• Katie Rae Heriot

Army / Flying Corps
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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
Stories and comments
    • HERIOT, Katie Rae – Staff Nurse, QAIMNSR, (MID Jan 1916)
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 5 November 2018

    Katie was born in August 1883 at Williamstown, Vic – the second daughter of Andrew Simpson HERIOT and Catherine Isabella RAE, who married in Emerald Hill, Vic on the 3/10/1877 Residents of “Inverugie”, 59 Verdon St, Williamstown (1880s, 1930s) Andrew, a retired Ship Chandler, and past Mayor of Williamstown, President of the Williamstown Hospital, amongst other prominent roles in the community, died at his home Inverugie on the 5/10/1934, aged 82. Catherine died on the 23/3/1944 at Katie’s residence in Prahran, 2 months before her 90th birthday. Siblings (all born Williamstown: Eva Matilda b.1878 – marr (Rev) Alva L CLOYD 1/1/1910 Manila – d.16/3/1950; Andrew Simpson b.28/6/1880; Aubrey Martin 19/9/1885 – Engineer; Grace Jessie Buchan b.1887 – d.1947; *Francis William b.21/8/1890 – Mariner – marr Elsie May RICKWOOD 17/8/1916 SA – WW1: Lieut, RANR (HMAS Encounter) – WW2: Commander – d.14/9/1963; Rae b.1892 – Engineer – d.26/7/1965 Passed her Elementary Certificate on the Pianoforte in 1903 Member of the Williamstown Ladies’ Swimming Club (1903, 1905) Trained in nursing at the Homeopathic Hospital, Melbourne and the Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, passing her final exam for the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses Association in June 1911 Later on she held the post of acting matron at the Sydney Homoeopathic Hospital, followed by a position at the Fremantle Hospital, WA. Accepted as a member of the Royal British Nurses Association in Sept 1914 WW1 Service: Following a request from the Imperial Government, Katie was one of the nurses selected by the Department of Defence to join Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve. She returned to Melbourne from WA, where she embarked on the R.M.S. Orontes on the 14/4/1915. Having reached the English Channel, there was great anxiety on board when three German submarines were reported to be in the vicinity. That night they remained fully dressed with their lifebelts on hand, and fortunately disembarked safely on the 22/5/1915. She was posted to France on the 7/6/1915, arrriving at the 7th General Hospital on the 9/6/1915 Transferred to the Lahore (Isolation) British General Hospital, Calais on the 23/10/1915 Admitted to hospital with Influenza on the 6/2/1916 and then granted 3 weeks sick leave in England from the 29/2/1916 Posted to the 2nd Stationary Hospital in March 1916, then the 12th Casualty Clearing Station on the 9/4/1916, followed by the 13th General Hospital 10/11/1916 As she did not cope well with the cold in the north of France, she was then sent south to the Marseilles Stationary Hospital from the 28/11/1916 to the 16/11/1917, where she was in charge of the Theatre and Surgical Ward up until at least the 4/8/1917. During this time she was considered hard working and good tempered, bright, interested and kind; she also spent a week in hospital from the 2/2 to the 9/2/1917 and had 14 days Leave from the 3/10 to the 21/10/1917. Posted to the 5th Casualty Clearing Station 20/11/1917, and five days later on the 25th was admitted to the 8th General Hospital with a Debility. She was then transferred to the Convalescent Home at Etretat on the 29/11/1917 Joined the 8th General Hospital, Rouen, for duty on the 9/12/1917 and in March 1918 was employed in a special medical ward, where her work was noted as quite satisfactory, and she was described as a capable and reliable nurse, with a quiet manner who was kind to her patients. Resigned on completion of her contract 8/6/1918 in order to marry, and returned to England on the 9th Back in England whilst staying in the country, she had a bicycling accident on the 18th of June which rendered her unconscious; but didn’t see a Doctor until her return to London about 10 days later. When her transportation home was organised, she claimed she wasn’t fit to travel due to headaches and insomnia as a result of the accident. A Medical Board on the 2/8/1918 found that she was fit to travel and it was explained to her that if she didn’t agree to travel as soon as a passage was arranged, that she wouldn’t receive any pay or allowances until her date of embarkation, and if she refused to travel within six months she would forfeit her right to a return passage. While waiting to be repatriated, she spent a couple of weeks at the rest home for Australian nurses at St Albans in Hertfordshire, which was the home of the McIlwraiths of shipping fame. She eventually