• Hilda Therese Redderwold Samsing

Army / Flying Corps
  • Australian Army Nursing Service

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Enlistment - WW1

    Cairo, Egypt

  • Birth

    Oslo, Norway

Stories and comments
    • SAMSING, Hilda Theresa Redderwold (Redevold) – Sister
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 11 April 2022

    Hilda was born on the 24th May 1870 at Aasgaardstrand, Borre, Norway – the daughter of George (Gregers) and Fredericka Eugenie (nee Petersen) SAMSING Fredericka remarried KROHN – she died 1913 Brother: Gerhard Eugen (George) died 1957, age 85 Mirboo Nth (crem 15/8/1957, ashes at Springvale with Hilda – only Niche 19) Step-brother: Fred Krohn of Park St, Lancefield Religion: Church of England Arrived Port of Adelaide in June 1885 on the SS John Elders with her mother, stepfather and family Lived Adelaide 2 years, Sydney 2 years, Melbourne 15 years Resident of 384 Albert St, East Melbourne in 1904 when Naturalized Trained in nursing at the Melbourne General Hospital for 3 years from 1892, and the Women’s Hospital for 1 year Certificates in Gynaecology and Infectious Diseases Life member and member of Council, Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association Member of the Australian Amy NursingService Reserve from 1904 Staff Nurse at Sir Thomas Fitzgerald Hospital for 4 years Private nursing duties, 3 and 4 years in Melbourne and Sydney Matron, Queen Victoria Hospital, Melbourne 1 year Matron, Sir Thomas Fitzgerald Hospital 1 year (1907) Matron and proprietor of the late Sir Thomas Fitzgerald Hospital [Lonsdale House Private Hospital, 472 Lonsdale St, Melbourne] from the time of his death to the date of embarkation – 6 years WW1 Service: Hilda enlisted in the AANS, AIF, for overseas service 1/10/1914 with the 1st Australian General Hospital (AGH) Description: 45 years old / 5ft 7in / 11st 2lbs / fair complexion / blue eyes / brown hair Wore glasses for a high degree of myopia Embarked at Melbourne 18/10/1914 on HMAT A24 Benalla along with 3 other nurses, Sisters J.M. Lempriere, J.McH. White and A. Kitchin, and the men of the 8th Battalion – rendezvousing with the rest of the First Convoy in King George Sound, and eventually leaving West Australia’s shores on the 1/11/1914 During the voyage they dealt mainly with inoculations, and Influenza and Measles cases Initially bound for England, they were rediverted to Egypt en-route – disembarking at Alexandria on the 8/12/1914, and entraining for Cairo Served first at Mena House, followed by The Citadel, and later in the Red Cross Base Depot, until the 1/6/1915 Influenza 1/1/1915 Detailed for transport duty 9/6/1915 – serving on the Hospital Ship Gascon, transporting the sick and wounded from the Gallipoli campaign to Lemnos, Malta, Egypt and England, as well as a trip to Salonika at the beginning of December Returned to Egypt from transport duty 14/12/1915 – and spent Christmas 1915 in the infectious hospital at Abbassia, taking charge of the meningitis ward Transferred to Helouan Convalescent Depot 16/1/1916 – 24/1/1916 Duty with 4th Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis Rejoined and embarked with the 1st AGH on the Salta 29/3/1916 to join the BEF – disembarking Marseilles, France 6/4/1916 Rejoined the 1st AGH 4/7/1916 from temporary duty with the 13th Stationary Hospital, Boulogne Attached for duty with the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station (ACCS) 4/8/1916 – 1/11/1916 Rejoined the 1st AGH 3/11/1916 Frost bite to one of her feet in December 1916 – from continually walking through thawed snow around the hospital tents To hospital with Bronchitis 8/12/1916 Rouen, and embarked at Havre 7/1/1917 on the HS Carisbrook Castle for England, where she was admitted to the 3rd AGH, Brighton Attached for duty to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital (AAH), Harefield 19/2/1917 Marched out to the Nurses Home at St Albans on sick leave 26/6/1918 – 2/7/1918 Detached from duty with the 1st AAH and marched out to Southwell Gardens Hospital 20/9/1918, with injury to her left arm, caused by a heavy blow from a cistern lid Letter to the Matron in Chief from the Matron, 1st AAH, Harefield 22/9/1918: “I have to inform you that Sister H.T.R. Samsing has not been doing the ordinary duties of a Sister in the wards since 31st December 1917. Her duties have been supervising and teaching 40 of the G.S.V.A.D. members in surgical wards, and walking through convalescent wards. These duties did not necessitate much use of either her arms or hands. On the 10th August 1918, Sister Samsing, who was under orders to report for duty at No. 3 AAH, Dartford, told me she had some loss of power and pain in her right [sic – left] arm, caused through the top of a cistern falling on her shoulder. Lieut-Colonel C.E. Dennis, AAMC examined Sister Samsing’s arm, and said she would not be fit to do the ordinary duties of a sister in a ward, but she might do any light duty which did not require the use of her arm; she therefore continued her duties of supervision until the 20th instant. She still complains of pain when the weather is cold, or when she lifts any weight.” Returned to Australia on the HT D24 Sardinia 19/10/1918 – 27/12/1918 (3rd MD) Volunteering to nurse sick Officers during the Influenza outbreak on board, “and tendered signal service in nursing Lt Skivington who was intensely ill with Influenza and Pneumonia – her devotion to him being most marked.” [Major Henry Adams, S.M.O, D24, 