• Myra Septima Wyse

Army / Flying Corps
  • No. 2 Australian General Hospital
  • Australian Army Nursing Service
    Unknown
    Unknown

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
Stories and comments
    • WYSE, Myra Septima Hutchinson, Sister AANS
    • Posted by FrevFord, Friday, 1 April 2022

    Born on the 24th of October 1886 at Deniliquin, NSW, Myra was a twin daughter of John William Hutchinson WYSE and Augusta Maria SABINE, who married in Albury on the 30/11/1876 John, a Journalist, Editor and Proprietor of the Pastoral Times, died on the 9/7/1900 at his home “Tarongile,” Deniliquin, aged 54 Augusta died 25/11/1929 at her home Moonga, Springwood, aged 79 Siblings: Rebecca Augusta H b.1877 Albury – marr John C FISHER 29/1/1902; Irene Mary H b.1878 – marr J Mc HOOKE 4/11/1903; Murray A M H b.1880 – Proprietor of the “Pastoral Times,” Deniliquin – d.1946; *Muriel Gwendoline Hutchinson b.24/1/1882 Craig Fernie, Corowa – Sister, AANS; Cyril S E b.1883 Deniliqin – d.1886; Garnette Sabine H b.1885; Bona Vesta Hutchinson b.1886 (twin) – Probationer Nurse / Farmer / Instructor – 5/5/d.1956 NSW; Edna L M b.1888 – marr A. FRASER Educated at Deniliquin Public School Trained as a Nurse at Sydney Hospital from 1909 Passed the Australasian Trained Nurses Association exam in December 1912 Appointed Matron at Swan Hill Hospital January 1913 – 1914 Appointed Matron, Bathurst Hospital March 1914 – resigned to enlist WW1 Service: Myra joined the Australian Army Nursing Service on the 24/11/1914, and embarked 28/11/1914 as a Staff Nurse with the 2nd Australian General Hospital on the A55 Kyarra Disembarking in Egypt they were stationed at the Mena Hospital, Cairo On the 5/2/1915 she was admitted to hospital with Pleuropneumonia and Abscess of Lung – discharged 6/6/1915 She was invalided home with the sick and wounded soldiers on the Kyarra, embarking 8/6/1915 – although she actually spent much of the voyage on duty She then served 4 months on duty at Randwick Military Hospital, before re-embarking 25/1/1916 on the A52 Themistocles to rejoin the 2nd AGH, Egypt The 2nd AGH embarked at Alexandria 26/3/1916 on the Braemar Castle to join the B.E.F., and disembarked Marseilles, France 4/4/1916 While the 2nd AGH was being moved north from Marseilles, Myra was detached on the 17/6/1916 and attached to the 11th Stationary Hospital, Rouen 21/6/1916, before being returned to 2nd AGH, Wimereux on the 15/7/1916 She was granted Leave to England 26/10/1916 – and rejoined 2nd AGH 10/11/1916 Promoted to Sister In 1917 she was transferred to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station 23/1/1917, first situated at Gerzaincourt, then Edgehill (Dernacourt, near Albert), and finally on the 9/4/1917 Grevillers (near Bapaume), where during a European winter, “she had seven tents with 42 men in each. The station was adjacent to the rail head at Bapaume, and the Germans kept up a ceaseless shell fire, which proved most nerve wracking to both nurses and patients.” Anzac Headquarters, with General Birdwood and staff were stationed nearby, and this is when Myra first met her future husband, Edmund Milne. She rejoined the 2nd AGH 24/6/1917, and crossed the Channel on Leave to England. It was during this time that she met up again with Edmund, and they became engaged. In England she was attached to the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Southall, 10/7/1917, and then the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 29/7/1917 Resigned her appointment due to marriage 2/11/1917 Myra married Edmund Osborn MILNE (Major, DSO, CdeG, MID), on the 2nd of November 1917 at the Harefield Church, in Uxbridge, England. A family affair, her sister Muriel attended her as bridesmaid, and Edmund’s brother Clarence stood by him as his best man. Their honeymoon was spent at Devon New Forest. Following her marriage Myra was a resident of 13 Linden Mansions, Hornsey Lane, Highgate, and for five months she carried out clerical work at the office of the British Ministry of Pensions, London Myra returned to Australia on the Argyllshire, embarking 9/12/1918, receiving free passage in return for services Edmund returned soon after on the Osterley, embarking 11/1/1919 Residents of 24 The Avenue, Strathfield, NSW, 1929 1943 / 24 Churchill Ave, Strathfield 1949 / 36 Churchill Ave, Strathfield 1958, 1963 Edmund was appointed General Manager of the State Tramways in 1930, and also served in WW2 He had been born on the 8/11/1886 at Bundanoon, NSW, and died on the 11/4/1963 at the Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, NSW, aged 76 Myra died two months after her husband on the 15/6/1963, also at the Repatriation General Hospital Concord, NSW The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 30 Oct 1886 (p.1): BIRTHS