returned to Australia on the Runic, embarking on the 23/9/1918, and arriving in the Fremantle Harbour just as the Armistice was signed, where unfortunately they were left floating in quarantine due to the influenza outbreak Finally back home in Melbourne she was employed at the 5th Australian General Hospital, St Kilda Rd, and later at 16th AGH, MacLeod until late 1919 Married Walter Le Brun on the 21st of January 1920 at Scots Church, Collins St, Melbourne [Walter was born on the 23/10/1887 Hull, Yorkshire, England – the son of George John and Selina (nee Jones) – in 1911 he was registered with the NSW Register of Seamen as a First Mate; in 1913 as a Master – WW1: Merchant Seaman] The couple travelled to the UK in 1923 on the Hobsons’ Bay, arriving London 24/6/1923 – their address in England to be 48 Redbourne St, Hull Walter returned to Australia on the Esperance Bay, departing London on the 28/8/1923 1922, 1924 Electoral Rolls: 50 Verdon St, Williamstown – (Walter listed as master mariner) 1930, 1932 the couple were living in Hong Kong where Walter was engaged in the shipping trade 1938: Katie was evacuated from Shanghai via Hong Kong just prior to it being bombed by the Japanese 1944: 210 Punt Rd, Prahran 1954, 1972 ERs: 210 Punt Rd, Prahran Walter died in 1976, aged 88, and was cremated at Springvale on the 7/5/1976 and his ashes scattered Katie died on the 10th of November 1977 at East Brighton and was cremated at Springvale on the 15/11/1977 and her ashes scattered From her application for Repat in 1959: “I embarked on the ‘Orontes’ during March 1915, at Port Melbourne, with a number of other nurses for war service oversea. We disembarked at Tilbury, England, and later taken over by the War Office for service with the QAIMSR. I served in England and France for about 3½ years. I am unable to produce my certificate of war service. I returned to Port Melbourne on H.T. ‘Runic’ during October 1918, and later I was employed as a Staff Nurse at 5th AGH, St Kilda Road, Melbourne, and at 16th AGH MacLeod. I left 16th A.G.H. during late 1919.”] “Payment of War Gratuity was made to nurses who were selected in Australia and sent abroad in 1915 by the Department of Defence, at the request of the Imperial Government, to join the QAIMNSR.” Williamstown Chronicle (Vic), Sat 7 Mar 1896 (p.3): AQUATIC CARNIVAL The Williamstown baths presented a gay scene on Saturday afternoon, when the first carnival of the season was brought to a successful issue. The attendance must have exceeded 500 persons, ………… The Girls’ Race was most attractive, and with one exception the nine competitors were pupils of Mrs Strieff. Katie Heriot won from scratch with Ada Holmes second, and Ethel Burnett third. ………….. Punch (Melb, Vic), Thur 23 Feb 1905 (p.26): WILLIAMSTOWN LADIES’ SWIMMING MATCHES The Williamstown Ladies’ Swimming Club on Saturday last held their annual carnival. ………… The costumes and comicalities, the prize for which Mrs Swan donated, caused much merriment. Miss Lily Mitchell, as Mesphistopheles, in a tight fitting spies dress, with a well curled tail, and Miss Katie Heriot as an aboriginal, with her picaninny slung on her back, took first prizes, and ran dead heat in the race that followed. ……………………. Williamstown Advertiser (Vic), Sat 27 Mar 1915 (p.3): NOTES OF THE WEEK Miss Kate Heriot, daughter of the Mayor, left Perth for Williamstown on Wednesday and is expected to arrive here on Tuesday. Sister Heriot has volunteered as a nurse for the war and will leave with the medical officers by mail steamer. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Tue 30 Mar 1915 (p.6): Miss Katie Rae Heriot, daughter of the mayor of Williamstown (Councillor Heriot), has volunteered as a nurse for the war, and leaves by the RMS Malwa on Tuesday, April 6. Williamstown Advertiser (Vic), Sat 17 Apr 1915 (p.3): NOTES OF THE WEEK A few mothers of sons, who are now serving with the A.I.F. Forces, presented Miss K Heriot with the small gift of a gold locket and chain for two miniatures, on the occasion of her departure as an army nurse for Europe. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Tue 4 Jan 1916 (p.5): NURSES WIN HONOR FIRING LINE FACED [Photo] ……………………………………….. When bound for England she had a most exciting time on the Orontes. It was that eventful trip when the Orontes had to steer clear of a submarine which had manifested a warm interest in British ocean liners. For days and nights the passengers did not discard their lifebelts. ……………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/242402940 Williamstown Chronicle (Vic), Sat 8 Jan 1916 (p.2): Honor to Local Nurse MISS K.R. HERIOT MENTIONED Miss Kate Rose [sic] Heriot has been recommended by Field Marshal French for distinguished service. She is the daughter of Mr A.S. Heriot, of Nelson-place (ex Mayor). Prior to going to the front, Miss Heriot was a trainee at the Homoeopathic Hospital. She trained, too, at the Women’s Hospital. Later on she held the post of acting matron at the Sydney Homoeopathic Hospital. Then she went to West Australia. Here she became associated with the Fremantle Hospital. Her brother, Lieutenant F.W. Heriot, is with the Australian Navy. Miss Heriot, when her relatives last heard of her, had joined a special nursing unit at Lahore Hospital, Calais. It is known that last October she was in close proximity to the firing line, and was one of the British nurses working within this danger zone. When she left for France she was a member of the Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Reserve. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Wed 12 Jan 1916 (p.5): MISS K.R. HERIOT The news that Miss K.R. Heriot had been recommended by Field-Marshal Viscount French for distinguished service did not come altogether as a surprise to her relatives. For some time past her father, Mr A.S. Heriot (formerly Mayor of Williamstown), had known that his daughter had been selected for special army service. In October she was in the midst of the fray, working with a special army corps, close to the firing line in France. She was among the first Britiish nurses to undertake this dangerous duty. Miss Heriot was a trainee of the Homoepathic Hospital, Melbourne. She also acted for a time at the Homeopathic Hospital, Sydney. Some years ago Miss Heriot took a keen interest in aquatic sports, and was in the front rank of successful competitors at the swimming matches organised by various women’s clubs. Miss M.A. Raye, another Australian to win distinction, was at one time attached to the staff of St Ives Private Hospital here. Miss Margaret Cumming, whose name also appears in the honour list, was trained at Melbourne Hospital. Miss A Gabriell and Miss Nan Reay (daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel W.T. Reay) are in the honour list, and both trained here. The majority of nurses figuring on the honour list are members of the R.V.T.N.A. Williamstown Advertiser (Vic), Sat 4 Mar 1916 (p.2): The “British Australasian,” published in London, has a paragraph stating that “Sisters K. Heriot and O’Shea of the Australian Nursing Squad and the Queen Alexandra Imperial Service Reserve in France are at present in Scotland on furlough. Sister Heriot was recently mentioned in despatches by Sir John French.” Williamstown Advertiser (Vic), Sat 13 May 1916 (p.3): NOTES OF THE WEEK The friends of Sister K.R. Heriot will be pleased to learn that she is back again in France on active service. Nurse Heriot has been a patient in a hospital in France for about a month and was in London on sick leave for about the same period. Footscray Chronicle (Vic), Sat 16 Sept 1916 (p.2): Private G.J. Fenwick, a relative of Private “Jimmy” Mathews, the Australian cricketer, is reported wounded. The latter had also been a hospital inmate. There he met Nurse Heriot, daughter of ex-Cr. Heriot, who would not allow him to go without a parting gift of cigarettes. The Daily News (Perth, WA), Fri 29 Dec 1916 (p.3): Mainly About People Sister Katie Heriot, who is now attached to the 12th C.C.S. France, was in London on leave during last month. Kyneton Guardian (Vic), Sat 21 Apr 1917 (p.2): MOSTLY ABOUT PEOPLE Nurse Heriot and Chaplain General J.L. Rentoul The following incident is too good to drop into the limbo of oblivion, writes the Williamstown “Chronicle” of April 7. It appears that when the Rev. Dr. Rentoul, as Chaplain-General of the Presbyterian Church, was visiting the Anzacs in the trenches on the Somme, he was attacked by bronchitis and was promptly ordered to the rear for hospital treatment, where, on his admission, Nurse Katie Heriot was told off to attend him. The routine having been satisfactorily performed, the following dialogue ensued: – Dr Rentoul: “I am an Australian.” Nurse Heriot: “So am I.” Dr. R. (with astonishment): “I came from Melbourne.” Nurse: “So did I.” Dr. R: “Well, well, that is remarkable. What is your name, please?” Nurse: “My name is Heriot.” Dr. R: “Heriot, Heriot; say, please, are you related to the Rev. Fred. Heriot, that we have sent to work up the Northern Territory?” Nurse: “Yes, Fred. Heriot, I am proud to say, is my cousin.” Dr R: “Well, now, that is more remarkable still, and to think that we should meet here, and in such circumstances, proves the world to be a small place after all. “ Nurse Heriot is a daughter of Mr A.S. Heriot. Under her fostering and skilful care the renowned D.D. was soon made fit, fulfilled his mission, is back with us devoting himself to the work he is so well