• Eunice Muriel Paten

Army / Flying Corps
  • Australian Army Nursing Service
  • Head Sister

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) (ARRC)
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Birth

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Eunice Muriel Paten
    • Posted by Mapping our Anzacs story, Wednesday, 20 November 2013

    Eunice Muriel Paten (1883-1973)also served WWII, NAA: B884, Q185204. Lieutenant Australian Army Nurses Services. AWM web site photograph collection no C02538 Medical staff who sailed on board HMAT Omrah, and typescript copy of talk titled Reminiscences of Nursing Ref no. 3DRL/4145. refer also Australian Dictionary of Biography Online. Awarded Red Cross (2nd Class) 1918. Awarded OBE 1959

    • PATEN, Eunice Muriel Harriett Hunt – Sister, AANS – MBE, ARRC
    • Posted by FrevFord, Thursday, 1 September 2016

    Born on the 13th of June 1883 at Enoggera, Brisbane, Qld – daughter of Jesse PATEN and his 2nd wife, Eliza HUNT, who married in Qld in 1876 Address 1919: Walton, Ashgrove, Qld Jesse died in 1930, age 88 and Eliza died in 1935, age 86 – they are buried in the Toowong Cemetery Half Siblings: John William – d.1919; Arthur; Harry; Siblings: Mabel Lillian Margaret Hunt b.1880; Pearl Constance Vena Hunt b.3/11/1884 Qld – WW1: Masseuse, AANS – married Chas Wm Scott FRENCH 7/9/1923 [WW1: Capt (MC) 41st Bn] – d.1970 Qld; Jesse Hunt b.1886; Irene Winifred Anna Hunt b.1888 – (Articled Clerk) – married Andrew Gordon WOODYARD 1915 Qld [WW1: CSM 5129, 29th Bn – DOW 7/8/1918 France (AWM Photo)]; Leigh Hunt b.1889; Edward Hunt b.8/5/1896 Qld – WW1: LCpl 5101A, 49th Bn – KIA 15/7/1917 Belgium [AWM photo; Red Cross file]; Religion: Protestant / Presbyterian Educated Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School Trained in nursing at Brisbane Hospital for 3 years, 1905 – 1908, and then served as a Staff Nurse for 6 months She received a score of 92 in her Invalid Cookery exam in 1907 Did her midwifery training at the Carlton Hospital in Melbourne Member of the A.T.N.A. Relieving Staff Nurse at St Helen’s Private Hospital, Brisbane for 3 months Staff Nurse at Mr O’Hara’s Private Hospital, Melbourne for 4 months Private Nursing Description: Height 5ft 4in; Sallow complexion; Grey eyes; Brown hair WW1: Joined the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) 21/9/1914 as a Sister and embarked at Brisbane 24/9/1914 on HMAT A5 Omrah for England – being diverted to Egypt en route In Egypt she was stationed at the Pont de Koubbeh Hospital in Abbassia until mid-April, at which time she was transferred to the 1st Australian General Hospital (AGH) Detailed for duty in England 23/9/1915 – to staff a new Australian hospital – but after sitting idle in London for many weeks due to mismanagement, she was eventually posted to Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancashire To be Head Sister 1/3/1916 3rd AGH, (Kitchener’s Hospital) Brighton 1/11/1916 Marched out from 3rd AGH to 2nd Australian Auxilary Hospital (AAH), Southall 3/2/1917, and attached for duty 4/2/1917 Granted furlough 24/2/1917 – 9/3/1917 Attached to 2nd AAH 19/6/1917 (from furlo) Detached from Southwell Gardens Hospital for duty with 2nd AAH 2/10/1917 – and attached 2AAH 9/10/17 (ex furlo) Attached to 2AAH 24/3/1918 (ex furlo) Detached from 2AAH and proceeded O/S to France 1/4/1918 where she reported for duty at the 25th General Hospital, Hardelot 2/4/1918 Proceeded to Marseilles, en route to Australia 13/11/1918, and marched out to England on Leave 25/11/1918 Returned to Australia on ‘1914 Leave’ per Nestor 12/12/1918 – 1/2/1919; her sister Pearl joining the ship at Suez on the 25/12/1918 Discharged from the A.I.F. 9/6/1919, and placed on the A.N.S., A.M.F. Served at the 17th AGH, Enoggera until discharged from Home Service late 1920 Residing with her parents at “Walton,” Ashgrove June 1919 1919: Secretary of the War Nurses Branch of the R.S.S.I.L.A Running her own Private Hospital (Holyrood) from 1920 (still Matron in 1934) 1924, 1927: Principal Matron of the AANS in the 1st MD She was one of the Nurses chosen to march in the Coronation procession in 1937 – sailing to England on the Orontes 16/3/1937 Served WW2: 1939 – 1941 Principal Matron of the Northern Command (AANS) http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=4631276 1944, 