Constance was born on the 8th of April 1888 at Esplanade, Williamstown, Vic – the daughter of Yates BROOKS and Emma MULLEN – who married at Williamstown on the 13/1/1874
Yates (a Customs Deptartment Officer, born Liverpool) died in October 1896, aged 58; Emma died on the 8/11/1940 at Sandringham, aged 81 – they are buried together at St Kilda Cemetery
Siblings: (all born Williamstown) Florence Ethel b.1875; Cecil Leicester b.&d.1877 (1m); Marian Reva b.1878; Essie Barton b.1880; Stanley Clive b.1882; Wynton Chassie b.1884 – WW1: Dvr 10809, 22 ASC, AIF – d.1969; Reginald Barton b.1886;
Wynifred Darra b.1892 Caulfield
Religion: Church of England
Description: Medium height and weight, fair complexion with brown eyes and hair
Trained in nursing: in the Melbourne and Bendigo Hospitals
Passed the exam for the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association in May 1916
WW1: Enlisted for service on the 17/8/1916
Served in No 5 Australian General Hospital, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Enlisted for overseas service with the British India Service 8/12/16
Embarked at Melbourne 26/12/1916 on the Mooltan – and disembarked in Bombay 15/1/1917 – where she was posted to the Colaba War Hospital
Transferred to the 18th Stationary Hosp, Rawalpindi 18/6/1917 – and then to the Victoria War Hosp, Bombay 10/11/17
She then served on the Hospital Ship Ellora from the 17/6/18 – 13/12/18, when she was transferred to the Gerard Freeman Thomas Hosp, Bombay
Having been promoted to Temp Sister 1/10/18, whilst in India, Mesopotamia or at sea – she was then made Sister on the 26/12/18
Constance resigned her appointment with the AANS on the 6/3/1919 in order to marry the following day.
She married Major Charles John Emile CLERICI, (Postal Department / Royal Engineers) on the 7th of March 1919 at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Bombay, India – with Sister Ada Hodson (AANS) as bridesmaid
The couple then travelled to Mesopotamia, where Constance accompanied Emile on an official tour in Persia. Following the birth of their first child in March 1920, the family returned to Australia, arriving in July 1920.
1. Constance Ruth b.21/3/1920 Bagdad, Mesopotamia (Iraq) – marr Cpl Dion Stuart JOHNSTON (RAAF) 23/6/1944 Sandringham – d.1999 Melb
2. John Winton Murray b.22/6/1921 “Moira” private hosp, Sandringham, Vic – d.24/6/1946 Brighton, age 25
3. Charles Phillip D (a teacher) living with Constance in 1954
The family was resident at “Denby Dale” Abbott St, Sandringham in Sept 1921
They then left Australia 3/12/1921 for India (for a number of years), were Emile was to take up the position of Postmaster-General at Bengal and Assam
Constance was resident at “Colpetty”, Abbott St, Sandringham in Aug 1923
Emile retired from the Indian Civil Service in 1931 and returned to Australia on the Maloja in November
Resident 1 Tennyson St, Brighton, Vic 1936
Constance died in May 1966 at Beaumaris, Vic, aged 78
She was cremated on the 1/6/1966 at Springvale Botanical Cemetery (Ficus ground niche, Garden 3, Sect E, Niche 8)
Emile was born c1876 – son of Earnesto and Louisa CLERICI
Served throughout the war with the Postal Department / Royal Engineers in Mesopotamia
Major E Clerici, C.I.E., O.B.E., R.E. was presented with his medals for the C.I.E. (awarded 1916) and O.B.E (awarded 1918) by the Governor General, at Government House, Melbourne on the 26/9/1921
Emile died on the 14/6/1938 Middle Brighton, aged 62
Buried Fawkner Cemetery
The Argus, Wed 11 Apr 1888:
BROOKS – On the 8th inst, at Esplanade, Williamstown, the wife of Yates Brooks – daughter.
Bendigonian (Vic), Thur 29 Jun 1916 (p.25):
Among the nurses who were successful in examinations conducted in May by the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association were the following: – …………….. Bendigo – Constance J. Brooks, …………………………………….