qualified to perform; and Nurse Heriot in the hospitals of France is still a ministering angel to the sick and wounded who have helped to “win the war.” Nurse Heriot is a niece of Mr and Mrs Heriot, of Kyneton railway station, and Rev. Fred Heriot is their son. Nurse Heriot was mentioned in despatches, our readers will remember. Table Talk (Melb, Vic), Thur 18 Jul 1918 (p.27): LADIES’ LETTER [Photo] Sister K.R. Heriot, who was one of the first Australian nurses to win a decoration, in a letter to her father, Mr A.S. Heriot, of Williamstown, gives a little glimpse of France and its people which is so appropriate during this French appeal week that I cannot resist quoting it. It was written on May 23, when fighting was so heavy over there. Sister Heriot, who has been on active service for the last three years, writes: “The weather is very warm now; the nights and mornings are just lovely. When I waken early enough in the mornings I hear the cuckoo and various other birds in the trees. They are plucky to sing in this troubled country. I sometimes think lots of the birds are like the peasants – refugees. It is a common sight to see families coming along the road, all their worldly goods stacked in some sort of a cart or dray; probably their homes have been blown to bits and they have escaped with their lives. There are thousands of them in this area, and they never know the day or hour they will have to fly from here. It is very pathetic. The French and Flemish people really deserve a lot of sympathy and help. The most awful fighting is and has been on their beloved country.” Sister Heriot, although Australian born – her native place being the picturesque old-world suburb of Williamstown, where her parents still reside – is serving with the Q.A.I.M.N.S.R., which mysterious set of initials mean Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve. Trained at the Homoeopathic Hospital, Miss Heriot gained a fine reputation as a nurse, and was holding a good position in Western Australia when a cablegram was received there in 1915 from the Imperial authorities asking for ten special nurses. Sister Heriot was one who volunteered then, and won her distinction in 1915, her name being published among the New Year list of honors, when her father was Mayor of Williamstown. In this same letter she mentions our first V.C., saying: “We have Captain Jacka, V.C., M.C., M.M. who has been wounded three times. He has a dose of gas this time – not very bad. He is a very unassuming young man, and we are very proud of him; he must be thoroughly fearless.” Sister Heriot has two brothers at the front in the A.I.F. Williamstown Advertiser (Vic), Sat 12 Oct 1918 (p.3): Notes of the Week It will be interesting for the friends of Sister K.S. Heriot to learn that a letter dated August 15th from London to her parents states: – “I am going into the country on Saturday to stay for a couple of weeks at a place called St Albans, Hertfordshire, the home of the McIlwraiths, of shipping fame. They have given their place as a rest home for Australian Sisters.” Sister Heriot, who was mentioned by Sir John French, with others, for gallantry of service in 1915, will be returning to Australia the first opportunity the Admiralty can arrange. Williamstown Advertiser (Vic), Sat 7 Dec 1918 (p.2): A welcome home to Nurse Heriot on her return from the front has been arranged for this afternoon (Saturday) at Red Cross hall at 3 p.m. by Red Cross Society, when all workers and friends are invited to be present. Williamstown Chronicle (Vic), Sat 7 Dec 1918 (p.3): RETURNING ANZACS WARMLY WELCOMED HOME The city welcome at the Sturt street depot over, last Monday morning the Williamstown section of returnees was picked up at that point by local motor car owners (Captains Strickland and Rattey, Crs. Pincott and Whitwam, Messrs. D. Gray, W. Dalton, F.S. Young and A. Prideaux). The local campaigners included: Nurse Kate Heriot, ………………………………. The local cars journeyed across Queen’s Bridge, along the Short road to the Council ferry, which was profusely bedecked with flags. At intervals along the route, main points showed stretches of bunting across the streets. All through the morning the weather had been blustering, raising the dust. Although perhaps the novelty of an Anzac welcoming had worn off somewhat, nevertheless it was evident by the almost continuous huzzas along the main Newport artery that the townsfolk retained the patriotic sentiment, for wherever the crowd at the corner did congregate the pent-up enthusiasm showed itself equally keen. The same route was gone over as on the previous occasion. Altogether eleven cars had made up the procession. The children of St Mary’s R.C. school were marching towards the new municipal