WYSE – At Deniliquin, N.S.W., on the 24th inst., the wife of J.W.H. Wyse – twins, both girls. Tocumwal Guardian and Finley Free Press (NSW), Fri 31 Jan 1913 (p.2): Personal and Political Miss Myra Wyse, of Deniliquin, who recently completed her course of training as a nurse at the Sydney Hospital, has been appointed matron of the Swan Hill Hospital. Dungog Chronicle: Durham and Gloucester Advertiser (NSW), Fri 6 Mar 1914 (p.2): Miss Myra Wyse, who recently resigned the position of matron at Swan Hill Hospital, has been appointed matron of the Bathurst Hospital. The Bathurst Times (NSW), Thur 12 Nov 1914 (p.2): PERSONAL Nurse Wyse, Matron at the Bathurst District Hospital, left for Sydney last night preparatory to embarking with the second expeditionary force for the front. The members of the hospital nursing staff yesterday presented her with a camp bed, while a lady patient handed her a fountain pen. Nurse Wyse carries away the good wishes of a host of friends. Her successor will be considered at a special meeting of the Hospital Committee. The Bathurst Times (NSW), Tue 17 Nov 1914 (p.2): HOSPITAL MATRON NURSE WYSE’S RESIGNATION RECEIVED WITH REGRET A special meeting of Bathurst Hospital Committee was held at the School of Arts yesterday afternoon to deal with the resignation of the matron, Nurse Wyse, who recently volunteered for service at the front with the Australian Expeditionary Force. Nurse Wyse, in her letter of resignation, hoped that after six months, should no appointment be made to the vacancy, that her services would again be availed of by the committee. In a later letter she stated that her services at the front would be utilized until the war was over, consequently she waived her request for any future appointment as matron at the hospital. The President (Mr W.I. McPhillamy) stated the resignation had been considered by the house committee, which recommended that the resignation be received with regret. Mr A.B. James said that there was not one member of the committee, and in fact the whole community, who would not regret the departure of Miss Wyse from Bathurst. She came amongst them to take up the position of matron at a time when a capable person was needed to control the administration of the hospital. During the time she occupied the position of matron she not only won the confidence of the patients and the staff, but she brought about a state of affairs, as far as the internal working of the hospital was concerned, that reflected the greatest credit upon her. It was unfortunate that such a capable lady should leave them, but seeing that she was going to take up a position in a struggle in which they were all vitally interested hey would compliment and honor her for her sacrifice, because the fact that she was desirous of returning showed that she was anxious to continue her duties as matron. He moved that the Matron’s resignation be received with regret, and that the President be asked to communicate with Miss Wyse expressing the committee’s appreciation of her work at the institution, and wishing her every success in the future. …………………………. The Bathurst Times (NSW), Thur 26 Nov 1914 (p.4): CORRESPONDENCE THANKS TO THE RED CROSS (To the Editor “Bathurst Times.”) Sir, - Will you please convey through the medium of your paper my sincere thanks to the ladies of the Bathurst Red Cross Society for their splendid generosity and assistance to me in my equipment for the long trip which I am about to commence. I appreciate it very much, and hope to be able to thank them in person on my return to Australia. Their generosity has added greatly to my comfort, and the useful hospital will prove of great benefit to sick soldiers. – Yours, etc., MYRA WYSE’ “Oswestry,” Bishop’s Avenue, Randwick, 24/11/14 The Globe and Sunday Times War Pictorial (Sydney, NSW), Sat 28 Nov 1914 (p.3): OFF TO THE DANGER ZONE – FORTY NURSES FAREWELLED [Group photo] http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/103490780 National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), Tue 22 Dec 1914 (p.4): “Off to Berlin” WITH THE HOSPITAL UNIT – LETTER FROM NURSE WYSE Nurse Wyse, formerly Matron of the Bathurst District Hospital, and now witht the hospital unit, is in good health and spirits. Writing to a friend in Bathurst, from “At Sea,” she states: “No. 2 General Hospital (my unit) is supposed to be stationed in France, so we are having French conversation lessons in our spare time. Our hospital will consist of 500 beds – 50 tents of 10 beds each – and we may have to accommodate 1000. So I am looking forward to a busy time. I saw 14 ambulances being put on the boat in Melbourne. One of ours had a calico notice with, ‘Off to Berlin’. The boat is laden with Red Cross gifts. One nurse has a rumor book. It’s wonderful