Supplement to the London Gazette, 18 Aug 1916:
India Office, 18th Aug 1916
The KING has been graciously pleased to make the following appointments to the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, in recognition of the meritorious services of the undermentioned gentlemen during the War:
To be additional Companions of the said Most Eminent Order.
Charles John Emile Clerici, Esq, Postal Department, Basra.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 18 Nov 1918:
CENTRAL CHANCERY OF THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD
St James’ Palace, S.W., 18th Nov 1918
The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for distinguished service in connection with military operations in Mesopotamia. To be dated 3rd June 1918:
To be Officers of the said Most Excellent Order:
T/Captain Charles John Emile Clerici, C.I.E., Royal Engineers
Supplement to the London Gazette, 22 Jan 1919:
Corps of Royal Engineers
The undermentioned temp Capts to be temp Majs, and to retain their actg rank where specified. 1st Oct 1918:
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 5 Jul 1919 (p.13):
CLERICI – BROOKS – On the 7th March, 1919, at Roman Catholic Cathedral, Bombay, India, Major John Emile Clerici, C.I.E., O.B.E, R.E., director of postal services, Mesopotamia, to Constance Jessie Brooks, daughter of Mrs and the late Yates Brooks.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Wed 21 Apr 1920 (p.1):
CLERICI (nee Connie Brooks) – On the 21st March, at Bagdad, Mesopotamia, to Major and Mrs Clerici – a daughter (Constance Ruth). West Austalian papers please copy.
The Herald (Melb, Vic), Wed 21 Jul 1920 (p.11):
HOME FROM MESOPOTAMIA
Major E. Clerici, C.I.E., O.B.E., R.E, and Mrs E. Clerici, late SISTER of the Australian Army Nursing Service, have arrived at Melbourne from Mesopotamia with their infant daughter. Major Clerici served in Mesopotamia from the commencement of the war, was mentioned seven times in despatches, and was awarded his two decorations. Mrs Clerici was sent on active service in 1916, and served in Bombay and on the north-west frontier of India, and on hospital ships running between India and Egypt, East Africa and Basra, in Mesopotamia. After the armistice she joined her husband in Mesopotamia, and from there accompanied him on an official tour in Persia. They have just come from Bagdad, where their daughter was born, and are staying with Mrs Yates Brooks, Mrs Clerici’s mother, at “Colpetly,” Abbott street, Sandringham.
Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 7 Aug 1920 (p.43):
LIFE IN BAGDAD
AUSTRALIANS FARE BADLY
Even by fleeing Bagdad, the British housewife cannot escape the everyday trials set up by the domestic problem. That has been the experience of Mrs Clerici, wife of Major E. Clerici, C.I.E., O.B.E., R.E., who, with her husband and infant daughter, arrived in Melbourne recently. When she first set up housekeeping her home was a flat on the top of Bagdad’s former post office.
Since the British occupation the natives have learnt to put a high price on personal service. A Chaldean woman whom Mrs Clerici employed for nursery duties would not work for less than £8 a month, and the rest of the domestic staff demanded to be paid at similar rates. If her Arab boy preferred sitting on the window-sill and gossiping to cleaning the windows, the mistress dared not complain, or she would be left with one less on the domestic staff that was always in danger of being depleted.
Taking the line of least resistance, one British matron secured domestic comfort by paying her servants £10 a month and giving each a holiday every alternate day. To do this she had to employ a double staff! Quite cheerfully she would tell new arrivals that the native servants only needed a little managing. Mrs Clerici thought it would be rather too costly to try the experiment.
“Living is very expensive in Bagdad,” explained Mrs Clerici. “There is no timber in the country, and firewood has to be brought from India or Africa. It used to cost us about 2/ a day to heat water for bathing purposes. All the household cooking was done with oil stoves. Our meat bills were very heavy, sometimes amounting to many pounds in a week. We had an electric lighting service, but the water available was not fit to drink.
Not the Cup That Cheers
“Tea infused with chlorinated water, the only kind in Bagdad, will cure anyone of the tea-drinking habit. We never enjoyed a good cup of tea all the time we were there.
