Rosa was born on the 19th of July 1884 at Port Melbourne, Vic – the daughter of Thomas Duncan Marias BEGG and Julia ROSEL, who married in Vic in 1865
[birth reg. gives her name as Rosa Maria Eliza]
Thomas died on the 13/8/1910 at the family home “Ralston” in Albert Park, aged 74
Julia died on the 2/4/1927 at Ramleh, Kew, aged 87
Siblings (born Vic): Louisa b.1866; Arthur Morton b.1869; Frank Robert b.1870; Thomas August b.1872 – d.1873 (1); Laura Julia Catherine b.1876 – marr JW CURDIE 1903; *Mary Alfrida b.1878 – marr John FLEMING (WW1: Dr, R.A.M.C.) 1911 Albert Park; William Alexander b.1879;
Trained in Nursing at the Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
Member of the R.V.T.N.A.
Private Nursing for 3 years, 2 years in charge of Caulfield Casualty Room
Nursery Governess for the Syme family 1912
She joined the Australian Army Nursing Service on the 27/5/1915 and embarked 17/6/1915 on the A62 Wandilla with Special Reinforcements for the 1st Australian General Hospital for Egypt
Married Captain Bertrand COMBES, 1st LH Bde on the 15/4/1916 at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia, Egypt, by Capt the Rev. Edward Makeham, Chaplain, No 3 General Hospital, AIF
Following her marriage Rosa went to England where she stayed with her sister Mary in Buckinghamshire, where her first child was born. She returned to Australia in November 1917.
Residents of Kew 1919, 1924, 1936, 1949, 1954
Residents of Bondi, NSW 1930
Residents of Randwick East, NSW 1933
Residents of ACT 1943
Rosa Catherine b.15/6/ 1917, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England
Gordon Bertrand b.28/4/1919 Kew (WW2 – AWM photo)
Margery Joan b.22/8/1920 Kew (Nurse)
John Bertrand b.April 1922 Kew (WW2 – Army, RAAF)
*Rosa and Bertrand arrived London 11/1/1928 from Australia on the Ulysses – along with children Rosa Catherine (10), Gordon Bertrand (8), Margery Joan (7) and John (5)
*Rosa and Bertrand arrived Liverpool, UK 11/8/1950 from Australia on the Sarpedon – along with Margery (29, Trained Nurse)
*Rosa and Bertrand arrived Hull, UK 31/1/1959 from Australia on the South Africa Star
Rosa applied for Repat Benefits in 1961
Rosa died on the 30th of May 1967 Burwood, aged 82, and was cremated 1/6/1967 at Springvale Botanical Cemetery – Ficus – Ground Niche, Flower Garden 6, Section A, Niche 14
Bertrand was born 13/4/1894 Mulgrave - son of Algernon COMBES and Katherine WEINGARTH.
Joined the Australian Army 7/3/1912 and served until 21/4/1947
Graduate of Duntroon Royal Military College
WW1: Enlisted 30/11/1914 – embarked 22/12/14 on A38 Ulysses – disembarked Alex 1/2/15 – proc to join MEF Gallipoli 12/4/15 – WIA 2/5/15 (chest) – adm No 1 AGH Heliopolis 9/5/15 – to be Staff Capt 1st LH Bde 24/3/16 – tsfd to Artillery 24/5/16 – embarked Alex 28/5/16 on HMT Corsican – disemb Plymouth 12/6/16 – embarked on HT Marathon for RTA 13/2/17 on Staff duty – disemb 8/4/17 – discharged from AIF 22/4/17
Sen Intelligence Officer 1930’s
June 1942 – appointed Commandant of the Royal Military College
Died April 1971 Camberwell, age 76 – cremated Springvale Botanical Cemetery 14/4/1971 – interred Banksia – Wall Niche, Wall Z, Niche 150
Who’s Who in Australia, 1921-1950 (Year 1944):
COMBES, Brigadier Bertrand, C.B.E. 1944, Commandant R.M.C., Duntroon, ACT, since Jan 1942: son of A Combes, Syd; b.Apr 13, 1894 Goulbourn, NSW; ed. Caulfield Gram. Sch., R.M.C. Duntroon; A.I.F., 1914-17; Staff, 3rd Mily. Dist., 197-18; Adj-Gen’s Branch, A.H.Q., 1918-21, Bde Major, 1926-27; Staff Coll., Camberley, 1927-30; p.s.c.; Staff, 2nd Dist. Base, 1930-34; also Instructor in Tactics, R.M.C.; Gen. Staff, A.H.Q., 1934-39; Director Operations and Intelligence, 1939-40; m. Apr 13, 1916, Rosa M.E., d. late T.D.M. Begg, 2 s., 2d.; recreations, gardening, reading; club, United Service Inst. of Vic.; address, R.M.C., Duntroon, A.C.T.