the various yarns we hear, but the authorities keep everything quiet.” National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), Wed 17 Mar 1915 (p.4): “To the Firing Line” EXCITEMENT AMONG AUSTRALIANS – LETTER FROM NURSE WYSE Nurse Wyse, formerly matron of Bathurst District Hospital, and now attached to No. 2 General Hospital in Egypt, has not been experiencing the best of health. Under date February 7 she writes to a friend in Bathurst that she is at present confined to bed, but expects to be about soon again. She has been located at Mena Camp, Cairo, since the middle of January, and has plenty of hard work. The nurses of No. 2 General Hospital have about 1,000 patients to look after. She states that she has only met one Bathurstian so far – Lieutenant Smith – who wishes to be remembered to all his Bathurst friends. “There was much excitement,” the letter continues, “the day the 2nd Brigade boys went to Ismailia. They all enjoyed going to the firing line. We (the nurses) have picked up a few Arabic words. The waiters look very quaint with their dusky faces, white gowns, red belts and shoes.” The Independent (Deniliquin, NSW), Fri 28 May 1915 (p.2): HERE, THERE and EVERYWHERE Miss Myra Wyse, who went to Egypt with the first Australian Hospital Corps, has been seriously ill at Mena Hospital, but latest advices received by her brother (Mr Murray Wyse) state that she is improving, but may be invalided home. However, Miss Myra states that she intends to immediately return, as nurses are badly required both in Egypt and elsewhere. National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), Wed 9 Jun 1915 (p.4): Infantry All Gone IN EGYPT – LETTER FROM NURSE WYSE Nurse Wyse, who, at the outbreak of war, was Matron at the Bathurst District Hospital, and left with the first hospital ship for Cairo, is experiencing bad luck since reaching the land of the Sphinx. In a letter to a Bathurst friend, dated April 26, she states: “I’m still having a bad time. I am in bed, and had to be operated on again a fortnight ago, when I nearly passed out. I couldn’t breathe properly for three or four days, but I am beginning to pick up now. We are all feeling forlorn over all the boys going to Turkey. They landed at Enos [sic] a few days ago, and by all accounts will have a larger number of Turks to fight than they anticipated. The night the men were going away we all felt sad. Those left behind cheered them as they passed, and their bands seemed very gay. I think they were all glad to get to the front. The flies in Egypt are most appalling, and simply crawl all over one. The Light Horsemen are the only ones left in Egypt, and they have gone trekking for eight days. All the infantry have gone to Turkey. Young Arthur Meade was in hospital with influenza. He is stationed at Abbassia. I don’t know what they intend doing with me when I get better, but I’d like to go on to the Dardanelles on one of the hospital ships. I’ll know in a few weeks. “I saw the Sultan pass here the other day. His bodyguard has been strengthened since the attempt on his life a short time ago. His mother lives just around the corner from here in a lovely palace.” National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), Fri 25 Jun 1915 (p.4): “REMARKABLY CHEERFUL” NURSE WYSE’S TRIBUTE – THE LATE LIEUT SMITH Writing to a friend in Bathurst from Heliopolis, on May 13, Nurse Wyse, ex-Matron of the District Hospital, who has been seriously ill, states that she has now almost recovered. She hopes to be about soon. “We were all very sad this week,” she adds. “After fighting at the Dardanelles, Lieut Smith (formerly of Bathurst) was wounded a fortnight ago, and died last Saturday. Two nurse friends of mine were looking after him, and did everything possible. He was wounded in the upper part of one of his arms, and hemorrhage came on very suddenly. An operation was performed, but he was too far gone. We all sent lovely flowers to his funeral. He is buried in the Church of England cemetery at old Cairo. As soon as I am able to go about I intend to place some plants on his grave. Two of my nurse friends took photos of the funeral. “Our Boys have done some splendid work, and I am sure you are all as proud of them as we here. My inability to go on duty is very hard, but still I have all the dressings to keep. I also had all the splints, so you see I am of some help. I have not seen young Meade yet. I don’t know if he has gone to the front. He was very keen to go. “Major Gordon was killed the first day of the landing, while calling out, ‘Come on, boys, we will give them sixpenny seats.’ Lieutenant Smith was in his battalion. “It is getting very hot here, and I am wondering if I will be sent back to Australia on transport work. I won’t be at all surprised if I am …. signed to transport duty on the Kyarra. Everyone is good to our boys. The latter are remarkably cheerful and anxious to get back to the front again. One now sees how valuable hospital and soldiers’ bags are to the poor boys. They say how lovely it is to get into clean sheets, and have clean pyjamas, as most of them have not had their clothes off for days.” The Independent (Deniliquin, NSW), Fri 23 Jul 1915 (p.2): SICK AND WOUNDED ARRIVE BY THE KYARRA The Australian hospital ship Kyarra, from Suez, arrived in Hobson’s Bay late on Friday night brining a few of the wounded from the Dardanelles and a large number of medical cases from Egypt. The Sydney contingent arrived from Melbourne by train on Sunday morning and were tendered a warm welcome by thousands who attended at the Central Railway Station. Several interesting stories of the returned soldiers appear in the Sydney dailies, and the “Daily Telegraph” also published the following interview with Miss Myra Wyse, who is a sister of Mr Murray Wyse, proprietor of the “Pastoral Times,” and a native of Deniliquin: - “DEAF, DUMB, AND BLIND” Nurse Wyse, formerly matron of the Bathurst District Hospital, who was one of the three nurses invalided home, told of a terrible experience which befell an Australian soldier. “The poor fellow,” she said, “was struck deaf, and dumb and blind during one of the fiercest stages of the fighting, when the big guns were vomiting death and destruction with terrific din. He was trying to crawl back to the lines, when a Turk was seen approaching him. Some of our boys saw what was going on, and, after finishing off the Turk, took his rifle from him, and subsequently presented it to their comrade.” It was six weeks before the unfortunate young man recovered. He was then quite cheerful, and he said he intended to go back to have his revenge. And I believe, too, that he is going back.” Quoting other instances, Nurse Wyse said that a soldier who had been wounded told her that, while he was lying helpless on the ground, he saw a Turk stealing up towards him. “I thought it was all over,” said the Australian, in relating his story, “but, strange to say, he merely took off my boots, and went away with them, without otherwise molesting me!” Amongst the men who came under the care of Nurse Wyse was the late Lieutenant Smith, of Newcastle, whom she met at Bathurst when he was in the office of the Clerk of Petty Sessions there. Young Smith, she said, was shot through a blood vessel in the arm, and lingered for a week, when he died “like the bravest of the brave.” While in Egypt, Nurse Wyse had a serious attack of pneumonia and pleurisy, and, although she came out on the Kyarra as an invalid, she was able to assist the seven nurses who came out on duty. The two worst cases on board were those of Lieutenant-Colonel Hawley, who was shot through the spine, and Captain Davis, who sustained a serious ankle wound. Both of thes officers belong to Tasmania. The Bathurst Times (NSW), Fri 10 Dec 1915 (p.3): CARCOAR, Thursday Nurse Vesta Wyse, who recently resigned from the staff of the Carcoar District Hospital, in order to take up a similar position at Tumut Hospital, left by Tuesday night’s mail train. Although Nurse Wyse had been in Carcoar for only five weeks, her bright genial disposition won for her much popularity. The members of the Hospital Committee and other representative townspeople assembled at the station to wish the nurse goodbye. It is interesting to note that Nurse Wyse is the twin sister of Matron Wyse, late of the Bathurst District Hospital. The latter lady resigned her position in order to proceed to the front as a Red Cross nurse. The ex-matron, as already known, was invalided home, and she is at present in Sydney. Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), Sun 2 Jan 1916 (p.5): THE WORLD AND HIS WIFE Gunner Davis, of the Randwick Base Hospital, made the presentation of a silver manicure set, on behalf of the patients in the convalescent ward, to Sister M. Wyse, on the eve of her departure to take up duties in Egypt. This is Sister Wyse’s second trip to Egypt. She was on duty early in the operations in the East at Heliopolis, and returned to Sydney on sick leave. She was on duty at Randwick Military Hospital for over three months. The Bathurst Times (NSW), Fri 7 Jan 1916 (p.2): In Friendship’s Name Nurse Wyse, who is well remembered as the late Matron of the Bathurst District Hospital, and who returned from Egypt some little time ago, will be leaving on the return trip to-day. Nurse Wyse is anxious that the names of all the Bathurst boys on service should be forwarded to Mr Veness at the Town Hall, or Mr Norman Suttor, of Rocket-street, in order that she may get in touch with them in Egypt and elsewhere. The Independent (Deniliquin, NSW), Fri 12 May 1916 (p.2): A SOLDIER’S DIARY (continued from last week) March 11 – ………………………..Went Helipolis, saw old camp, met Miss Myra Wyse and took her to tea. …………………………………. The Maitland Weekly Mercury (NSW), Sat 21 Oct 1916 (p.4): LOCAL NEWS The secretary to the West Maitland Mayoress’ Patriotic Committee (Miss Vera Markwell) has received the following letter from Sister Wyse, of No. 2 Australian General Hospital, Boulogne, France: - “I saw a very nice box opened last week for the Sisters, and was a lucky recipient of some of the contents, for which many thanks are due. The torches especially were appreciated, as we have all bought them here, and they (the French ones) do not seem to last very long. We are kept very busy, but longing to have all our own boys instead of a few. Most of our patients are “Tommies,” and our boys are going to various British hospitals to be nursed, chiefly by inexperienced V.A.Ds. It seems a shame when Australia has sent so many trained women over here. I wish we had som V.A.Ds here – they are very useful – but not to have charge of wards as they do in British hospitals on night duty. Our boys have done very well, and all are wonderfully cheerful, and don’t they appreciate coming home, as they call our hospital. Thanking you on behalf of the other Sisters, yours, Myra Wyse.” Gilgandra Weekly (NSW), Fri 19 Oct 1917 (p.7): MILITARY ENGAGEMENT The engagement is announced of Sister Myra Wyse and Major E.O. Milne, D.S.O. Miss Wyse will be remembered as a matron of the Bathurst Hospital, and resigned to go to the front, where she has done duty ever since. She is the daughter of Mrs Wyse of Bishop’s avenue, Randwick. Major Milne is the eldest son of the late Mr E. Milne, Deputy Chief Commissioner, formerly of Orange, and is on the headquarters staff of No. 1 Hospital at Harefield, England. The marriage takes place in England this month. Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), Sun 4 Nov 1917 (p.15): [photos of Myra & Edmund] http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/122800018 A ROMANTIC MARRIAGE MEET IN WAR ZONE HOSPITAL With the last mail news was received that the marriage was to take place at Harefield Church, near London, of Sister Myra Wyse, daughter of Mrs Wyse, of Oswestry, Randwick, Sydney, and Major E.O. Milne, son of the late Deputy Chief Commissioner of Railways (Mr E. Milne), and of Mrs Milne, of Ryde. Major Milne, who has been twice mentioned in despatches, and gained the D.S.O. He is now attached to the Headquarters Staff in France. The Major and his wife met at Boulogne, where Sister Wyse was attached to the casualty clearing station, just behind the lines. During three weeks’ furlough they met again in London, where they became engaged. They intended spending their honeymoon at Devon New Forest. Nurse Muriel Wyse, who is also on active service, was to be bridesmaid. Sister Wyse trained at the Sydney Hospital under Matron Creal, and enlisted from Bathurst, where she was matron. She was sent to Egypt, and came back to Sydney with the first batch of wounded. She returned to the front in January of last year, and went to France, where she had a strenuous time, often working in the mud, clad in a sou’-wester and gum boots. At one time she had the Kaiser’s cousin in her ward. Returning to England, Sister Wyse was with the Harefield Hospital, and she will take up motor ambulance work in England after her marriage. Major Milne has a brother, Captain Clarence Milne, on active service. The Sun (Sydney, NSW), Sun 11 Nov 1917 (p.15): MILNE – WYSE A military wedding of interest to Australians took place in Harefield Church, England, on November 2, when Sister Myra Wyse, daughter of Mrs Wyse, “Oswestry,” Randwick, was married to Major E.O. Milne, D.S.O., elder son of the late Deputy-Commissioner for New South Wales Railways. A Sydney clergyman, Padre Perry, performed the ceremony. Sister Muriel Wyse was bridesmaid, and was allowed to come over for the wedding from France, where she is nursing at No.25 General Hospital. Captain Clarence Milne, who was wounded, and is now convalescing in London, was best man. The bride was given away by Matron Gould, one time matron of Sydney Hospital. Sister Myra Wyse has seen three years active service, and has recently returned to England after five months strenuous activity at a casualty station in France. She was amongst the first women to go on last year’s battlefields, where most of the work was done in sou’-westers and soldiers boots. At one time she had in her ward an airman, the cousin of the Kaiser, who had been brought down wounded. Sister Wyse trained in Sydney, and was matron of Bathurst Hospital before leaving for the front, and is now stationed at Harefield. It is a curious incident that at Harefield she has met numbers of the soldiers who passed through her ward in the casualty station in France. Major Milne has been mentioned in despatches four times, and is at present on the Headquarters Staff, 4th Australian Division, France. The honeymoon is being spent in the south of Devon. Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW), Sat 15 Feb 1919 (p.2): The Return of Mrs E.O. Milne Among the passengers who landed from the Argyllshire on Friday was Mrs E.O. Milne, better known to members of the A.I.F. as Sister Myra Wyse. Mrs Milne, who was matron of Bathurst Hospital, left Sydney by the Kyarra in November 1914, and was first stationed at No. 2 A.G.H., Egypt. She unfortunately contracted septic pneumonia while at Mena Camp, 1915, and after a serious illness she was invalided to Australia but returned to duty in Jan., 1916. After a short time in Egypt, she was transferred to France, and was engaged at various places, including Marseilles, Boulogne, and Rouen. The horrors of the winter at Bapaume are still fresh in Mrs Milne’s memory. At the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station she had seven tents with 42 men in each. The station was adjacent to the rail head at Bapaume, and the Germans kept up a ceaseless shell fire, which proved most nerve wracking to both nurses and patients. “But the boys were wonderful,” says Mrs Milne. “Their appreciation for everything we did for them was the greatest recompense one could ask for.” After the fighting was over, and there was a certain amount of peace prevailing, the infantry men made a tennis court for the nurses right near the old German trenches, and this spot, where once such dreadful carnage had raged, witnessed heated games between nurses and men who were resting after the fray. Mrs Milne is the wife of Major E.O. Milne, D.S.O., Croix-de-Guerre, son of the late Mr Edmund Milne, Deputy Commissioner for Railways. Major Milne is an Anzac, and is now on his way home to Australia. The marriage took place from Harefield Hospital, England, where Mrs Milne was then stationed. For some time past Mrs Milne has been engaged in war work at the office of the British Ministry of Pensions, London. She left England on December 9. Referring to her quarantine experience Mrs Milne says – “What I felt most of all was our complete isolation on the Monday and Tuesday after the men left the ship. We received no letters or paper, and I know my mother posted more than 20 to me, none of which I have received.” Dances were organized on board the Argyllshire during her stay in the harbor, but as Mrs Milne was the only lady who danced she found this pastime rather a strenuous one. Mrs Milne has a sister still on active service – Sister Muriel Wyse, of No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station. The Sun (Sydney, NSW), Sun 30 Mar 1919 (p.13): THERE AND BACK – Nursing on the Other Side Paris has not spoiled her for Sydney, and Mrs Edmund Milne (better known to the boys as Sister Myra Wyse) avers that Sydney is the most delightful town to live in. Formerly matron of Bathurst Hospital, Sister Wyse left by the Kyarra (the first hospital ship) on November 25, and came back on the same ship with the first wounded from Gallipoli, in July, 1915. She was supposed to be on sick leave for pneumonia, but was on duty practically all the time. After four months at Randwick, Sister Wyse left on January, 1916, by the Themistocles, spent a month in Egypt then went on to France, to No.2 A.G.H., at Mousset, about eight miles from Marseilles. Three months on duty there, then the nurses divided up among the British hospitals, while No.2 A.G.H. was moving. Sister Wyse and two others spent six weeks at No.11 Stationary Hospital at Rouen. After six weeks they were transferred back to her original unit, in No.2 A.G.H., at Boulogne. A move on to No.3 A.C.C.s. at Ezaincourt came six months later, subsequently following on to Edgehill (near Albert), and Bapaume. In November, 1916, she visited London for the second time, and was on duty in a surgical ward at Harefield Hospital. Here, in November, 1917, she married Major Edmund Milne, D.S.O., son of a former New South Wales Railway Commissioner. Last year five months were spent doing clerical work in the British Ministry of Pensions, and then came the voyage home on the Argyllshire, and “It’s good to be back again in Sydney.” Those are the hard facts and dates of Mrs Milne’s travels – she herself rounds the corners and fills in the gaps with reminiscences of her experiences. HELPING COOK “At No.2 A.G.H., Boulogne, I did the cooking for 120 women, with the help of eight convalescent patients. The sisters used to put a little money into the mess for extras, and one of the much-appreciated luxuries were small hot cakes for morning tea. Otherwise there was just enough food to eke out. The boys loved helping, but they weren’t allowed to stay more than a month. They used to say that when they got back to good old Aussie and were asked, ‘What did you do in the great war?’ the reply would be, ‘Helped sister do the cooking.’ “We had a shocking time at Bapaume – shells shrieking and tearing through the air all the time. The clearing station was at the railhead and took in about 1500 men a day for about 14 days. The hospital train went every day, so the men were cleared out almost as quickly as they came in. There were seven tents under my care, with 42 men on stretchers on the floor in each tent. An orderly was in charge of each, and I used to have to rush through, and carried a hypodermic in my pocket all the time. FRITZ’S TONAL VALUE “The noise for nights beforehand was terrific, and at this time we were between five and eight miles from the front line. Hop-over was at 3.30 a.m., and we could hear our barrage going, then Fritz replying, and pandemonium reigned. There is quite a different sound between our barrage and that of Fritz. “We worked at top pressure for a couple of weeks, the reaction came, and when it was all over we felt tired out and fit for nothing Things were either busy or slack, so that there was always time to pick up. “At Bapaume there was no solid building at all, and the nearest town was Amiens, 30 miles away. The officers and men of the 58th Battalion Infantry made us a splendid tennis court, and used German wire for the fencing. “Anzac Headquarters and Birdwood’s staff were some miles behind, but ‘Birdie’ used to visit the patients every day. He had a wonderful memory, and invariably remembered if he had seen a man anywhere else. We had not time to go with him, so ‘Birdie’ used to wander round of his own and chat to the boys. FRONT BETTER THAN BASE “The organization in the front line is wonderful, and much better than at base. A higher scale of rations is allowed, and it seems a strange fact that the closer you get to the line so the food becomes better. We had everything possible for the boys – jellies, custards, and champagne – luxuries unobtainable at the base. There are good cooks, and every man is given hot soup when he comes in, and is made as comfortable as possible.” Mrs Milne came down from Bapaume to Boulogne in June, 1917, in the first leave train that left, and was the only woman on board. The train stopped at all the stations – or what remained of them – to pick up troops going on leave. From Boulogne to Folkestone the leave ship was escorted always by two destroyers and an airship, and the passengers wore their lifebelts all the time. All that was left of Pozieres when Mrs Milne passed it last was the tragic signpost and the Australian cemetery. Graves of Australians were even found in the German cemetery, and the cross bore the words “An Englander.” About 2000 women are employed in the British Ministry of Pensions, assessing pensions for the Tommies, and generally doing all the work. The women were of all ages and all nationalities, including several Australians. “About half the staff worked,” said Mrs Milne, “and half didn’t. But it became quite a by-word that the Australians always worked hard.” ON THE ARGYLLSHIRE Mrs Milne says the boys are not to blame for any of the Argyllshire trouble, and thinks they were tried beyond endurance. One of the many pinpricks – apart from bigger and more important matters – was the fact that the boys had no piano if they organized concerts on board, and were met with a refusal to lend the piano that was available. After seeing the splendid efficiency and organization of the Base Post-office in London, Mrs Milne is amazed at Webster’s system in Australia. It took 14 days for letters, newspapers, and telegrams to travel from Randwick – they reached her a week after she had arrived home. Letters addressed to her while she was in quarantine in Melbourne have not turned up yet. “I am quite sure now that all the delays and muddle regarding soldiers’ mail occurs at this end. And unfortunately here we have no redress or satisfaction.” The Independent (Deniliquin, NSW), Fri 18 Apr 1919 (p.2): Red Cross Society Reception to Military Nurse On Tuesday afternoon last, at the town hall (which was prettily decorated for the occasion), the president and members o the Red Cross Society entertained Mrs Milne (nee Nurse Myra Wyse), who, with her husband, Major E.O. Milne, D.S.O., C de G, has been paying a short visit to her native town. A most enjoyable musical programme, arranged by Miss Harrison, was contributed by the following ladies: - Mrs Sheldon, the Misses Branston, Simpson, Bouchier, Dunkley, and Harrison. Afternoon tea being dispensed, the President (Mrs Windeyer) warmly welcomed the guest and heartily congratulated her on her safe return, after long and noble service at the front. One of the society’s large silver badges was then presented to Mrs Milne as a memento of her home-coming, the company singing “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” In returning thanks, Mrs Milne spoke most appreciatively of the splendid work the Red Cross had done. The singing of Auld Lang Syne and God Save the King brought a very pleasant gathering to a close. Regret was expressed that Nurse Alma Bowtell, who had been invited as joint guest, was unable to be present, owing to her recall to Melbourne. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Thur 15 Nov 1951 (p. 16): Nursing Was “Hard” 65 Years Ago Memories of nursing at Sydney Hospital as far back as 1886 were recalled by at least one of the former trainees of the hospital who attended the annual reunion in the Nightingale Wing yesterday. …………………………………………………………………. Three women who roomed together when they began training in 1909 have attended every reunion since they left. They were Mrs R. Green, Mrs E.O. Milne, and Miss S. H. Durham. …………………………………………………………. [Sophie Hill Durham – Sister, AANS – emb 28/11/1914 on A55 Kyarra with 2nd AGH] The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Thur 13 Nov 1952 (p.5S): 1952 REUNION OF NURSES WHO SAILED IN KYARRA There will be 17 guests at the reunion of nurses who sailed in the Kyarra – first hospital ship to leave Australia in the 1914-18 war – to be held by Mrs E.O. Milne at her home at Strathfield on November 25, the 38th anniversary of the sailing. Mrs Milne trained at Sydney Hospital, and as Sister Myra Wyse, from Deniliquin, she sailed in the Kyarra. She met her future husband, now Colonel Milne, when she was serving on the Somme – “Ours was a behind-the-lines romance,” she said last night. The 1951 reunion was held at the Queen’s Club, when Miss Mattie Chisholm was hostess. Before that they had not met since Mrs Milne’s reunion dinner in 1943. Guests at this year’s party will each receive from Mrs Milne a copy of a letter she wrote describing the Kyarra’s voyage, and which was published in the A.T.N.A. journal. Mrs Milne goes every year to the Kyarra reunion in Melbourne on December 5. Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW), Wed 3 Dec 1952 (p.9): HOSTESS IN HOSPITAL Sydney – When 20 nurses who sailed in the Kyarra, the first Australian hospital ship in the 1914-18 war, arrived for a reunion party planned by Mrs E.O. Milne at her home at Strathfield, they found their hostess had fallen from a ladder and broken her thigh and was in the Repatriation Hospital, Concord. At Mrs Milne’s wish, the party went on, organized by her sisters, Mrs Alan Fraser and Miss Vesta Wyse. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Wed 24 Nov 1954 (p.21): “ANZAC AUNTIES” TO HOLD A REUNION TO-MORROW “The Anzac Aunties” or “The Six Bob-a-Day Tourists” will celebrate their 40th anniversary with an afternoon party and a cake with 40 candles tomorrow. It will be 40 years to the day that the SS Kyarra sailed from Sydney, with the first group of women to be called “Australian Army Nursing Service” aboard. “They called us the Anzac Aunties – or the Six-bob-a-day Tourists, because nobody thought when we left that it was going to be much of a war,” said Sister Bertha Parry last night. The nurses set up their first hospital at Mena House, near Cairo, and some of the “Aunties” (they wnet to the war as junior or senior sisters – no Army ranks for women in those days) went from the Middle East to France. Among them was the hostess of Thursday’s party, Mrs E.O. Milne – who has baked the 40-candle cake. Said Mrs Milne last night: “I’ve always tried to keep up these anniversary parties. And the day after ours I’m motoring to Melbourne for the anniversary there – they’ve always managed to keep it going. “Somehow the women in Melbourne don’t seem to age so quickly as in Sydney,” she added. Many of the women among the 20 or 22 expected at Thursday’s party, are grandmothers. Because, as Sister Parry, the retired secretary of St John Ambulance, explained: “In those days you couldn’t even start your training until you were 21. And we were fully trained when we left in 1914.” A grandfather, too, will be among the guests – Captain J. R. Marr, who was the Kyarra’s first officer in 1914. And, after the party, everybody will drink a glass of champagne – the anniversary gift of a soldier-patient who has never forgotten the first A.A.N.S. The Sydney Morning Herald, Jun 17, 1963 (p.25): DEATHS MILNE, Myra – June 15, 1963, at Repatriation Hospital, Concord, late of 36 Churchill Avenue, Strathfield, widow of the late Colonel Edmund Osborne Milne, aged 76 years. For Funeral notice see Wednesday’s “Herald.”