1947: President of the Qld branch of the ATNA Formed part of the Honour Guard for the Queen’s visit to Brisbane in 1954 Received MBE 1958 Died 1st February 1973 Qld Argus (Melb, Vic), Thur 21 Oct 1915 (p.7): AUSTRALIAN NURSES 50 Idle in England – Questions in Commons Fifty Australian nurses who have done most valuable work in Egypt during the early rushes of wounded are now idle in England. At one stage, each nurse when in Egypt tended 700 wounded men. When the superior officers were recalled to Australia, the nurses were invited to volunteer to go to England in order to establish a No. 10 Australian hospital. They have been six weeks in an hotel in London awaiting instructions, because No. 10 hospital does not exist. The nurses are sorry that they have left Egypt, where there was full scope for their labours, and fear that they may be drafted into English hospitals. They intend to appeal to the Acting Director of General Medical Services of the Commonwealth (Colonel Fetherston) the moment he arrives. The matter was raised in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon by Mr J. Cathcart Wason, at one time a member of the New Zealand Parliament. Mr Wason asked the Under Secretary of State for War (Mr Tennant) why the 10th Australian Field Hospital staff was not being utilized, and also if out of respect to Australian sentiment he would see that the unit was not split up. Mr Tennant, in reply, said that he had been informed by the Commonwealth High Commissioner (Sir George Reid) that the medical officers and nurses referred to did not constitute a complete staff for a general hospital. They arrived in England without equipment, and were sent to England with a view to extensions contemplated to the 3rd General Hospital. Arrangements in this direction are in progress. The Brisbane Courier (Qld), Thur 20 Dec 1917 (p.9): APPEAL FOR AMPUTATION SOCKS The following is an extract from a letter written by Sister E.M. Paten, No. 2 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Southall: - “Will you and any others you can get make us some stump socks for our boys with amputated arms and legs? I wish I had thought to ask before, as we need them so badly for the winter. Their limbs feel the cold so very much, and so few people send socks. We want them in all sizes; if below the knee to come up and tie over, a few as long as the ankle, plenty half-way between knee and ankle, and heaps legs off half way up the thigh. Address them to lady in charge Red Cross store, Southall, or the matron, in case I move. Make purl and plain piece 5in at top to cling to leg.” Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 7 Sept 1918 (p.10): CROSSES AND CARS Second-class Red Cross decorations were secured by Miss Eunice Muriel Paten (Queensland), now matron at Southall, Middlesex, and Miss Henrietta Perrin (New South Wales), at present sister at Dartford, Kent. The Brisbane Courier (Qld), Sat 22 Feb 1919 (p.15): OUR FOUR O’CLOCK By “VESTA” For Our Thought: - Remember them, the brave and gentle band, Who, for our men, have left their own dear Land. Angels of God are they in very deed, Sisters to all our men in their dire need. ------------------------------------------------------ Sister Paten, one of the first four nurses to leave Queensland for service with the A.I.F., came home during the week. Like both returned men and nurses, she is very modest in the recital of her own deeds, but she carried five bars on her sleeve, one for each year of service, so that her work has been coincident with the whole time of the war. Her first position was in Egypt, where, stationed in the Pont de Koubbeh Hospital in Abbassia, she nursed sick New Zealanders arriving by transport. She remained there until a week before the famous landing in Gallipol, when she joined the No. 1 General Hospital. Printed in vivid pictures on her memory are the events which followed in quick succession – troop after troop of bright-faced soldiers aching to be in action, and many returning to fill the beds in the hospitals. “Every bed and every face remains as plain as though it were yesterday,” she said. This, she considers was the stiffest nursing she had, because of the unexpected numbers wounded in the landing. “The orderlies in that No. 1 General Hospital,” said Sister Paten, “were simply wonderful; the majority of