• Ethel Beatrice May Wilkins

Army / Flying Corps
  • Other
  • Australian Army Nursing Service
    Unknown
    Unknown

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Birth

    Newlyn, VIC, Australia

Stories and comments
    • WILKINS, Ethel Beatrice May – Staff Nurse, AANS / QAIMNSR
    • Posted by FrevFord, Thursday, 5 March 2015

    Married Frederick James BEASLEY (MID), S/Sgt 3526, 27th ASC, on the 6/11/1917 in Wandsworth, England Ethel was born 26/2/1875 at Newlyn, Vic (reg. Creswick) – daughter of Frank WILKINS and Susan HOOPER – who married in Vic in 1868 Frank, born in Adelaide, was a Grocer Susan died 25/8/1915 at her son’s residence in Kensington (while Ethel was in Egypt) Siblings: Arthur Charles b.1869 Creswick – d.1898 Kingston (age29); Beatrice Louisa b.1871 – d.1874 Newlyn (age 3); Estella Mabel b.1877 Kingston – marr CLAYTON – d.1934; Hilda Florence b.1879 – marr WILLIAMS – d.1966; Frank Theodore Hooper b.1883 – d.1971, age 89; Henry Thomas Vic b.1885 – d.1957, age 72 Methodist Trained at Melbourne Hospital – 3yrs – Sept 1st 1899 to Oct 1902 – resigning 14/10/1902 Sister in charge of nursing staff, Bethesda Private Hospital, Richmond for 4½ years (4yrs training probationers) Private Nursing – 2 years Registered as a member of the RVTNA 9/3/1911 (Infectious Nursing) Matron of the European Hospital, Port Moresby, Papua for 3yrs from April 1912, having arrived by the Mataram 10/4/1912 Initially resigned Oct 1914, but withdrew resignation – granted leave May 1915 to enlist for active service WW1: Joined the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) as a Staff Nurse Embarked 17/06/1915 on the A62 Wandilla for Egypt with reinforcements for the 1st AGH Transferred to the 21st General Hospital, Ras-el-tin, Alexandria – night duty, July 1915 From a letter to one of her sisters, dated 11/8/1915: “In my ward here I have 52 beds, one bed empty to-night. They all have typhoid. I am doing duty with one orderly to help me; so you might know I have not any time to waste.” Hospital Ship Assaye from Sept 1915, carrying Gallipoli sick and wounded to Egypt Excerpt from a letter dated 7/9/1915: “The previous day the nine nurses were given their wards to fix up. She had 102 beds, and had three orderlies to assist her. She believes the work is terrible whilst it lasts.” Embarked at Alexandria on Salta, to join the BEF – disembarked Marseilles 6/4/1916 and posted to 26th General Hospital Attached to No.1 ACCS 25/5/1916 – night duty Excerpt from a letter dated 29/5/1916: “If only I had the gift to describe this awful place. It is bang, bang, bang, all day and night. The building vibrates and all the windows rattle with the report from the terrible guns. We get the aircraft going in great style. We have seen as many as nine German Taubes and 10 of our own airships at it at once. This war is the most wicked thing that ever has been; strong young manhood slaughtered like flies; the sights we see can never be forgotten for many long years. In our clearing station the stretchers are wedged closely together; there is scarcely any room between them; all the space is required for poor mown-down men. It is a good thing I am thin and able to go up sideways to attend to my patients; fat nurses would never get between the stretchers. On coming to a ward first you feel nearly helpless to do what one would like; the work is terrific. We are only two-and-a-half miles from the trenches.” Detached and proceeded to join 1st AGH, Rouen 16/9/1916 Leave 12/3/1917 – 28/3/1917 Transferred to England 16/10/1917 and granted 14 days furlo Resigned from the AANS 6/11/1917 in consequence of marriage Reference from Matron-in-Chief, AANS, Grace M. Wilson, dated 11/12/1917 (p.37 QA SR): “This is to certify that Mrs Beasley has been a member of the Australian Army Nursing Service since 17-6-15, and has served in Egypt and France. Her record is good, and her reason for leaving the service is that our regulations require all nurses to leave the service on the day of their marriage.” Married Frederick James BEASLEY (MID), S/Sgt 3526, 27th ASC, on the 6/11/1917 in Wandsworth, England Nursing at “Crescent House” Convalescent Home, Marine Parade, Brighton, England in April 1918 when she applied, and was accepted, to join the QAIMNSR. Letter to the Matron-in-Chief, QAIMNS, dated 27/4/1918 (p.33 QA SR): “Dear Madam In reply to your letter of the 26th inst., I desire to thank yo for