18/12/1918] Appointment to be terminated 28/2/1919, later noted this should read 30/3/1919 Eventually discharged 8/10/1919 Registered 8/12/1924 – no.253 – trained Melb Hosp 1892 – address in 1926: C/- Bank of Vic, Carlton. Name removed from Nursing Register 1954 1924 Electoral Roll: Mt Buffalo Chalet – with Hilda were Ellen Margareta Samsing (secretary) and Hannah Samsing (home duties) 1931 ER: 147 Wattletree Rd, Malvern 1943, 1954 ERs: 519 St Kilda Rd, Prahran Hilda died on the 23rd March 1957 at St Kilda, Vic She was cremated at Springvale Botanical Cemetery 25/3/1957 and her ashes installed in the Dodonaea area- Colonnade 3, Sect E, Niche 8 The Ballarat Star (Vic), Wed 7 Aug 1907 (p.2): PERSONAL ITEMS Miss Annie Anderson, late Matron of the Perth (WA) Hospital, has been appointed matron of the Queen Victoria Hospital, Melbourne, in succession to Miss Samsing, resigned. Western Mail (Perth, WA), Fri 26 Feb 1915 (p.39): Miss Hilda Samsing, who left with the first batch of nursing sisters for the front, sends news – passed by the censor – from Cairo on December 19 in the following interesting strain: – “We arrived in Cairo three days before Mena House had been taken over for a hospital. In the first five days we received 280 patients. The passages were full of furniture, and we had to put the bedding on the floor. All we could do at first was to give the poor fellows shelter and food. All our drugs and Red Cross supplies having been left behind at Alexandria, and for some days we had very little and had to manage as best we could. We have great hopes that the troops will soon be quite well. On the voyage over we had 170 cases through the general hospital, and 40 cases of measles in isolation to look after. The troops both from Melbourne and Sydney were badly infected with influenza and measles, before we left. We have nineteen sisters here now, but we could only get 14 orderlies, and eight or ten soldiers, for a few hours daily, to clean and put up the beds. Things, however, are settling down now. The contract price made with the company here is 5s. per day for patients, orderlies, doctors, and sisters. No distinction is made between them. The price, although above our ideas of cost, is, I understand, most reasonable for Egypt. It was very exciting going through Suez. The canal was guarded all the way to Port Said by Indian troops. It was a clear moonlight night, and I was on night duty. It was our introduction to real soldiering, and war. Soldiers were cutting breaks in the canal wall to flood the country. Some miles back were ten thousand Gurkhas and Lancers, building trenches. We saw fugitives making for the camp. Their women rode, and their belongings were loaded on camels. We saw an armoured train with its guns mounted on trucks. There had been a brush with the Turks a few days before. We heard no details, except the Gurkhas lost 30 killed. What happened to the Turks was left to the imagination. As may be supposed our quarters here at Mena House are beautiful. My bedroom costs its usual tenant 2pounds 10s. per day, all meals extra! The Pyramids are in front of my window, and the yard is full of Arabs, who squabble for all the world like a mob of turkey gobblers, and the braying camels sound just like pigs being fed. Egypt is the most peaceful, quiet place on earth. In the train coming up from Alexandria I just drifted back to nursery days, seeing again an old Bible, with coloured engravings which, except as a treat, we were forbidden to touch. Looking out of the train, there were the pictures, alive! Everything as it always had been, for nothing changes here, and as they laugh and say – nothing matters. The sunrises and sunsets are wonderful. Looking out over the drifting sands of the desert in the lights and shadows thrown by the setting sun, one sees visions. Somehow, old things come to life at this mystic hour. One knows they are not real, but with fascination one watches this Egypt great and old, feeling it around one. The darkness falls, sharp and sudden, and everything is blotted out. A cold wind springs up, and with a shiver one turns and sees, instead, Mena House in its almost garish modernism. Electric lights blaze from hundreds of windows. Beyond flaunt the flaring lamps from the camp of twenty thousand men. To the right show the glimmering of a native village, lit, I daresay, with lamps fed with rancid fat, and directly in front of one, an electric railway goes streaking away to Cairo!” Western Mail (Perth, WA), Fri 21 May 1915 (p.31): A letter dated April 4th to 6th, was received this mail from Sister H. Samsing, No.1 General Hospital, Heliopolis Palace, Cairo. It is full of general interest, and should act as a spur to all women to sustain their Red Cross efforts. The most urgently needed thing at present seems to be pyjamas. Before joining the Heliopolis Hospital, Miss Samsing was attached to the Imperial Garrison Hospital, where she was for two months, in charge of a large surgical division of fifty beds. She was one of the first batch of nursing sisters to leave Australia. Her experiences as related will be appreciated by many: “We are settled here for some time, I’m afraid, and the weather is getting hot and unhealthy. There is cholera in the native villages, at Mena, but, so far, I don’t think there are any cases amongst our men. All the Mena camp is leaving this week. They slacked yesterday, so we are going into business at last. I’m not doing hospital duty now, but on Thursday last took over my new