them subsequently joined the fighting forces or the Field Ambulances. * * * * * In the September following, Sister Paten went in a party of 45 Australian nurses to join No. 10 General Hospital, which no one ever heard of from that day to this, it never having been formed. They were then distributed amongst English hospitals, some to Nottingham, others, including Sister Paten, to the North of England. They retained their rank and were well treated, but the English nurses on staff had had poor-law nursing training, and the Australians did not like their methods. They did not get into touch with Australian soldiers until after the big push in France in August 1916. Miss Paten remained in the North of England for 12 months, and was then transferred to No. 3 Australian General – Kitchener’s-Hospital at Brighton. Here she experienced nursing conditions during the awful winter of 1916. The hospital consisted on a number of separate blocks, with uncovered ways between, and this when the ground was frozen meant some experience for Australian girls, especially one who, like Sister Paten, had to act as night superintendent for a month. The hospital had previously been an old infirmary – most unsuitable for hospital purposes – and was an expensive hospital to run, requiring so much heating to keep it up to any degree of warmth for the comfort of sick and wounded. Indian troops had been quartered there previously, but were removed before the winter set in, both British and Australian surgical and medical cases being nursed. * * * * * Sister Paten’s next position was as head sister to No. 2 Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Southall, where important orthopaedic work was done. The artificial limbs made by British firms were supplied to the soldiers, who were then trained to use them. Secondary operations were also done in this hospital. Workshops to be attached to the hospital were in course of construction, and in these trades were taught to disabled men. Surrounding the building were very grounds, and frequent picnics were arranged for the men to the famous Burnham beeches in the neighbourhood. Miss Paten remained for 14 months at Southall, for the last three months filling the positon of acting matron. * * * * * The desire to be on active service in France was gratified by her next transfer – to the 25th General Hospital at D’Hardelot, between Etaples and Boulogne. It was a 2000-bed hospital, and Sister Paten occupied the position of head sister. There was a very great congestion of work after the great push in August, and the hospital worked with 50 nurses short on the staff. It was here that Sister Paten had her first experience of pneumonic influenza. The patients suffering from it were isolated in two huts. There was also the experience of air raids, when the hospital had several very narrow escapes. The Hun marksmanship was fortunately bad. Only one man was killed in the attacks, and the hospital itself was never actually struck. The men were found to be more frightened of air raids than they were in battle conflict; they said it seemed so mean that they could not hit back. There was a splendid protection of Allied anti-aircraft guns, but both Etaples and Boulogne suffered severely, some terrible casualties being the result. Instant warning was given of the approach of an air fleet, and the electric light was cut off at the base, hospital work having to be carried on in darkness until the signal “all clear” was again given. The nurses wore tin helmets as a protection from shrapnel. It was during this period of duty that the armistice was signed. Sister Paten subsequently received 60 days’ furlough and left for Marseilles to wait for a transport. She had, however, to embark from Liverpool, prior to which she spent two days in Paris and a few days in London. * * * * * Sister Paten spoke in very complimentary terms of the work of the V.A.D.s in England and France, where their services were most valuable. There were volunteers from every class, and wealthy and poor were alike obliged to accept 20 pounds a year as remuneration for their services. They were directly under military control, and were placed in hospitals where their services were most required, the most menial drudgery being performed by them without a murmur as service for their country. The detachments