accepting my services and beg to state that the earliest date in which I can join for duty will be Tuesday, May 14th. I am willing to sign an agreement to serve for the duration of the war. As I am the only nurse in this Convalescent Home, I shall be glad to know as soon as possible when my services might be required, so that the Authorities might have time to supply my place. Kindly give me details as to uniform and say if I may purchase it in Brighton. I remain, yours faithfully, Ethel B.M. Beasley.” Joined the QAIMNSR as a Staff Nurse 9/5/1918 and posted to Queen’s Hospital, Frognal, Sidcup, England From a letter home to one of her sisters, 1918: “This place is, or was, the country home of some Lord. Everything is beautiful here, and the grounds around the house are perfect. This is a special hospital set apart for all wounds of the face and jaw, and there are two wards each for the various Colonial soldiers. There are two wards for New Zealanders, two for Canadians, and two for Australians; the rest for Tommies. Strange to say, I am put in the Australian wards, and there are some Australian medical officers.” Matron’s Report, Queen’s Hospital, Sidcup, 15/11/19 (p.15 SR): “Mrs Beasley has served in the Hospital from May 9th 1918 to the present date. During this period she has rendered very good service. Her conduct & manner have been exemplary. She is quite suitable for re-employment in a Military Hospital. She is being repatriated to Australia on Nov 22nd /19 by the Australian Authorities.” RTA 22/11/1919 on the Aeneas – arriving Melbourne 9/1/1920 Living Toolern Vale, Vic 1920 Ethel died 20/1/1948 at Richmond, Vic, age 72 – cremated 22/1/1948 at Springvale Cemetery, and her ashes placed in the Tristania Rose Tree Garden F3, Bed 10, Rose 38 Frederick was born 1881 in Kingston, Vic – son of William BEASLEY (b.Warwickshire) and Amanda RICKARD – who married in Vic in 1870 Blacksmith WW1: 6th Bn, 27th ASC, 4th Div Train Wheeler Staff-Sergeant 29/9/1918 RTA on Beltana 2/6/1919 – 19/7/19 Frederick died in March 1964 at Ballarat, age 83 and was also cremated at Springvale (12/3/1964) – his ashes placed with his wife. Creswick Advertiser (Vic), Tue 28 Sept 1915 (p.2): NURSE’S LETTER Very interesting letters have been received from Egypt from Nurse E. Wilkins, who received her early training in the Creswick Hospital, and afterwards did duty in Papua. Mr J. Williams, of Newlyn, a brother-in-law of Nurse Wilkins, has placed these letters at our disposal. Under date 2nd July, Nurse Wilkins describes her landing in Egypt. They came in touch with Red Cross Samaritans at Suez, who made tea for them and gave them cakes. From her bedroom door Nurse Wilkins could see the Pyramids. In our school days we read about them, but they seemed to be in another globe, and to visit or see them was never dreamed of. The No. 1 Australian General Hospital, where she was then stationed, was simply a palace; there was nothing like it in Melbourne. She did not know how many nurses were in the hospital, but there were 36 on the boat she arrived by, and 16 on the other boat, making 52 new ones, and she thought the staff before she arrived must have comprised about that number. There was nothing to be seen but soldiers, nurses, Red Cross ambulances, and dust. She had met some of the doctors she knew. The night sister told her it took two hours to go around the different wards and read the reports. The letter was finished in Alexandria, Nurse Wilkins having been transferred to the 21st General Hospital, Ras-el-tin, Alexandria, and placed on night duty. On the 6th August, Nurse Wilkins writes of her work in the hospital, and states nurses were badly wanted; there was work for hundreds more. She spoke of patients under her care of whom she had heard, and mentioned Private Gribble, Gribble and Co., tailors, Ballarat. The night nurses go down for supper at 12 p.m., and at 3 a.m. they have a cup of tea and a biscuit, then breakfast at 7.45 a.m. They would not get rich in Egypt; board being £1 1s per week and washing 10s per month. Those in Australia can form no conception of the amount of work there is to do. Hospital ships come in almost daily and carry hundreds of patients. She was glad to keep well, for the work the nurses do is enormous. Nurse Wilkins writes on the 11th August, as follows: - “You cannot form any idea of the horrors of war. What a wicked thing it is. To-night patients are arriving