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Wednesday, 31 January 1940 - Tuesday, 6 February 1940
Born 1889 Colac, Vic – daughter of Ernest Reginald GREEN & Elizabeth Jessie RAE – who married in Vic in 1882 – Ernest died in 1890 Elizabeth re-married to Alexander READ in 1892 [his 2nd marriage also (7 children), he died 31/7/1909 – Grazier of Lawaluk, Mount Mercer] – living “Fernleigh” Chilwell, Geelong 1914 / 38 Kilgour St, Geelong 1916 / 37 Westgarth St, East Malvern 1924 – d.16/11/1947 at Westgarth St Sibling: Alan Stanley b.1883 Colac – WW1: Gnr 908, 4th Bty, 2nd FAB – served Gallipoli (broken ear drum) – RTA 8/10/15 Half Siblings: Alexander George Frederick READ b.1894 Geelong – WW1: Pte 2745, 46th Bn – living Qld 1939; Luo Ivy b.1896 Geelong Trained at Geelong Hospital; passing her R.V.T.N.A. exam at the end of 1913. She then resigned and moved to Melbourne where she nursed at Dr Frederick Bird’s Private Hospital. WW1: As one of Dr Bird’s surgical team, she sailed from Melbourne 22/10/1914 on board the Orvieto. The other 3 nurses making up this team were Minnie McNab, Muriel Robertson & Adelaide Hartrick – and Elsie Gibson noted in her diary that “we call them the Lady Birds” She was stationed at Mena House, Egypt 22/1/1915 when she joined the QAIMNSR Engaged to Dr Lind early 1915 – Capt Edmund Frank Lind was the MO attached to the 5th Bn HQ – also on board the Orvieto (no marriage took place – he became engaged again in 1918 to Sister B.R. McMinn (AANS), whom he married in 1920) Served on the HS Sicilia during the Gallipoli campaign 1915 & Salonika 1916 Embarked Bombay 22/8/1917 – disembarking Basra 30/8/17 (Mesopotamia) Posted to No. 3 Basra General Hospital 31/8/1917 Admitted Hospital 6/9/17 – 19/9/17 Proceeded up river on temp duty 12/3/18 – 2/5/18 Proceeded to India on Leave 1/7/1918 – rejoined 3 BGH 30/8/1918 Promoted to Sister 7/8/1918 Transferred to England 17/11/1918 Croydon War Hospital 16/1/1919 – “She has filled her post as ward Sister in a most capable manner being engergetic and tactful with her staff and patients.” [19/5/1919] Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley – until repatriation (along with Sister A.L. Hartrick) RTA 20/3/1920 on the Ormonde – her service terminated 25/4/1920 Nursing in Melbourne in 1925, resident of 25 Queen’s Rd Married John Hardress Cecil RUSSELL 19/4/1927 at St Peter’s Church, Eastern Hill, Vic Children: John Alan Cecil b.15/9/1928 at Finchley Private Hospital, East Malvern – married Patricia M.G. DOUGLAS 1955 – living Gembrook 2003 (4 daughters) Living “Swallowfield”, Gembrook in 1928 until at least 1968 – Launching Place Rd, Gembrook 1972 Died 20/6/1973 Heidelberg – cremated Springvale Cemetery 25/6/1973 & her ashes collected RUSSELL, John Hardress Cecil Born c1896 Wellington, NZ – son of George Cecil RUSSELL & Alice Jane Evelyn MILLS (of Swallowfield, Gembrook, Vic) Farmer / Sawmiller 1931 / Farmer 1972 WW1: Gnr 4899, 12th FAB (47th Bty) Enlisted 13/10/1915 Melb – Emb 7/3/1916 as a Pte with 15th Reinf of 6th Bn – disemb Egypt 10/4/16 – TOS 47th Bty, 12th FAB 17/4/16 Serapeum Proc to France 2/6/16 WIA 3/6/1917 Belgium (GSW R/leg - amputated) Discharged in England 3/4/1918 (place of residence, 10 Lyon Hill, Harrow-on-the-Hill) Died 1979 Emerald Geelong Advertiser (Vic), Fri 28 Nov 1913 (p.3): HOSPITAL STAFF Sister Smyth has been promoted to the charge of Ward 1 at the Geelong Hospistal, vice Sister Peddle, resigned. Nurse Green having completed her course of training, severs her connection with the institution in a fortnight. An account on board the Orvieto 1914: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129508323 The Ballarat Star (Vic), Sat 6 Feb 1915 (p.11): SOCIAL NOTES Miss Doris Green (Nurse Green) whose engagement is announced to Dr Lind, is at present in Egypt, waiting to go to the front as one of Dr Bird’s staff. Dr Lind is attached to the First Expeditionary Force, and went over in one of the troopships. The Argus, Sat 7 May 1927: MARRIAGES RUSSELL – GREEN – On the 19th April, at St Peter’s Church, Eastern Hill, by the Right Rev. Bishop Green, LL.D., John Hardress Cecil, youngest son of Alice Jane Evelyn and the late George Cecil Russell, of Swallowfield, Gembrook, to Doris Marion, daughter of Elizabeth J. Read and the late Ernest Reginald Green, East Malvern. The Argus, Wed 26 Sept 1928: BIRTHS RUSSELL – On the 15th September, at Finchley private hospital, East Malvern, to Mr and Mrs J.H.C. Russell, Swallowfield, Gembrook – a son.