were directly under a very capable volunteer matron. * * * * * Of the four sisters who left Queensland in September, 1914 – just a month after the declaration of war – it is interesting to know that all were trained at the Brisbane General Hospital, all are head sisters, all have received the coveted decoration R.R.C., and all are still on duty. They are Sister Williams, No. 2 Australian General Hospital, France; Sister Keys, No. 3 Australian General Hospital, France; Sister J.M. Hart, No. 35 Stationary Hospital, England; and Sister Paten, returned by the Nestor on 60 days’ furlough. Miss Grace Wilson, formerly matron of the Brisbane General Hospital, who also has the decoration R.R.C., has held, amongst other important positions, that of matron-in-chief of the Australian Nursing Service for a period of six months. Another interesting fact emphasized by Sister Paten was that the matron-in-chief of the English Army Nursing Service in France was and Australian, Miss Macarthur [sic], and the head of the British Red Cross in France was also an Australian. The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld), Mon 24 Sept 1934 (p.18): DINED IN AIR RAID Four Omrah Sisters Memories of their last meeting which took place in a London café during one of the worst raids that the city knew in 1917, were recalled by Mrs C.M. Pennyfather, R.R.C., Misses E.M. Paten, A.R.R.C., J.M. Hart, R.R.C., and B.M. Williams A.R.R.C., last Saturday night, when they attended a reunion held in McWhirters’ Café to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sailing from Queensland on the troopship Omrah on September 24, 1914, in which they were the four sisters. The occasion was the first meal shared by the quartet since their little reunion in 1917. In that year they all chanced to be in London at the same time, and arranged to have dinner together at a café. So busy were they in talking and bringing each other up to date in their personal news, however, that they did not notice the air raid alarm, and suddenly discovered that all the other diners had fled from the café! In several respects the lives and careers of the four sisters have run along the same lines. They were all born in Queensland and all trained at the Brisbane Hospital, although they did their midwifery courses at different hospitals. Before the war they all were members of the volunteer establishment of the 1st Military District, and during the war each did service in Egypt, England, and France. On their return to Australia in 1919 they all became members of the staff of the Military Hospital at Enoggera. BORN IN BRISBANE Miss Paten, who has been matron of Holyrood Private Hospital, Gregory Terrace, since 1920, was born in Brisbane. She went through her midwifery training at the Carlton Hospital in Melbourne, and also did some nursing in Victoria. During the war she was one of the few Australian sisters lent to English hospitals, and for 12 months was on the staff of a hospital in Lancashire. …………………………………………………………… The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld), Tues 28 Sept 1937 (p.20): BACK FROM NURSES’ CORONATION TRIP [Photo] MISS E.M. PATEN “After having attended the Coronation festivities we crossed to France, and making Amiens and Ypres our headquarters we visited all the war graves,” said Miss E.M. Paten, who was Queensland representative among the Returned Nurses’ Coronation Contingent. She returned to Brisbane in the Ormonde yesterday after seven months abroad. Miss Paten also attended several congresses and conventions while in London. She was the Queensland delegate to the international congress of Lyceum Clubs, and visiting delegate to the national conference of the Florence Nightingale International Foundation. “One of the most interesting events of my trip was the nurses’ congress in London, at which 4300 nurses from all parts of the world were present,” she said. “It was opened by Princess Royal. The meetings lasted a week.” Later she toured Scotland by car with an Australian friend, and then spent 10 days in Bristol with Miss C.A. Fewings, a former principal of the Brisbane Girls’ High School (Somerville House). Miss Fewings was keenly interested to hear news of “her girls” and her friends in Queensland. Miss Paten is staying with her sister, Miss M.L. Paten, Waterworks-road, Ashgrove. The