by scores; there is a constant stream of motor ambulances, carrying four patients each. They are coming in as fast as they can. In this building last night there were 1340 patients. I do not know how the numbers will be after all are counted up by tomorrow morning. Day nurses are still working, and will be so nearly all night; the work is tremendous. From my ward verandah I can see all the patients as they arrive. I am wondering if any are there whom we know. As far as I can see from my verandah there are 10 tents erected, holding 16 beds each. There are many other tents, but I cannot count them. I can only just see the tops of them. All the verandahs are lined with beds. In this immense building (and it is a big place) there are beds everywhere filled with patients, and you must remember this is only one hospital in Alexandria. This is the 21st, so you can just try and picture the other hospitals in the city. In Cairo it is just the same. Factories, places of amusement, etc., are turned into hospitals, and are filled with sick and wounded. In my ward here I have 52 beds, one bed empty to-night. They all have typhoid. I am doing duty with one orderly to help me; so you might know I have not any time to waste. I cannot tell you the full number of deaths that occur, but know three died in one ward to-day, and two days ago there were 11 deaths in the building in one day. I just feel I would like to write to all the mothers of my patients and tell them their boys are doing well; some of them are just young lads, two are 19 only. They tell terrible tales of the war, the poor boys have had fearful experiences. I took a few photos this morning, I shall send them in to be developed and printed, and shall send one of each if they are any good. They are views of this place, some of the tents, rows of patients, etc. To-day has been some holiday in Egypt. They say it is Christmas day. Flags are flying everywhere, children seem to be dressed gaily, and playing about in the street. August 12th – Have just returned to ward after having had cup of tea. The night superintendent just told me 200 patients were admitted to-day and 300 are coming in to-morrow morning, and three hospital ships are to unload. Isn’t it awful? August 14th – Another attempt to write. This is one of the saddest places in the world. Over 200 patients were admitted again this evening. They are put anywhere – verandahs, tents and every space available are filled with wounded. Day nurses are working 16 hours each, and we night nurses are helping after we finish in our own wards. We have breakfast at 7.30, and then get to the busiest part of the building to assist for two or three hours before going to bed. This morning I dressed three horrible wounds. Men were leaving hospital to go back to England. After that I prepared 24 patients for the doctor’s visit. The wounds are terrible to see. Poor men! You at home can not have any idea what this fearful war means. There are only 13 night nurses, so you can form an idea what it means to be responsible for about 1300 to 1350 or even more, patients. Wherever you look there are stretchers with men on. A day ago five men were brought in from the hospital ship dead. How very sad for all their friends. There is a notice up to-day that nurses are not allowed any time off duty, if they are a little bit slack in their own wards, they are to go and assist somewhere else. I am enclosing a snap shot of myself and two other nurses in my ward. I was just finishing up my work when the day nurse came on duty. One is an English sister. They have grey capes with a red border; ours are all red capes. A night nurse took the snap. Yesterday I paid a visit to 17th Hospital. It is another immense building, and they have very large tents, dozens of them, erected. There are some lovely homes in Alexandria; they are built on the road out along the Nile. August 15th – To-day Mr Westwood and I drove out to see the catacombs. It is very wonderful to see great subterranean passages hewn out of a huge rock. The ancient kings and queens are buried there. These catacombs were made about 2000 years before Christ. Our doctor has just told me there are 2000 patients in the hospital ships here waiting to unload. Six trains have just gone down to Cairo with wounded. One wonders why such a war is permitted. Creswick Advertiser (Vic), Fri 29 Oct 1915 (p.3): NURSE’S LETTERS Nurse E. Wilkins, formerly