Doris Green was one of the first four nurses to leave Australia to serve with the Australian Imperial Force in World War I. She left in October 1914 and saw five-and-a-half long, gruelling years as a military nurse, but on her return to Australia had to struggle to prove her war service to the Repatriation authorities. When war broke out in August 1914 there was an immediate rush of nurses eager to join the Australian Army Nursing Service, but the waiting list was long, and many decided take matters into their own hands. Doris Green was working then at a Melbourne private hospital in under eminent surgeon, Dr Frederic Bird. He had offered to travel with the first convoy of Australian troops, and to pay for a fully equipped team of four nurses himself. Doris volunteered to join this group and they embarked on the Orvieto in October 1914. Doris served on hospital ships all the way through the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. She would have nursed some horrific cases because there was nowhere safe on the peninsula, and casualties had to be evacuated as quickly as possible. Conditions were dreadful and the work for the nurses was unrelenting. Most people expected the Gallipoli campaign to be short, and casualties would be few. The campaign dragged out for eight months, and the staff on hospital ships and in hospitals on Lemnos and in Egypt were overwhelmed. Doris’s war did not end with the evacuation of Gallipoli in December. She went on to serve in hospitals in Salonika, India, Mesopotamia and finally, England. The Armistice was signed in November 1918 but Doris did not arrive home in Australia until May 1920. She took a job at another private hospital while she pondered her future, and then applied for a tools-of-the-trade grant from the Repatriation Department so that she could set up as a private nurse. It was then that she faced a whole new battle. When they left Australia Doris and her companions were not enlisted personnel. Although working in a war zone they had no military status. To enlist in the Australian Army Nursing Service they would have had to return to Australia, but as an alternative they could, and did, join a British unit, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR). After the war Doris realised that the Australian authorities had no record of her service. So the first pages of her Repatriation file are a bundle of documents proving her life story. There are statutory declarations attesting to her date and place of birth, her parentage and her education. Friends and employers wrote references for her. Dr Bird wrote to confirm she had nursed with him at war. After all this, her application for a grant to pay for her nursing equipment was refused. Someone has scrawled across it that because she was working in a hospital at the time, ‘the employer should supply all instruments’. Doris appears not to have queried the injustice of this, but instead accepted a position at Vimy House, a private convalescent hospital in Melbourne. The Repatriation Department did not hear again from Doris until 1958. By then she was Mrs Doris Russell, having married an ex-serviceman, John Russell, in 1927 and moved to Gembrook in Victoria. They had one son, John. She applied for medical benefits, and was forced again to produce documentary evidence proving her service. Repatriation staff wrote to the War Office in London for confirmation of Doris’s time as a nurse with the QAIMNSR, and even to the Public Library of Victoria to ask that it check shipping records to confirm she had sailed with the Orvieto in 1914. (The Library replied that it did not hold these records.) Fortunately, Doris was granted the benefits to which she was entitled, and perhaps this made her declining years as comfortable as she deserved. We might wonder if her war service memories were still vivid towards the end her life. In April 1915 one of her fellow nurses, Sister Kath King, had written, in a letter home: One loses sight of all the honour and glory in work such as we are dealing with … Nothing will induce our staff to tell of the horrors they have seen and dealt with and no one who has not seen it and its awful reality could imagine a portion of this saddest part of the war. Few Australian women had been witness to this reality as Doris Russell had been. She died in 1973.
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