“Bagdad is a queer-looking place – no stones, no trees, and houses without any windows. The houses are built in dirty, narrow streets. The Bagdad artist’s idea of home decoration is a garish arrangement of sky-blue ceilings, gilded mouldings, and mirrored wall panels. The coffee stall is a great institution – one sees them dotted all over the streets. The natives sit for hours outside these places, sipping black coffee out of small glasses, and toying with amber bead necklaces like rosaries. We could not find out whether these beads had any religious significance, and came to the conclusion that it was just a habit. The Americans chew gum; the Mohammedans play with amber beads. The natives like other beverages besides coffee. They are fond of araq, a drink made from date juice, lemons, and other fruit ingredients.”
After the armistice Mrs Clerici accompanied her husband to Persia. On their tour they frequently met native bearers taking corpses to the sacred burial places at either Kerbala, north-west of Bagdad, or Najaf, Mesopotamia. The relatives pay high fees for this privilege, but those in command of the holy ground do not always carry out their part of the bargain. Sometimes the bearers travel for months with a dead body, which is wrapped in sacking and carried on poles. The carriers bring their gruesome burdens from India, Central Asia and Persia.
Experiences of War
Before her marriage Mrs Clerici, as Miss Constance J. Brooks, had a varied experience on military service. At the close of 1916 she was sent from the Base Hospital, St Kilda road, to Bombay. Later she did a period of service at Rawl Pindi, near the Persian frontier; then she joined a hospital ship bringing back invalided soldiers from German East Africa to Durban. For a time she was attached to hospital ships travelling to Portuguese and British East Africa. Then came a period of service on the Persian Gulf hospital ship route, followed by a change of duty that took her travelling between Egypt and India, until March, 1919.
Mrs Clerici is a trainee of the Melbourne Hospital, and a daughter of Mrs Yates Brooks, “Colpetly,” Abbott street, Sandringham.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 25 Jun 1921 (p.13):
CLERICI – On the 22nd June, 1921, at “Moira” private hospital, Sandringham, Constance (nee Brooks, late A.A.N.S.), wife of Major E. Clerici, C.I.E., O.B.E., R.E., of a son. (English and Indian papers please copy).
The London Gazette, 9th Feb 1923:
The undermentioned relinquish their commns on completion of service:
Temp Maj C.J.E. Clerici, C.I.E., O.B.E., 10th Jan 1922, and retains the rank of Maj
The Herald (Melb, Vic), Fri 27 Jun 1930 (p.12):
[Photo of Ruth]
Miss Ruth Clerici, the young daughter of Major John Clerici, Postmaster-General of the Calcutta Province, India, and Mrs Clerici, formerly Miss Connie Brooks, of East Melbourne, who was attached to the nursing unit of the Australian Imperial Forces in Mesopotamia. Mrs Clerici is here on a visit, and has brought her daughter with her. Today she moved into a flat at 181 Burke Road, Camberwell, which she will make her headquarters. Mrs Clerici has many friends here, and since her arrival has been the guest of Miss Hume, “Kooyong,” Hawthorn Road, Caulfield.
The West Australian, Wed 18 Nov 1931:
Among the passengers on the mailboat Maloja, which passed through Fremantle from London yesterday, were the following:
Mr C.J.E. Clerici, C.I.E., O.B.E., who recently retired from the Indian Civil Service t make his home in Australia.
The Herald (Melb, Vic), Sat 19 Aug 1933 (p.27):
WAR TIME MEMORIES – Nurses’ Reunion
War-time memories were revived today when Australian nurses who were on active service in India, Burma and Persia during the Great War, met for a social re-union in the club rooms of the Returned Army Nurses’ Club, Anzac House. Good friends had provided flowers in plenty to impart festive decoration to the interior.
These included………………………………..; Mrs Clerici (Miss Connie Brookes), whose husband was Postmaster-General at Mesopotamia, during the war; …………..
The Herald (Melb, Vic), Mon 18 Nov 1935 (p.13):
To Aid Incapacitated Nurses
Brown and gold, the colors of the Returned Army Nurses’ Indian Unit will decorate the Centenary Hall, Exhibition Street, this evening, where members of the Indian Unit Auxiliary will hold a bridge party in aid of the Aged and Incapacitated Nurses’ Fund.