of Newlyn, who is nursing the Australian wounded, writes to her relatives from Alexandria, Egypt. Under date 20th August, she deplores the fact that letters intended for her have gone astray. She states that she now has a fresh lodging house, being at what is called the New Kedivial Hotel, in the city. The nurses either take a tram, or else a motor comes for them morning and evening. They had their board paid for, so the only thing they pay for is their washing. She enclosed several photos, she had taken. Many of her patients are only young lads, and it sounds thrilling to hear them talking aeroplane fights, naval battles, torpedoes blowing up boats, etc. Two of the patients were on the Majestic when she was destroyed by a torpedo. On the 23rd August, Nurse Wilkins wrote that two of the nurses got word that night to be ready to go on the transports the following day; they would be going across to Lemnos Island on hospital ships. She believed the Australian boys were having a terrible time on Gallipoli. She had a number of badges, etc., patients had given her, and would have an interesting collection to show them when she returned. Continuing the letter on 27th August, Nurse Wilkins states it is interesting to hear the soldiers’ tales of the things they have witnessed. That night she got a paper – the first news of any kind she had received from Australia. All the convalescent patients dress up in red, white and blue – blue pants, white shirts, and red ties; they look so patriotic. Hundreds of wounded continue to arrive; it is a sad place to be in. The nurses now have a Red Cross ambulance wagon calling for them. She enclosed cards given her by a patient, who came off the Irresistible, which was torpedoed in the Dardanelles. He said the shock was terrible. In the hospital she was in they had nurses from England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and her room-mate was a New Zealander. All the nurses have the photography craze; there are cameras by the score. She thought she had visited nearly all the places of interest. On the 31st August she wrote that the matron had told her to pack up and be ready for duty. Another Melbourne Nurse (Sister Bromley) was going with her. Nurse Wilkins’ next letter was written on the 2nd September, on board a hospital ship, which was to sail three days later. She was glad to have been chosen, there was staff of nine nurses. She believed the work with the wounded returning is tremendous. She wished the war would soon end. She was perfectly well, and felt fit for hard work. The next letter was written on the 7th September, on the hospital ship. Nurse Wilkins said they left Alexandria at 2.30 p.m. on the Sunday, and reached the Island of Lemnos about 12 a.m. that day (Tuesday). On the Sunday afternoon they passed the Sunbeam, the little yacht belonging to Lord Brassey, which is fitted up as a hospital ship. One of the doctors told her he had travelled on it from Gallipoli to Malta. It was very comfortable, although small and carried about 12 patients. Lord Brassey himself travelled on it. The previous day the nine nurses were given their wards to fix up. She had 102 beds, and had three orderlies to assist her. She believes the work is terrible whilst it lasts. There were beds there for nearly 400 patients, but they usually carry 800 patients, putting them in every corner of the ship. There are over a dozen hospital ships in use. That morning they had fire practice; every soul on board has a boat allotted to him or her, and when a bell sounds each get a life belt and run to their boat. The previous day they passed the spot where the King Edward was torpedoed. On the 7th September they landed at Lemnos Island and waited for fresh orders. They were then ordered to proceed to the Island of Imbros for 840 patients. They could see the Peninsula of Gallipoli distinctly, saw aeroplanes, and heard guns firing. They got their load of sick and at time of writing were on their way to Lemnos to leave them there at the hospital, and then return for more. Poor men; thay haven’t had a wash for weeks. While waiting at Imbros for a ship they were kept in tents, and the hospital erected at Lemnos is not much better than tents; in fact many tents are used, but in addition there is a structure which had been put up in a great hurry. Writing on the 10th September, Nurse Wilkins states that they did not leave their patients at