work. I am now in charge of the Base Depot of Red Cross Work. I have quite a big warehouse, and all Red Cross consignments from Australia and Tasmania – and I fancy New Zealand, also – are to come to me. I then receive all applications from our hospitals, and troops; and we send the necessary supply on from here. I have a sister to help me, one clerk, and four packers. We also help Captain Johnson with the medical stores, of which he is in charge. I know people at home often wonder to what use all the things are put and I shall be glad if you will assure them that there will be no waste. Until now, we Australians, have had no need to draw upon our stock, but from now on, we shall be in active business in Turkey and will need supplementary supplies to keep pace with the demand. This morning I had an order from the 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance, and they are getting 26 cases of things, so you see we are in business on a large scale. Our present address is the basement of the Heliopolis Palace, which is as cool a spot as one can get in Egypt, unless an apartment was vacant in the big Pyramid, but the ventilation is rather off there, anyway! Yesterday was the strangest Easter Sunday I have spent for many years. We started the day by eating Easter eggs dyed green, purple, and blue, but they were the same old eggs inside! After lunch I went by motor to Mena Camp to say good-bye to the boys with whom we came from Australia. We were just in time to see the last four battalions march out. They were all so jolly and happy. We came back to town by tram, and on our way in passed several regiments, so we waved to them and wished them luck, and I wish you could have heard the way they cheered us! Sister Kitchen and Sister Bentley were with me, also Colonel Springthorpe. There were some French people in the tram, and they all joined in, so we were rather excited, although we felt sad enough. Sister Kitchen and I went to the railway station, and said good-bye to our dear old 8th battalion, and saw them entrain. God only knows when we will see them again. I think they felt it just as much as we did. They all kept saying how they wished we were going with them, or could be near them, when they needed us. To-day has been the worst day I have gone through since we came to Egypt. It started to blow a hurricane of sand at 4 a.m., and now at 9 p.m. all the desert is still blowing about. Even at Hay, NSW, they can’t come near us for a north wind dust storm. The sand here is loaded with the poison of dead things from the beginning of time, and it is the cause of a great part of our sickness. We are getting this hospital – of which Miss Bell, formerly matron of the Melbourne, is matron – ready to receive twelve hundred patients. I trust the beds will never be filled. One or two of our sisters will have to give up through sickness, but we hope some more will be sent on to us soon.” Papers of Sr H Samsing, AANS World War 1914 – 18 AWM file: 419/32/38 June 11th S.S. Gascon, Mudros Bay, Lemnos Sister Kitchin and I got our orders to join this Hospital Ship last Monday night, and we sailed from Alexandria on Tuesday evening. The trip has been perfect, and this ……………, its been a perfect rest for us both after the …. in Cairo. I gave up the Red Cross Store on the 1st June, and took over a ward and felt quite sorry to have it, but this Transport work to the Dardanelles is what I have wanted since the fighting started. We are waiting here for orders to go to Gaba Tepe, and take the place of the S.S. Cecelia [sic]. We may leave tonight, I hear the engines going, so we may move at any moment. It’s a barren place here, and quite a gale has blown all day, the harbour is full of War Ship, Troopers and Tru… with …., no shipping of peaceful commerce this, all their business is war, its grim reality looks at you from all sides. Gerald Shaw is on board, I have ….. with him all the ……. Sister Kitchin is a good soul, but I’m out of ….. a bit, and …… about alone, I hope she doesn’t feel it. I am to do night duty when we start taking on patients, and dread it, but hope we make a short stay & quick run back to Alexandria. The ward are …………., and should be workable. Heidelberg News and Greensborough ………. Chronicle (Vic), Sat 6 Nov 1915 (p.3): Letters from the Front A Heidelberg resident has received the following letter from a nurse, who writes from H.M.S. Gaxon [sic], Mudros Bay, Lemnos: – “I finished my work in the Red Cross store on June 1st, and handed over to the staff of nurses, who had been working with me, and they were doing good work. We get a big order from them every time we get into port. You ask if all the things are wanted. Goodness knows they are, and if you only knew how thankful the men are for a shirt, a pair of sox, or a handkerchief, it would cheer you all up, because it’s not very interesting work making the things. We have the winter before us now, and here at Gallipoli it’s just as cold and trying as in Belgium. There are cold winds, sleet and snow and it is always raining after September. When the men are brought on board, their under clothes are either cut off on the beach, or we have to do so, and the only place they are fit to be put, is over the side, or they would walk ashore with the whole ship. The poor boys have only what they stand up in, and can get no water to wash their skin, I fancy Adam’s costume is fashionable ashore. The Red Cross is our greatest comfort – we can give the things to the men. All beastly