The Herald (Melb, Vic), Wed 21 Aug 1912 (p.8):
BRAVE WOMAN STRUGGLES WITH INTRUDER
The heroine of the occasion was Miss Rosa Begg, who is employed by Mrs Geoffrey Syme as a nursery governess. Mrs Syme is at present visiting friends in Sydney, and Miss Begg is in charge of the children, the eldest of whom is about 9 years of age.
The noise of the shooting and of the struggles of Mr Syme and the burglar awoke Miss Begg, who was sleeping in a room with the youngest child, across the hallway. When Miss Begg was seen this morning, in company with Mrs David Syme, she was cool and composed.
“I was alarmed by a loud report and the noise of a struggle,” she said, “and though half-dazed with sleep I felt sure that a burglar had got into the house. I ran into the hallway, and to the top of the staircase. I heard several reports, and saw Mr Syme struggling with a burglar.
“In rushing out of the room Mr Syme had evidently struck the burglar, who, in retreating towards the staircase, had fired three more shots. The man fell down the first flight of stairs on to a small landing, near the turn of the stairway. Here, it seemed to me, Mr Syme had grappled with the man.
“No, I did not scream, I did not think of doing so. I saw Mr Syme in the grasp of the burglar, who seemed to be getting the better of him. I rushed down to them, and struggled hard to force the burglar to let go Mr Syme. As I could not altogether succeed in doing this, I clutched at the man’s throat, and determined to try to throttle him until Mr Syme was released.
“The burglar struggled fearfully, but I gripped his throat with my hands, and pressed my fingers into his neck until he began to moan, ‘I will give in.’
“By this time Mr Syme had got free and managed to wrench the revolver from his assailant. Mr Syme struck the man on thehead with the revolver, and the man began to look exhausted. By this time Mr Syme and I were holding the man down. Mr Syme was very faint, for he was shot in the arm and also stabbed, and he had lost, I should say, more than a pint of blood.
“Meanwhile, Miss Agnes Logan, the cook, had telephoned for the police, and had ran for assistance to the cottage of Henry Rudge, the chauffeur, which stands at the rear of the grounds. Miss Logan then came to the assistance of myself and Mr Syme, and afterwards Henry Rudge came, and helped to hold the man till the arrival of the police.
“Yes; it was a most exciting time, and I thought at first that Mr Syme would be killed. Mr Syme acted with wonderful courage. I really do not know what I should have done if I had awakened and discovered a man pointing a revolver at me. All I thought of was trying to help Mr Syme to get out of danger.”
Miss Begg is a handsome, athletic-looking young woman, with magnificent arms. She is apparently about 23 years of age.
Geelong Advertiser (Vic), Wed 23 Oct 1912 (p.3):
The members of the Athenaeum Club recently offered congratulations to Mr Geoffrey Syme on the pluck he displayed when he faced Allan Moore, the desperate burglar who entered his residence at Studley Park. Mr Syme, in responding to the toast of his health, said that the incident was an unpleasant one, and he was striving to forget it, but he would never forget the kindness and goodwill of his fellow-members of the club. Mr Syme was asked to accept for presentation to Miss Rosa Marion Begg, the nursery governess, who so pluckily came to his assistance, a good bracelet set with diamonds, and a purse of sovereigns for Miss Agnes Hogan, the cook, who also rendered valuable help when Mr Syme was wrestling with the burglar.