Lemnos, for after getting there they had orders to take them on to Alexandria. When at Lemnos they saw the largest hospital ship in the world, and also the largest transport. After they got rid of their patients the following day they would be returning for more. Creswick Advertiser (Vic), Fri 29 Oct 1915 (p.2): …………………………………………………………………………. We cannot do better than quote a portion of a letter written by Nurse Ethel Wilkins, who is well known in this district, and who has been attending to the wounded and sick soldiers, both in Egypt and on the hospital ships. Nurse Wilkins wrote: - “If the Red Cross people could only see how the poor men love a pair of pyjamas, fresh socks, clean handkerchiefs, fresh soap, comb, papers, books, cigarettes, writing paper, and a dozen other things, they would be amply rewarded for all their trouble. These men just live like animals in their trenches. You would grieve to see them. I’m sure you would hardly know your own brother.” http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/119523193 Creswick Advertiser (Vic), Fri 14 Jul 1916 (p.2): WITH THE AUSTRALIAN TROOPS NURSE’S LETTER Sister Ethel Wilkins, who is well known throughout the Newlyn and Creswick districts, is now at the No. 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, A.I.F., in France, and to her sister, Mrs J.H. Williams, of Newlyn, she had written some decidedly interesting letters from a spot in close proximity to the firing line in France. We have been favored with a couple of these letters for publication. Sister Wilkins writes under date May 26, and states that she wrote the previous day to the effect that she was leaving her last hospital for some place then unknown. She continues: - “We left the 20th [sic] General Hospital at 7.30, and at 4 p.m. found ourselves at above address. You will be as wise as ever as to what part of France I am in, but I might tell you we are near the firing line, only 4 miles away! We can hear the awful row the guns make, and see the flashes at night. We are all provided with gas helmets in case of a gas attack. We carry these helmets with us wherever we go, and at night put them under our pillows. We are not on duty to-day, as our luggage did not come by the same train. There are 7 of us. We are the first sisters here, and are the only sisters who have been so near the firing line in France. France is a beautiful country. There are lovely green fields, plenty of wild flowers, and most glorious woods about. The little French children gather around us, I don’t know what they think we are, but they seem to imagine we are different from anything they have ever seen. I would send you post cards of the place if it were allowed, but that is against rules, so when I return home, which I trust will be soon, I shall have a good collection to show you. I am keeping very well, but sometimes I get very tired; will be thankful to have a good rest when peace is declared. I feel so sorry for our boys. War is a cruel thing. We have since been told we are only two-and-a-half miles away from the firing line. I hope the Germans do not shell us.” On the 29th May, Sister Wilkins writes: - “At last I got my letters from dear old Australia. You have no idea what letters mean to us when away from loved ones, and mixed up with dozens of strangers. I am sure many of my letters go astray. How I would love all my friends to have those printed envelopes; they always seem to find me without any trouble. I wrote you a few hurried lines the other day saying I was at the above address. If only I had the gift to describe this awful place. It is bang, bang, bang, all day and night. The building vibrates and all the windows rattle with the report from the terrible guns. We get the aircraft going in great style. We have seen as many as nine German Taubes and 10 of our own airships at it at once. This war is the most wicked thing that ever has been; strong young manhood slaughtered like flies; the sights we see can never be forgotten for many long years. In our clearing station the stretchers are wedged closely together; there is scarcely any room between them; all the space is required for poor mown-down men. It is a good thing I am thin and able to go up sideways to attend to my patients; fat nurses would never get between the stretchers. On coming to a ward first you feel nearly helpless to do what one would like; the work is terrific. We are only two-and-a-half