Army things, even a tooth brush, has to be accounted for. (Fancy returning a tooth brush after use.) A great problem with us is dressing the patients to leave the ship, and it’s just the same at the hospitals, before sending away to convalescent camps, or to Australia or England. You ask what is most useful. Sox, shirts, pyjamas, and handkerchiefs are always most wanted, they are the essential things. It would be a good thing if bales of magazines, papers, and writing paper and envelopes could sometimes be sent direct to the troops on active service. Direct the parcel to the Quarter-master of any regiment you like, and it will reach them. I often think we should do a little more for the men who are serving at the front. We sisters on the hospital ships do as much as we can – but it is so little – in buying things for the men at the front. The Army service provides them with bully beef and biscuits, and the rest is …. out, except by the romantic writers for the daily papers. Tobacco is another thing they want. Our men prefer a pipe to the everlasting cigarette, which is often scarce. At Cape Helles the men were paying sixpence each for cigarettes which they could only buy from Greeks, and they smelt like old rag. Everything is being done for the men in France, but the poor boys out here get nothing. Continuing the letter next day the writer proceeds: – “We got orders at 4 o’clock and are now at Gaba Tepe. There are five hospital ships laying her in line, and we are just a mile off shore, and on our way up watched the batteries in action at Cape Helles, both ours and the Turks. There is a searchlight playing across the Peninsula from the forts on the Narrows, and stray shells light up the hill tops. One would think it was a show night or a fireworks display, if it were not for the wicked flash of burning shrapnel and the booming of the guns. It is reported that one of our submarines sank a Turkish battleship to-day, but we don’t know much. It is just scraps of news as the trawlers go to and fro on their business that we hear. We should be able to look on a bit this time, as there are four ships ahead of us, but we have the inner berth so may fill first. There is a big advance on, and thousands of troops are arriving. All the ships in the world seem to creep in and out of Mudros Bay. You see dark ghosts slip past, hear the rattle of many anchor chains, but in the morning all have vanished again. Here it’s the same, only the shadows are smaller. Trawlers from the Dogger Bank, paddle boats, destroyers, looking like centipedes, sink out of the light as they carry the troops to their destination. All the hills are a mass of flashes from rifles and machine guns, and the bursting of shells goes on with orderly monotony, I must be a barbarian, I really don’t mind it, and once or twice when things got too warm, on our former visits, I enjoyed the excitement. Our skipper is quite smart at getting out of range. At least he says that is what he is doing, but we usually sail round in a circle, chasing our own propeller for a bit. The one great anxiety is hoping our friends are safe, but we are just as helpless as you are at home. We have just to take each day as it comes, and hope for the best. The staff on this ship are Indian Medical Service. We have one Australian (Major Shaw). There are nine Australian sisters and one Imperial, some of our orderlies are Indian, and so are the ward servants, but the majority are English orderlies, and untrained. Very willing, but with minds as blank as “darkest Africans,” so it is a case of “do it yourself,” or it won’t be done. We stay on our station taking in patients from a week to fourteen days, and of course now we may fill in a day. Then we return to either Alexandra or Malta, and disembark. By the time we get the patients off we feel pretty limp. We only have a few hours in port, but some rest on the return journey, which takes three days. But of course the wards have to be got ready, so we have not much spare time. Our time on duty when taking on patients is from 7 a.m. till 9 or 10 p.m., or sometimes till 1 a.m. If it gets beyond the two night sisters, we have to stay and see it through. It’s much heavier here at Gaba Tepe, that at Cape Helles, but we prefer this, as the Australians are all here, and they are so much brighter than the English Tommy, who seems to have no heart left, except to be dumpy – poor things. Our boys were pretty fed up with things last month, but they will be all right now they are fighting. Sitting still and being killed like rabbits in the dug-outs get on their nerves, and no wonder.” [The following letter is supposedly written by Hilda – it doesn’t quite line up with the Gascon War Diary, but then most of the other accounts don’t either.] The Register (Adelaide, SA), Wed 24 Nov 1915 (p.9): Work on a Hospital Ship An Australian nurse on a hospital ship in the Mediterranean recently wrote the following interesting letter to Miss Grace Wilson in England. It gives a realistic impression of the nurses’ life on board: – My last letter was written during July, when things were quiet, and the positions gained at Gaba Tepe and Cape Helles were just held, and no advance was made. The English troops tried to take Achi Baba, during the first week in July. Our men and the New Zealanders just sat tight, and waited for orders, and were shelled constantly by the Turkish guns. The weather was hot, and the men suffered much from the heat, flies, and dust, and the scarcity of water. Toward