The Bendigo Independent (Vic), Tue 29 Jul 1913 (p.3):
ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY
DISTRIBUTION OF AWARDS
………………………….. and out of the three other silver medals this year two had been awarded to Messrs Grillett and Lewis, miners of Bendigo, and the third to Miss Rosa Begg, whose courage in going to the assistance of Mr Geoffrey Syme, in August last had won the admiration of all Melbourne. …………………………….
Preston Leader (Vic), Sat 12 Aug 1916 (p.5):
A real live hero and heroine are the principals in the latest war romance. Miss Rosa Begg, the handsome girl who bravely went to the assistance of Mr Geoffrey Syme (one of the “Age” proprietors) in an encounter with an armed burglar at Kew three years ago, has, as might have been expected, given her heart and hand to a soldier. She has been married to an Anzac hero, Captain Bertram Combes, of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade Staff. Miss Begg was one of the first of many Melbourne girls to volunteer their services as a nurse when war broke out, and at an early stage in the proceedings joined the Army Nursing Staff and went to Egypt. She shared the devoted labors or our nurses till late last year, when her health broke down and she was sent to Alexandria to recuperate.
Captain Combes, who was wounded on Gallipoli, was, after treatment in hospital, also ordered to Alexandria to complete his recovery. They met, and Cupid did the rest. The marriage was solemnized at the garrison chapel, Abbassia, the bride being given away by Miss Conyers, head of the Australian nursing staff in Egypt. Captain Combes was almost immediately ordered to England with a detachment and is now at the front in France. The bride has also gone on to England, and will stay with her sister, Mrs Fleming, whose husband is serving on the British medical staff.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 9 Sept 1916 (p.11):
COMBES – BEGG – On the 15th April, at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia, Egypt, by the Rev …………, Bertrand Combes, staff-captain of the … Brigade, Australian Light Horse, only son of Algernon Combes, Esq, of Moonee Ponds, to Rosa Marion Elise, youngest daughter of the late Mr T.D.M. Begg and Mrs Begg, Sunnyside, Molesworth street, Kew.
Table Talk (Melb, Vic), Thur 19 Apr 1917 (p.38):
Captain Bertrand Combes has returned to Melbourne to relieve an officer of the permanent forces, who intends going to the front. He is fairly recovered from his wound, which was serious, and he is in hopes that the Australian climate will finally restore him to health. Mrs Combes, formerly Miss Rosa Begg, was not allowed to leave England, owing to the precautions taken in connection with the submarine menace.
Table Talk (Melb, Vic), Thur 24 May 1917 (p.30):
Mrs Bertrand Combes and her sister, Mrs John Fleming, have taken a house in Buckinghamshire, England. Mrs Combes is unable to join Captain Combes in Australia owing to the difficulty about passports, while Mrs Fleming intends to remain in England during Dr Fleming’s service with the British Army Medical Corps.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 23 Jun 1917:
COMBES – On the 15th June, at Chesham, Buckinghamshire, to Captain and Mrs B. Combes – a daughter.
Kyneton Guardian (Vic), Sat 11 Aug 1917 (p.2):
MOSTLY ABOUT PEOPLE
A Happy Mother
Mrs Combes (nee Miss Rosa Begg) is now a happy mother, and is in England staying with her sister, Mrs John Fleming, in a cottage they have taken in Buckinghamshire. Captain Combes, who was badly wounded at the front, is cultivating health in his native Melbourne climate while doing staff duty. Miss Begg, our readers will remember, was the heroine of an encounter with an armed burglar at the home of Dr Geoffrey Syme, of Kew, and is the cousin of Mr Fred Begg and Mrs McWhinney, of Little Coliban.
Table Talk (Melb, Vic), Thur 29 Nov 1917 (p.30):
Mrs Combes has returned to Melbourne and is delighted to be again in her own country. Her small daughter, born in England is quite a distinguished-looking addition to the Australian family. They are staying at the house of Mrs Combes’ mother, Mrs Begg, Molesworth-street, Kew.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 28 Aug 1920:
COMBES – On the 22nd August, at No. 6 Beatrice street, Kew, to Capt and Mrs Bertrand Combes – a daughter.