miles from the trenches. The patients, on being wounded, are first attended to on the field, then taken to a field ambulance, then sent along here; we keep them for a day or two, then send them by hospital trains to a general hospital. We receive and evacuate as quickly as possible. To-night there was a fearful bombardment; it seemed as if all the town was being shelled. Anyhow we had word to squeeze in more stretchers, if that is possible. Must close for the time; patients arriving.” Continuing her letter the following day, Sister Wilkins gave a vivid pen picture of a clearing station after a bombardment, and goes on to say: “Last night – awful night – has passed away, and with it precious young lives also. Can I ever forget the dreadful bombardment? Our poor wounded Australians just poured into the place. How I wish it were possible to remember their names, or get their addresses so as to be able to tell their friends just a little of the marvelous way they bear their sufferings, but that is out of the question; we only get to know their names by seeing the discs. You in peaceful Australia can form no idea of this place. I and another sister are doing night duty. The boys are such good patients; I will never forget them. They always think the man in the next bed is far worse, and if one man has 10 minutes sleep he says he has had a beautiful night. The clearing station is an old school. We occupy the right and left, and the children are in the centre. It is a very old building, but meets the need. A little while ago there was a gas alarm, and all the children were hurried off to our upper ward with their gas helmets on. I think I told you we carry them about with us in case of an attack. We are the first and only sisters (and there are seven of us) to be in a clearing station. It was not considered safe. Our nurses’ home is about five minutes walk from the building, so we always carry what money we possess on us, because of the danger of the town being entered by the Huns, or by bombs dropping from Zeps. We wouldn’t have time to run and get our few valuables, so just that we can have a FI or so we wear it. There is the possibility, of course, of being struck, then as one would I imagine, we and our cash would be blown asunder. We have our meals in a tent. Really, we can do anything now, but I tell you when I get back home again, I shall appreciate home comforts. Germans were in this town about 12 months ago, and in this very house we sleep in. They were driven back, of course. I did manage to have a few minutes conversation with one poor man; he comes from Northcote and belongs to the Methodist church; his name is Hedley Tomkins. There is a lot I could write. I should be sleeping now, but one cannot sleep too well in the day time, so I am going to finish this letter.” At the conclusion of her letter Sister Wilkins desires to be reminded to all enquiring friends. Creswick Advertiser (Vic), Fri 19 Jul 1918 (p.2): WITH THE AUSTRALIAN TROOPS NURSE’S LETTER Mr and Mrs J.H. Williams, of Newlyn, have received a letter from Sister Ethel Beasley, formerly a nurse with the Australian troops abroad. She married Mr Fred Beasley, of Kingston, who is on active service, and as a consequence had to leave the Australian Nursing Service, but has now joined up with the Imperial Government. Sister Beasley wrote from the Queen’s Hospital, Frognal, Sidcup, England, on the 13th May, as under: - I cannot remember whether I told you that I was thinking of going back to the military or not. Anyhow, here I am, and well in it too. I found out that the English Government would take married sisters, so I applied and was accepted at once. It was all done in about three weeks. I came on to the above place last week. It is a few miles out of London; takes about 35 or 40 minutes to the metropolis. We are about two miles from the railway station of Sidcup, but the country is absolutely charming. This place is, or was, the country home of some Lord. Everything is beautiful here, and the grounds around the house are perfect. This is a special hospital set apart for all wounds of the face and jaw, and there are two wards each for the various Colonial soldiers. There are two wards for New Zealanders, two for Canadians, and two for Australians; the rest for Tommies. Strange to say, I am put in the Australian wards, and there are some Australian medical officers. One of the Creswick Lindsay