the end of July, life at Anzac was as near Hades as one can get in this world. We rushed back from Egypt for the big landing and advance at Suvla Bay, the first week in August, arriving at Lemnos for orders on August 5. That night we saw a great sight as we lay in the outer harbour, waiting our turn to go on. The night was clear and starlit, no wind, and the water like polished steel, when a beautiful procession came down from the inner harbour. In single file, eight hospital ships passed out, with all their green lights and Red Cross reflected in the water. Following them came the …. with the head-quarters staff on board. She is a white yacht, with a band of red lights, instead of the hospital green band. We followed the next evening, and at once went to the inside anchorage. Why, I don’t know, as we were fourth ship, and should have gone to an outside station. We advanced at 10 p.m., and stray bullets pattered on board like rain drops after a shower. One of our orderlies got a spent one in the leg, and he was rather proud of it. – Loading with Wounded– At 1 a.m. we received our first lot of wounded, and we all got up. At 3 o’clock everything was finished, and we went back to get more sleep, leaving the night staff to carry on. They got another lot at 5 o’clock, but we were not called up for that. Not that it mattered much. No one could sleep. The noise from the shore was most appalling. The incessant booming of the guns with the crackle of machine guns and rifles playing their accompaniment, made us wonder if the Anzac Hill was on a sound foundation. As for the poor old ship, it shook nearly all the paint off her sides, and she has worn a battered look ever since! At 7 a.m. our work began in earnest, and what a day it was! Men who could walk or hobble came up the gangway, and the derrick swung the cradle, with stretcher cases, without stopping, till at 4 p.m. every cot was full, and not a yard of deck space was left to place another man on. And such wounds, and such tired hungry men. We took 700 on board, and when you think they all had to be fed, the 400 cot cases washed, and all those dressings done, fractures set, serious cases operated on, and every man’s name and regimental details entered up in the 24 hours, you will realize a little what our work was like. At 4 p.m. on the Monday we left for the Island of Imbros, where at midday on the Tuesday we transferred all our patients to two troopships, the one taking the slightly wounded, or walking cases, and the other the cot cases. We were empty at 5 p.m., and at once left to take our place again at a receiving station. We began by taking on wounded again at 7 next morning, feeling thankful that we got a night’s rest. At 3 p.m. we were crowded to our utmost limit, and left for Mudros Bay (Lemnos) for orders. There we were kept for two days at the outer anchorage, waiting. There was no wind – shut in as Mudros is between hills – and not air came down the wind shoots. When our orders came it was with a feeling of thankfulness we left. We arrived at Malta on the following Monday morning, where we landed our patients, and finished a strenuous week’s work, having taken 1,400 patients through the ship. We unloaded all day, as at Malta, the wounded having to be taken off in barges; and it’s slow work moving them. We left again at 7 that evening, and our anchor was coming up as the cradle swung our last patient over to the barge. The medical officers kindly stayed on board, so that the sisters could get two hours ashore to do shopping. It is strange how the men stand the shock of the fighting and their wounds. They bear the pain wonderfully. Looking at them as they sit waiting their turn, or lying on the stretchers to be lifted on the table to be dressed, they all look like men who have lived hard. They have nothing much to say, but just watch the medical officer and sister working, with a detached but interested air. At least, that is the typical Australian and New Zealander. Even when dead beat, he is still curious about what happened to the other fellow. The English Tommy is more nervous and apprehensive, more highly strung and self-centred at first, and looks on the gloomy side. On our return to the front we went to Cape Helles, where no active fighting was going on, but the troops were having a bad time with enteric and dysentery. The contrast between the type of patient we got there and the wounded men from Gaba Tepe was remarkable. At Cape Helles the patients, both sick and wounded, seemed utterly wretched. Their one and only idea was to get away, not matter at what cost. –Nurses’ Strenuous Life– This life is very strenuous. When the ship is coaling at Alexandria, where the moist heat is most trying, the sisters all have to get back to the ship before 7 p.m., and are compelled to sleep on board, with ports screwed down, and coal dust over everything. A rest home is provided at Alexandria for sisters in Egypt by the Red Cross Society, but sisters working on hospital ships are not permitted to stay there. Some have been on duty on hospital ships here for five months without 24 hours’ shore leave. When in port they have to return on board before 7 p.m. At Malta the unloading takes so much time that there is no chance of any shore leave, for all the sisters are kept on duty till the last patient leaves the ship. The first troops that landed at Gallipoli are at last being relieved for a much-needed rest, and are being sent to Lemnos, where they will at least be out of