The decorative scheme will be carried out with Iceland poppies, marigolds, yellow broom and brown gum tips.
The committee arranging the event include the president (miss G. Davis), vice-president (Miss N. Dowsley), honorary secretary (Mrs J.R. Fullarton), honorary treasure (Mrs C.J.E. Clerici), …………………………
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Wed 15 Jun 1938 (p.11):
Major C.J.E. Clerici
The death occurred yesterday morning at Brighton of Major Charles John Emil Clerici, at the age of 62 years. Major Clerici, who was born at Milan, Italy, was a naturalised British subject. He served in Mesopotamia with the British Royal Engineers, and was mentioned in dispatches six times.
After the war he was an officer of the postal service in India, and was Postmaster-General at Bengal and Assam. He came to Australia on his retirement in 1931. He leaves a widow, two sons, and a daughter. Mrs Clerici, formerly Miss Constance Brooks, of Melbourne was an Australian war nurse when she met her husband. They were married during the war. The funeral will leave his home, 1 Tennyson street, Brighton Beach, at 10.30 am to-day for the New Melbourne Cemetery, Fawkner. Arrangements are in the hands of A.A. Sleight Pty Ltd
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Thur 16 Jun 1938 (p.8):
Major C.J.E. Clerici
The funeral of Major Charles John Emil Clerici left his home at Tennyson street, Brighton Beach, yesterday morning for the New Melbourne General Cemetery, Fawkner.
The Brighton sub-branch of the Returned Soldiers’ League was represented by Captain E. Browne. The pall-bearers were Lieutenant A.M. Hume and Messrs R.A. Hume, C. Brooks, R. Brooks, J. Brooks, F. Proctor, F. Wilson, and B. Woodhouse. A.A. Sleight Pty Ltd was the undertaker.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Fri 23 Jun 1944 (p.8):
CLERICI – JOHNSTON – The marriage of Constance Ruth, only daughter of late Major C.J.E. Clerici, C.I.E., O.B.E., and Mrs C.J. Clerici, Edward st, Sandringham, to Cpl Dion Stuart, RAAF, younger son of Mr and Mrs F.S. Johnston, Savings Bank, Gawler, SA, at All Souls’ Church of England, Bay rd, Sandringham.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 24 Jun 1944 (p.12):
JOHNSTON – CLERICI
For her marriage last night at All Saint’s Church of England, Sandringham, to Cpl Dion Stuart Johnston, RAAF, Constance Ruth, only daughter of Mrs Clerici of Sandringham, and the late Maj C.J.E. Clerici, wore a gown of white crepe with Limerick lace veil. The bride-groom, who is youngest son of Mr and Mrs F.S. Johnston, of Gawler, SA, had as best man WO Glen Johnston, AIF, Mrs G.S. Johnston was matron of honour and Miss June Procter was bridesmaid.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Tue 25 Jun 1946 (p.2):
CLERICI – On June 24, at No. 7 Keys avenue, Brighton East, Winton, dearly loved eldest son of Constance and the late Major C.J.E. Clerici, dearest nephew of Mrs E. Proctor, and forndest brother of Ruth and Dion Johnston and Phillip. (Private interment.)
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Mon 14 Jul 1952 (p.3):
CALLING OLD COBBERS
After 30 years of wondering, Sister Con Clerici, of Gladstone st, Sandringham, now knows where her bridesmaid, Sister Ada Hodson, is living.
“Calling Old Cobbers found Sister Hodson; she is still nursing – in South Africa.
Sister Clerici, who went to India in 1917 with reinforcements for the A.A.N.S., was married in Bombay in 1919, and Sister Hodson was her bridesmaid.
After leaving India, they lost touch with each other.
The day after Sister Clerici’s call for her old friend was published in “Cobbers” column, Mrs Menkes, of Upwey, visited her.
Mrs Menkes, who came to Australia from England four years ago, is Ada Hodson’s sister. She passed on Sister Hodson’s South African address, and a letter from Sister Clerici is on the way.
[nothing more in first article]