chambers, in charge of Warrant Officer Dorgan, just as the clouds began to open in earnest. But by the time they had taken shelter beneath friendly walls the sleet was coming down in torrents. Many people about were asking why it was that the doors of the new Council Chambers could not be thrown open, or the Theatre? ……………………………. As the cars drew up in file, Conductor A. Fowler, from the impromptu platform, held a tight grip on his umbrella with one hand while he wielded his baton with the other, and led the opening stanzas of “God save the King.” Amid the descending rain the Mayoress stepped forward and presented Nurse Heriot with a beautiful posey of very choice flowers. With the elements decidedly in opposition the Mayor wisely resolved to refrain from any speechmaking, beyond the formal welcome to the returnees, who were shortly after driven off to their respective homes. …………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/69681967 Footscray Chronicle (Vic), Sat 14 Dec 1918 (p.2): “AT HOME” TO SISTER K. HERIOT An “At Home” was given by the workers of the local Red Cross Society last Saturday afternoon at the Red Cross hall to welcome Sister Heriot on her return from the front after over three and a half years’ active service. The hall, which was tastefully decorated with flags of the Allies and pot plants, was crowded with friends eager to meet and congratulate her on her splendid work. The sister was received by the Mayor (Cr Dennis) who welcomed and congratulated her on her safe return to her native town. Mr James Hall (vice-president of the Society) also spoke at length on the noble work that Sister Heriot had performed. Mr Voight (chairman of the society), on behalf of Red Cross workers, presented the sister with a handsome jewel case as a memento of the occasion. Captain Strickland also spoke on Red Cross work, and Mr A.S. Heriot, feelingly replied on behalf of his daughter. Miss Ada Browne had charge of the musical portion of the programme, and a number of enjoyable items were rendered by the Misses Dorgan and Phillips and Messrs Davey and Sullivan, assisted by Miss Linton’s mandoline party, and a recitation by Miss Elsie Kilgour, “The Red Cross Bloke,” who also gave by special request “When are you going away?” Afternoon tea was then served by the ladies, and the visitors given an opportunity of meeting Sister Heriot and chatting with her on her wonderful experiences. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Sat 1 Feb 1919 (p.1): PERSONAL Nurse Kate Heriot, of Williamstown, who recently returned from the front after three years’ active service, has taken up duty at the Base Hospital. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 28 Feb 1920 (p.13): MARRIAGES LE BRUN – HERIOT – On the 21st January, at Scots Church, Collins street, by the Rev. Dr. Marshall, assisted by the Rev. A.L. Cloyd, B.A., B.D. (brother-in-law of the bride), Walter, second son of G.J. Le Brun and the late Mrs Le Brun, of Hull, Yorkshire, to Katie Rae, second daughter of Mr and Mrs A.W. Heriot, of Williamstown. Williamstown Chronicle (Vic), Sat 19 Feb 1921 (p.2): Miss Kate R. Heriot, of Verdon-street, was this week the recipient from the Secretary of State for War of a certificate issued by Field Marshal Sir John French, dated November 30, 1915, “for excellent and distinguished services in the field.” A portion of the lettering read: “I have had command from the King to record His Majesty’s high appreciation of services rendered.” Naturally, our gallant townswoman is pardonably proud of this mark of Royal favour. From 194 to 1918 she was a member of the nursing staff of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Hospital. Williamstown Chronicle (Vic), Sat 12 Jul 1930 (p.3): PERSONAL Mrs Le Brun (daughter of Mr and Mrs A.S. Heriot, Verdon street), left for Hong Kong on Thursday, where her husband Captain Le Brun, is engaged in the shipping trade. Williamstown Chronicle (Vic), Sat 23 Jan 1932 (p.3): CONCENTRATES It may be of interest to Sister Heriot’s friends to learn that she is now Mrs Walter Le Brun, and that she and her husband are living in Hong Kong, and both are well. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Tue 8 Feb 1938 (p.6): REFUGEES FROM SHANGHAI Tell of Horrors of Bombed City Refugees from the bombing of Shanghai – a man, two women, and two children – reached Melbourne yesterday in the liner Neptuna from Hong Kong. They were Mr and Mrs L.A. Falkner, their children Jacqueling and Roger, and Mrs W. Le Brun. Mrs Le Brun was evacuated from Shanghai half an hour before terrific havoc was done by the Japanese bombs. She travelled in a ship to Hong Kong with 1,400 women and children. …………………………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11146807