boys is here on the staff. I feel very much at home here. The country here is beautiful; every morning at daylight I hear the cuckoos in the trees. I joined the best nursing service. It is called “Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.” Queen Alexandra was here last week seeing the boys; she came before I got here, so I did not see her. I saw Princess Christian the other day; she was visiting the hospital. There are some fearful disfigurements here. Poor men have only parts of a face, but it is marvelous how they are patched up. The doctors make a special study now to put on new noses, new mouths, etc. The naval men off the war ships are sent here also for facial or jaw repairs. I certainly loved the Convalescent Home at Brighton, and the matron there was a real dear, but I thought I could do better work amongst the soldiers, so thought I would offer my services. However, I was accepted without any trouble. It is three years next month since I left home. Can you ever think how long it will be before we get home? The buses run to London from here, and the fare (single) is only 7d, so if I feel inclined I can go in occasionally when I am off duty. I have found out we are only 11½ miles away, but looking across the fields it looks as if we are quite away from any town, the place is so much surrounded with green fields and trees. I would far sooner be here than in the city, I hope I am kept here some time. I don’t suppose there is much chance of going to France, seeing I did a good term there. Creswick Advertiser (Vic), Tue 13 Aug 1918 (p.3): HONORING THE BRAVE – CRESWICK SHIRE AVENUE OF HONOR PLANTING AND OPENING CEREMONY ………………………………………………………………………. On the guard surrounding the tree planted in honor of Nurse E. Beasley (nee Wilkins) was a silver horse shoe, with “Good luck” painted thereon, this nurse having married Private F.J. Beasley whilst on active service. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/119526548/13335656 Table Talk (Melb, Vic), Thur 19 Feb 1920 (p.30): Nurse Wilkins (Mrs F.J. Beazley), who returned by the Aeneas with her soldier husband, was tendered a hearty welcome home at the Newlyn Public Hall, which was filled to overflowing, many being unable to obtain admission. Sir Alexander Peacock, who presented the bride with a beautiful silver cake basket on behalf of the residents of her native village, and a certificate to both herself and husband on behalf of the local council, gave a very vivid description of Nurse Wilkins’ part in the great war. An enjoyable concert was given, at which Misses Yelland, Fraser, Shaphard and Messrs Chambers and Stewart contributed items. Dances and supper concluded the evening. Mr and Mrs Beazley are entering upon farming pursuits in the Melton district. The altered conditions will be welcomed by Nurse Wilkins, who has for years been engaged in her sympathetic work at the Creswick, Port Moresby (New Guinea), Melbourne and Bethesda (Richmond) hospitals. Letter to Matron, Queen’s Hosp, Sidcup, dated 23/1/1920 (QA Service Record, p.11): “Dear Matron I arrived safely in Melbourne Jan 9th /20 after 7 weeks travelling. We called at Cape Town & Durban in South Africa and enjoyed a day or two ashore in each place. I found my people quite well and pleased to see me back. My thoughts are often in Sidcup & I have written some of the Sisters and am hoping to hear from them in return. Since being in Melbourne I hve been informed that I am entitled to a grant from the Australian forces for having served in the QAIMNS(R), but must produce documentary evidence first. Matron may I trouble you to obtain from the War Office for me a certificate to that effect an forward it on? I shall be extremely grateful for it. I am living in a nice country place 25 miles out of Melbourne. My husband has taken up land there. We are having nice weather here at present. I expect you are nearly frozen with the cold! Many thanks for your kindness and consideration to me whilst I was in the Queen’s Hospital. I remain, yours sincerely, Ethel Beasley” The Argus (Melb, Vic), Wed 8 Nov 1933 (p.15): FOUNDING A HOSPITAL – A Matron’s Recollections Matron McGregor, who will leave Bethesda Intermediate Hospital ……………………… She joined the staff as theatre sister, and in 1912 she succeeded Sister Wilkins as sister in charge of the nursing staff. ………………………………………………………… http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11709186