• Dorothy Raff

  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
Stories and comments
    • RAFF, Dorothy – Sister QAIMNSR
    • Posted by FrevFord, Thursday, 14 January 2021

    Dorothy was born on the 20th of July 1889 in Brisbane, Qld – the eldest daughter of Alexander Cumming RAFF and Nora MORGAN, who married on the 2/10/1888 at St Thomas’s Church, Toowong, Qld. Alexander, a Civil Engineer, died on the 12/2/1932 in a private hospital, aged 79, and was buried in the St Matthews Anglican Cemetery, Sherwood, Brisbane Nora, who did valuable work during the Great War as a member of the Sherwood Red Cross Society, died on the 12/9/1934 following a short illness, and was buried with her husband. Siblings: Marjorie b.1891; Cicely Cumming b.1893; Stephanie Alexandra b.1894; Eulalie b.1897 Religion: Church of England/Anglican Educated at Miss Fewing’s Brisbane High School for Girls – earning a School Scholarship of one year’s free tuition during form V in 1906 Dorothy trained in nursing at the Brisbane General Hospital, completing her three year course in 1912. She passed with Honours (91 per cent), having distinguished herself with the highest number of marks for three years’ work, and secured the M’Lean Medal for nursing. Parent’s address on enlistment Corinda, Brisbane, Qld WW1: At the outbreak of war in August 1914 Dorothy enrolled to join the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS). But as there were more nurses wishing to serve overseas than vacancies existed, she was rejected following her medical, due to a curvature of the spine. However, in 1915 when the British War Office called for contingents of Australian nurses to join the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR), the Commonwealth authorities organised four contingents which were sent during that year. Dorothy was called up, and passing her medical this time became a member of the third contingent to be sent, and together with her fellow nurses embarked on the Mooltan on the 15/5/1915. Arriving in Egypt on the 15/6/1915 she was posted to No. 17 British General Hospital at Alexandria, where she remained until 1916. During 1916 she was sent to a British Stationary Hospital on the Canal until December 1916 when she was posted to the Hospital Ship Valdivia, travelling between Southampton and Le Havre. Whilst serving on the Valdivia she suffered from ‘debility’ and was transferred to London sick on the 1/1/1917, where following a Medical Board at the QAIMNS Nurses Hospital, Vincent Square on the 5/1/1917 she was granted sick leave until the 15/2/1917 On her recovery she was posted to Purfleet Military Hospital in Essex on the 2/3/1917. Later that year Dorothy resigned on completion of her contract and her service was terminated on the 15/11/1917. She eventually returned to Australia on the Euripides, embarking England 29/1/1918 and arriving on the 25/3/1918. She then served with the AANS on home service until mid-1919, at which time she was appointed matron of the Grangehill Convalescent Home (for invalid soldiers) from June 30. The Home which had been opened in February 1918 at Toowong was operated under the auspices of the Red Cross Society. Dorothy resigned as Matron in June 1920. Her address in July 1920: C/- Dr Murphy, New Sandgate Rd, Clayfield, Brisbane Dorothy married Vibert McKirdy BROWN on the 18th of November 1921 in Qld Vibert was born c1886 Natal, Sth Africa, the son of Matthew and Jessie (nee Graham) – Contractor / Farmer / Architect – WW1: Pte 4494, 31st Bn – RTA 24/8/1918 – he died 29/12/1957 Qld https://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/7295 [His brother Douglas Graham Brown also served in WW1: Sgt 5122, 13th FCE] Children: Marjorie Vibert b.8/4/1923 – WW2; Son b.19/5/1928 Residences: 1921, 1936: Everleigh, Cairns Rd, Atherton (Vibert, Farmer / Architect) 1937: 227 Lake St, Cairns (Vibert, Architect) 1943: 378 Bowen Tce, New Farm (Dorothy listed as Newsagent, Vibert listed as Shop Assistant) 1949, 1977: “Beltrees”, 121 Stanley Tce, Taringa, Qld (Vibert, Architect) [also listed Marjorie Vibert Brown – Secretary (1980 also)] Dorothy died on the 19th of April 1980, aged 90 Her ashes rest with those of her husband in Columbarium 11, Section 26 of the Mount Thompson Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, Brisbane ************************** Extract of her letter (typed) from her NAA records: “I was enlisted or enrolled at Victoria Barracks, Brisbane in Aug 1914 for nursery [sic] service. My maiden name at that time was Dorothy RAFF. I was rejected through spinal curature [sic]. In March or April 1915, I was again called up and passed all tests and I sailed from Sydney on 15 May, 1915 with No. 3 AGH, and when I and about 40 others disembarked at Suez and I was sent to No. 17 AGH [sic] at Alexandria and we were then taken into the QAIMNSR. I remained there until 1916, then I