the sound of gunfire. The men have just as hard and trying a time ahead as in Belgium; I’m not sure that it won’t be harder. There are no friendly farms or little villages here where small comforts can be got. Cape Helles is the place of most utter desolation I have ever seen – just a low sandhill, no shelter anywhere from the north-east wind, snow and sleet which comes with the winter. It will be impossible to get the sick and wounded away to the ships, except when the weather is favourable, and quite 25 per cent, will have to be kept in the clearing hospital ashore, both there and at Gaba Tepe. We have a lot of sick, as well as wounded, from among the new troops just landed. They seem soft, but a certain percentage is bound to be unfit, and are better away. Dysentery and enteric are bad. We have good news from Constantinople. An Australian who was posted as missing in July from a light horse regiment wrote to his officer, stating that he was in hospital, and being well treated and cared for. The men will listen to no tales against the Turks, as kindness has been shown to many wounded men who have got back to their lines. I’m telling you this, as it might relieve some who are suffering anxiety at home. There are floating mines about; a ship signaled that she had passed on this morning; but these are the sporting risks of war, and we have no right to grumble at them, but should be ready to overcome them without fuss. At Malta we saw an Italian hospital ship, a fine one, taking convalescents to England. She had English sisters and Italian officers on board. They paid us a friendly visit, which we can never do, as this ship has no launch. Everything about war is dreadful, but one forgets about it. The work is so pressing that one has no time for reflecting on the horrors. Western Mail (Perth, WA), Fri 2 Feb 1917 (p.38): Miss Hilda Samsing, who left Australia with the first nursing unit, has been invalided to England for a rest. Miss Samsing has kept to her post with indefatigable energy. Whether a nurse is sick, or merely tired out, she is always “invalided.” The reason for this is, she must undergo the prescribed military routine of hospital and rest homes until she is fit again for duty. Many people are under the impression that when sent to England to recoup, a nurse can visit where she pleases. This is wrong. She must go where she is ordered. But the “orders” are generally found to be of a pleasing and health-restoring variety. The Herald (Melb, Vic), Tue 31 Dec 1918 (p.5): AFTER 4 YEARS’ SERVICE, NURSE BACK IN AUSTRALIA JOINED THE FIRST UNIT Miss Hilda Ridderwold Samsing was one of six nurses selected in Victoria to make up the first army nursing unit that was sent from Australia for service in the present war. Miss Samsing left in October, 1914, with Miss E.A. Conyers, Royal Red Cross, now Matron-in-Chief of Australian army nurses abroad, Mrs McHardie White, R.R.C., now Matron-in-Chief at Salonica; Miss J. Lempriere, now matron at Base Hospital, St Kilda road; Miss M. Findlay, now at Southall, England, and 20 nurses drawn from other Australian States. She returned to Melbourne on Friday, having been invalided home through an arm injury caused by an iron bar falling on it. The limb was paralysed for a time, but has now been restored to a healthy condition. After short periods of service at Mena House and The Citadel military hospitals in Egypt, Miss Samsing took charge of the Red Cross stores. This was not a very easy position to fill, as at that time there had been considerable confusion in regard to the dispatching of the goods, and there was also administrative friction. When the sick and wounded were coming back from the Dardanelles, Miss Samsing asked to be relieved of Red Cross work, and placed on a hospital ship. For eight or nine months she worked in this capacity on the Gascon, but missed the evacuation trip, her ship having been engaged in taking a British medical unit to Salonika. She returned to Egypt, and spent Christmas of 1915 in the infectious hospital at Abassia, taking charge of the meningitis ward. Three months later she was ordered to France, and did duty at various casualty clearing stations until the end of 1916. While working at Rouen, one of her feet became badly frost-bitten through walking continually in thawed snow about the hospital tents, and she was invalided to England. She made a good recovery, and later joined the staff at Harefield Hospital, where she remained until her departure for Australia. The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 25 Jan 1919 (p.32): TO WELCOME SISTER SAMSING After four years abroad, Sister Hilda Samsing found herself on January 23 once again surrounded by her old friends, gathered together at a sumptuous party given in her honour at the Oriental Hotel by Mr and Mrs D. Eugene Hayes. ……………………… https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/140217776 Western Mail (Perth, WA), Fri 7 Feb 1919 (p.34): Mr and Mrs Eugene Hayes gave a welcome home party at the Oriental Hotel on Thursday afternoon to Sister Hilda Samsing. About a hundred and fifty old friends gathered together, and the guest of honour had a happy and busy time renewing old acquaintances. Sister Hilda Samsing left Melbourne with the first batch of nurses. She went all through the Gallipoli campaign, and she nursed on hospital ships at Alexandra; she nursed in France and she nursed in England. From the commencement of the war until the hostilities were held up in November, she was on