Australian Women’s Weekly, Sat 21 Oct 1939: What Women are Doing Supervises enlistment of army nurses All day and every day are Miss E.M. Paten’s working hours in Brisbane since the outbreak of war. As principal matron of the Queensland Military District she is in charge of the enlistment of trained nurses who wish to join the Australian Army Nursing Reserve. Immediately war broke out Miss Paten’s telephone began to ring and she received applications by mail from all over Queensland. “Once the need arose I knew there would be a wonderful response,” she said. Miss Paten’s war career began when she left Australia with the 9th Battalion on the troopship Omrah in 1914, and she served in Egypt, England and France. Miss Paten represented ex-A.I.F. nursing sisters in Queensland at the Coronation. The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld), Thur 16 Jan 1941 (p.9): New Matron in Northern Command Post CANBERRA, Wednesday Matron M.K. Caldwell, matron of St Helen’s Private Hospital, South Brisbane, has been appointed principal matron in the Northern Command from February 1. She will take the place of Matron E.M. Paten, who is retiring from the position. ………………………………………………………………………….. MATRON PATEN MAY DO OTHER WAR WORK “I have a job to finish – I have a lot of work to do before I retire – and I have made no plans for my future,” said Matron Paten yesterday. She added that she probably would do some other war work. Matron Paten received her early training at the Brisbane General Hospital, and was one of the first four Queensland nurses to go overseas in the last war. She was in the convoy which was attacked by the German raider Emden off Cocos Islands, just before the raider was sunk by H.M.A.S. Sydney. Shortly after the Armistice Matron Paten was made matron in charge of the war nurses’ reserve in Queensland. When the present war began she was appointed principal matron of the Northern Command. She represented the Queensland nurses at the coronation of the King George VI in 1937. Sunday Mail (Brisbane), Sun 8 May 1949: War nurse veteran Among 200 who attended the unveiling of an honour board at Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School yesterday was Miss E.M. Paten, one of the first four Army nurses to leave Australia for overseas in the 1914-18 war. A former student of the school, Miss Paten’s name was among the 110 on the board which was erected in honour of former pupils who served during the two world wars. ……………………………………………………… http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98292748 The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld), Fri 25 Apr 1952 (p.5): The sisters who nursed the first Anzacs Memories of the first Anzacs will be very fresh to-day in the minds of those nursing sisters who cared for the boys after their return from Gallipoli. Sadness, humour, pride, and the joy of service are some of the impressions that remain as sharp as they were in 1915. The first four Sister to go from Brisbane were Miss J.M. Hart, who was awarded the Royal Red Cross – the highest nursing award, Miss E.M. Paten, A.R.R.C., Mrs C.M. Pennefather, R.R.C. (formerly Sister C.M. Keys), and the late Miss B.M. Williams, A.R.R.C. They left with the 9th Battalion in the troopship Omrah on September 24, 1914, and went to the Australian Military Hospital in Cairo. Miss Paten said yesterday that the men of Anzac were like all Australian troops, cheerful, with no fuss or bother. No offsiders The nurses had no “offsiders” in those days. In Miss Paten’s ward of 100 beds there were two male nursing orderlies, two men on general duties, and four sisters. After the arrival of the first hospital ship, the Kyarra it was a common and humorous sight to see nurses, dressed in their grey ankle-length frocks and grey bonnets, with long streamers down the back, riding on camels, Miss Paten said. ………………………………………………………………………….. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/50303723?searchTerm Notes: ADB entry: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/paten-eunice-muriel-harriett-hunt-7970 Photos: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P04233.001 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H18776/ AWM 3DRL 4145: “Reminiscences of Nursing”, A Talk by Miss E.M. Paten, MBE, ARRC to the Queensland Women’s Historical Association, 8 June 1967