria Wakley Born in Melbourne in 1893 and trained at the Melbourne Hospital, she was one of the 130 Australian nurses who served on Lemnos. Also displayed are the medals of Sister Winifred Jane Smith who was also trained at the Melbourne Hospital and was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal (2nd Class). Sister Smith's medals are reproduced below.

Below are some photographs I took at the exhibition.
For those who didn't make it to the exhibition in Geekong, the good news is that parts of the echibtiion will be on display at the Nurses Memorial Centre in St Kilda Road Melbourne in coming months. Watch this space.
It is interesting to see the wealth of material and information that is available to tell the often overlooked story of Australia's nurses in WW1. Our major institutions - like the Australian War Memorial - could learn a lot from such exhibitions and finally provide some improved recognition of the service of our nurses in WW1.
Thanks to Arlene Bennett of the Nurse Memorial Centre for alerting me to this great exhibition.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee


  1. Victoria (Queenie) Wakley [1893 - 1974], staff nurse - 3rd Australia General Hospital, embarkation roll no. 26/67/3, returned to Australia on 27 February 1919 after serving at Lemnos. After having had so much responsibility in wartime, Queenie found it difficult to accept the traditional subservient role of women on her return to post war Melbourne. Queenie Wakley died on 19 July 1974 at her home in Seymour Rd Elsternwick where she had pictures of the Royal Family pinned all over her couch.

    1. While Victoria (Queenie) Wakley's brother, George Reginald Wakley, Service No: 568 4th LHR survived WW1, their other brother VICTOR OAK WAKLEY, Service number: 186, Unit: 2 (MNTD RIFLES) CNTGNT, died of enteric on 21 May 1900 at Kroonstadt Sth Africa in the Boer War. I find it very disappointing that there is no mention of the Boer War at the Mt Macedon memorial [and others] and that Australian deaths in the Boer war are largely forgotten. However, Pte Wakley is remembered in Yea where his name is on the town memorial with Sgt AG Buckinhham VMR and there are also plaques to both men in St Luke's Anglican church in Yea. I have the only surviving photo of Pte Victor Oak Wakley, at age 19, taken prior to his departure. "Lest We Forget" should also include our Boer War dead.

      The residents of Kobyboyn have shown in a practical manner their esteem and respect for the late Private Victor Oak Wakley, by erecting a memorial tablet in the local hall. It bears the following inscription :
      " In loving memory of Private Victor Oak Wakley, member of the Ruffy detachment of V.M.R. who died of enteric fever at Kroonstad, South Africa, May. 31st, 1900, while serving his Queen and Country, as a member of the Victorian Second Contingent, aged 20. His simple, manly,spirit, and childlike heart, made him ever a true -soldier of Christ."

      On the right of the tablet is the "Grand old Flag "; on the left of. the tablet is the Australian flag.

      Surmounting all is the latest photo graph of Her Gracious Majesty the Queen.

      On Sunday, 1st inst, a memorial service was conducted by Mr. Evans, the Presbyterian Missionary of the district. The members of the Ruffy Detachment of V.M.R., under the command of Sergeant Maygar, attended in uniform. The service was largely attended, fully 80 persons being present, many of whom had to travel over 20 miles to attend the service. Religious - differences were wisely cast aside, and the friends of the deceased, of various denominations, all united in showing their respect for him. Mr. Evans referred to the good qualities of the late soldier, his modest, kindly manner, and his brave and generous spirit, which caused him to be beloved by all who knew him. He was most anxious to go to the front, and though not great in stature, it is no vain boast to say that Her Majesty had no braver, stouter heart upholding the honour of the Empire in South Africa. As one of his comrades put it, "He was the man to have by one's side in a "tight corner." He was, indeed, a man on whom we could rely to make the name of Australia honoured wherever he might be. His untimely demise is a great loss to the district, and much sympathy is felt for the bereaved family.

      At the close of the service the organist played the " Dead March in Saul," after which Sergeant Maygar (on be half of the Ruffy V.M.R.) presented Mr. and Mrs. Wakley with a hand painted " In Memoriam " executed by himself, as a token of the esteem in which the deceased was held his brother soldiers.