duty. Of course, there were a few breaks when this noble nurse was on sick leave. During the severe winter in France Sister Samsing’s feet became frost bitten from going through the snow from tent to tent, attending to her wounded patients. Her arm also became paralysed from a heavy weight falling upon it, and she reluctantly had to submit to treatment herself. Besides being so entirely proficient in her profession, Sister Samsing has the pen of a gifted, ready, and picturesque writer. This is all the more remarkable because, until she was 19 she could not speak English, having been born in Norway. When the Norwegian Consul spoke at the party on Thursday and claimed Miss Samsing as a compatriot, the majority of the guests were utterly astonished as they never dreamt she was not Australian by birth. A beautiful programme was rendered by M.E. Napoleon Boffard, Mr John Amadjo, Miss Beatrice Higginson and Miss Charlotte Hemming. Everyone present heartily endorsed the wish printed near the Australian flag, “May the days to come be as rich in blessing as the days we spent in Auld Lang Syne.” The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 26 Apr 1919 (p.34): EASTER AT GEELONG ……………………., Sister Hilda Samsing and a number of other returned nurses now convalescing at Osborne House, near Geelong; ……………… Western Mail (Perth, WA), Thur 3 Jul 1919 (p.36): Sister Hilda Samsing, who left Australia with the first batch of Anzacs, is at present an inmate of the Caulfield Military Hospital. When on active service a heavy iron weight fell upon her shoulder, and arm, and partially paralysed the latter. Sister Samsing saw service in Gallipoli, Alexandra, Egypt, France and England. She has just recovered from a severe illness, and since her return to Australia has had more than her share of the patients’ lot. The Argus, Sat 30 Aug 1919: Lease of Mount Buffalo Chalet Tenders received by the Public Works department for the leasing of the Chalet at Mount Buffalo have been considered, and the offer of Miss Hilda R. Samsing for a term of five years, at a rental of 800 pounds a year, has been accepted. Miss Samsing recently returned from the front, having had four years’ service with the A.I.F. She was the proprietress of the late Sir Thomas Fitzgerald’s private hospital, in Londsdale street. Miss Samsing has spent some years in Norway, and has a knowledge of the sports carried out in that country during the winter. This will, no doubt, be of great advantage to the Mount Buffalo tourists during the snow season. It is the intention of the Government to consider the question of providing a heating system for the Chalet. This would add greatly to the comfort of the visitors, and further enhance the popularity of the pleasure resort. The Age (Melb, Vic), Thur 4 Sept 1919 (p.8): THE NURSING ASSOCIATION A REGISTRATION BOARD When the Nurses’ Registration Bill comes on for discussion in the Legislative Assembly a strenuous endeavor will be made, judging from the views expressed by those interested, to have the proposed system of control amended. The bill provides for the appointment of a registration board, consisting of public servants. Strong opposition to this proposal was expressed by Miss Samsing, a war nurse, who waited on the Chief Secretary yesterday, in company with representatives of the Returned Sailors and Soldier’s League. Miss Samsing claimed that the board should consist of five members, three of whom should be elected by the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses’ Association and two by the Governor in Council. Mr Baird explained that the board would merely be the body to carry out the registration of nurses, issue certificates and put into effect the disciplinary provisions of the bill. The board would appoint examiners, but those interested would have voice in the drawing up of the curriculum of study and the examination papers. It was impossible, said Mr Baird, to have individually represented on the registration board the many interests involved by the measure. The Ministry intended, as far as the constitution of the registration board was concerned, to adhere to the proposal in the bill. The Argus (Melb, Vic), 26 Apr 1923: TOURIST RESORTS Progressive Policy Urged. Miss Hilda Samsing, lessee of the Government Chalet at Mount Buffalo, who is in Melbourne after having completed a 2,000-mile tour by motor-car of New South Wales, is generous in her praise of what the Government of that State is doing in opening up the country for the benefit of tourists. Caves House, at Jenolan, in spite of the fact that it is more than 35 miles from the nearest railway, is, Miss Samsing said, to be contrasted favourably with any establishment of its kind in the world. Every want of the tourist is catered for lavishly, and the accommodation is excellent. Not only had the Government built an excellent guesthouse, but it has opened up points of interest in the locality in such a way as to make them attractive to world tourists, as well as to local holiday makers. Miss Samsing was impressed with the many excellent hotels scattered along the south coast of New South Wales. It was possible, she declared, to obtain a first-class meal and accommodation wherever it was desired. “It is only by a boldly progressive policy,” Miss Samsing said, “that the New South Wales Government has been able to achieve such things. Ten to twelve years ago there was very little money being spent on tourist resorts. About seven years ago it was decided to spend 25,000 pounds on opening up the tourist roads and establishments, and for that outlay the State had been well rewarded. If Victoria were to spend 25,000 pounds out of the 50,000 pounds allocated to opening up of new tourists’ resorts, and the extension and modernizing of the Mount Buffalo Chalet and its surroundings, the money would be well spent. It was better to concentrate on one big thing than upon several smaller ones, none of which would probably achieve any great measure of success, unless the general surroundings were made attractive.” One of the most necessary improvements to Mount Buffalo, Miss Samsing added, was the construction of a road across the mountains, which would serve to entice people from New South Wales, as well as opening up some very valuable country. The Argus, 26 Aug 1924: MOUNT BUFFALO CHALET Incorrect statements have been published that the Railways department is assuming control of the Mount Buffalo Chalet on September 1. Miss Samsing does not relinquish control of the chalet until October 1, and all persons who have booked accommodation during September will still find the chalet under her management. The Argus, Fri 19 Jun 1925: FEATHERTOP CHALET Site Leased to Syndicate. The Minister for Lands (Mr Downward) decided yesterday to grant a lease of three acres for 21 years to a syndicate which had been formed to erect a chalet on Mount Feathertop. Provisional directors of the syndicate are Mr G.D. Langridge, Mrs Barry Thomson, Mrs C. Mitchell, Miss H. Samsing, and Messrs R.C. Power, W.M. Deague, and W.H. Harper. The freehold of land …………. The Argus, Tue 13 Apr 1926: DEVELOPING FEATHERTOP Victoria’s Alpine Attractions Although she has spent the last two winters in Switzerland and Norway, and has explored their Alpine country, Miss H.R. Samsing still considers that Victoria possesses Alpine scenery and facilities for Alpine sport equal to any in the world. Miss Samsing, who was a passenger by the Orama which arrived at Melbourne yesterday, has returned to Australia earlier than she intended, in order to advise upon the projected establishment of a chalet on Mount Feathertop. “The key to the whole Alpine plateau is at Feathertop,” said Miss Samsing. “At present there is only a bridle track, and eight miles of new road is needed. If this were provided it would open a new and magnificent winter playground for Australians.” Miss Samsing was present at the great Alpine sports gatherings in both Switzerland and Norway. She specially studied the lay-out of toboggan runs and outdoor skating rinks, which have been brought to a high level in Switzerland especially. Shepparton Advertiser (Vic), Thur 12 Nov 1931 (p.3): WAR MEMORIES Miss Hilda Ridderwold Samsing, returned recently after an absence of many years abroad. She was one of the six nurses selected in Victoria to make up the first army nursing unit that was sent from Australia for service in the war. This Victorian group included Miss E.A. Conyers, who afterwards became matron in chief of Australian army nurses abroad; Mrs McHardie White, who was later appointed matron in charge at Salonica; Miss J. Lempriere, Miss M. Findlay and Miss Kitchen. They left Australia in October 1914. After short periods of service at Mena House and The Citadel military hospitals in Egypt, Miss Samsing took charge of the Red Cross stores. This was not an easy position to fill, as at that time there had been considerable confusion in regard to the dispatching of the goods, and there was also considerable administrative friction. When the sick and wounded were coming back from the Dardanelles Miss Samsing asked to be relieved of Red Cross work and placed on a hospital ship. For about nine [sic] months she worked in this capacity on the Gascon but missed the evacuation, her ship having been engaged in taking a British medical unit to Salonica. She returned to Egypt and spent Christmas, 1915, in charge of the meningitis branch at Abassia. Three months later she was ordered to France, and did duty at various casualty stations until the end of 1916. While working at Rouen, one of her feet became badly frost bitten through walking continually on thawed snow about the hospital tents, and she was invalided to England. She made a good recovery and later joined the staff at Harefield Hospital until she returned to Australia. She returned to Melbourne in 1919 having been invalided home through an arm injury caused by an iron bar falling on it. Prior to joining the A.I.F. nursing detachment, Miss Samsing conducted one of Melbourne’s first-class private hospitals. After the war she took over the management of the Chalet at Mount Buffalo. Like so many army sisters who spent strenuous years on active service, Miss Samsing suffered a bad breakdown in health, and in recent years has spent most of her time seeking restoration at celebrated health resorts in Switzerland and elsewhere. Notes: AWM: DIARY OF SAMSING (1914-1918) PROGRAMMES, DESCRIPTION OF ZEPPELIN RAID, LONDON. SENATE DEBATE RE OUTFITTING NURSES. EFFICIENCY CERTIFICATE (1909-14) PHOTOCOPIES OF NATURALIZATION CERTIFICATE, STATEMENT OF SERVICE, CERTIFICATE OF APPOINTMENT, RECORD OF SERVICE AND OBITUARY The Argus (Melb, Vic), Tue 31 Dec 1918 (p.5): SARDINIA COMPLAINTS Inquiry to be Held http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/1423947 About Major Adams: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/1423947 Other nurses on the Sardinia: Kate Foreman (marr O/S – Gregg); Una Evelyn Willans (marr O/S Fewtrell)