went to a British Stationary Hospital on the Canal, until Dec 1916 when I was posted to Hospital ship “Valdiera” [sic] which travelled between Southampton and LeHavre. I was then posted to Purfleet on the Thames approx. Mar 17. I arrived back in Brisbane March 1918. I then enlisted with the AANS and served as Sister until approx. June 1919 when I resigned. ************************** Warwick Argus (Qld), Sat 17 Aug 1889 (p.2): BIRTH RAFF – At Brisbane, on the 20th July, the wife of A.C. Raff, of a daughter. The Brisbane Courier (Qld), Sat 23 Jun 1906 (p.5): BRISBANE HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/19456146 The Brisbane Courier (Qld), Thur 31 Oct 1912 (p.9): SOCIAL Miss Dorothy Raff has secured the M’Lean Medal for nursing at the General Hospital. The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld), Wed 6 Nov 1912 (p.2): NURSES’ EXAMINATIONS – Three Years’ Course https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/175528377 The Brisbane Courier (Qld), Fri 19 Apr 1918 (p.9): WOMAN’S WORLD WELCOME TO SISTER RAFF A social gathering of the members of the Sherwood Shire Red Cross Society was held at the residence of Mrs Sturmfels, Corinda, yesterday, in honour of Sister Dorothy Raff, who has returned to Brisbane after three years on active service in Egypt and England. In voicing the appreciation of Red Cross members and the large number of residents of the district also present, Mrs Stumfels presented Miss Raff with a beautiful bouquet of lilies and roses tied with Red Cross colours. She said that since the outbreak of war the district had done its duty in sending almost every eligible man, many of whom now slept in heroes’ grave, and the Red Cross branch had also given a good account of itself. Two of their returned heroes and one heroine were there that afternoon to be warmly welcomed by the residents. Mrs Stodart explained the objects of the War Nurses’ Fund, which she said, had originated with the men themselves in appreciation of the services of the nurses. The bulk of the money was not intended for administration now, but for sisters incapacitated or for need in old age. ……………… Sister Raff appropriately replied, and paid and enthusiastic tribute to the work of the Australian Red Cross. Sister Raff wore on her breast the insignia of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Unit, to which she belonged. An enjoyable programme of music was provided, and afternoon tea was served. The Daily Mail (Brisbane, Qld), Tue 22 Jul 1919 (p.4): RED CROSS SOCIETY – PEACE TIME ACTIVITIES …………………………………….. The hon. general secretary (Miss Wassell) presented a report, in which the following items were included: – ……………….. Miss Dorothy Raff had been appointed matron of the Grangehill Convalescent Home from June 30. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/220512211 The Daily Mail (Brisbane, Qld), Tue 22 Jun 1920 (p.6): RED CROSS SOCIETY – MONTHLY REPORT ………………………….. Matron Raff had resigned her position at Grange Hill, and would be succeeded by Sister M.E. Fisher, R.R.C. For a year Matron Raff had held the position with credit to herself and the complete satisfaction of the committee. The Week (Brisbane, Qld), Fri 25 Jun 1920 (p.6): Ladies’ Page Matron Raff, who has resigned her position as matron of the Grange Hill Convalescent Home, was the guest of honour at a tea party at Vaughan’s Café on Monday afternoon, given by the commandant and members of the No.2 V.A. detachment, all of whom wore their military uniforms. A dainty tea and ices were served at tables beautifully decorated with vases of mauve sweetpeas. Amongst those present were Matron Raff, Mrs F. Cumbrae Stewart (commandant), Mrs M’Laughlin, Misses Bell, Robertston (2), Lenney (2), Gore, M’Master, M. Board, H. Roche, H. Spowers, Phillips, Lobston, Roff, Hilcoate, and Jones. Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld), Fri 9 Dec 1921 (p.6): GOSSIP Mr and Mrs V.M. Brown (nee Raff), passed through to Atherton by the Wyandra last week. The Northern Herald (Cairns, Qld), Wed 3 May 1922 (p.23): Impressive Ceremony at Atherton Our Atherton correspondent wires – An impressive commemoration service was held in the Shire Hall, which was crowded, at 8.30 p.m. on Anzac Day. ………………………. The orchestra played the Dead March in Saul, and the lights gradually failed till nothing was visible save the Cenotaph, the work of Mr V.M. Brown, which was surrounded by numerous wreaths. ………………………………………………….. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/148691995 Cairns Post (Qld), Tue 2 Nov 1926 (p.4): ATHERTON NEWS Mrs V.M. Brown and her daughter will be leaving shortly for an extended holiday in the South. Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld), Thur 17 Feb 1927 (p.8): Woman’s World Mrs V.M. Brown and child, Brisbane, passed through by the Canberra on a visit to the north. The Brisbane Courier (Qld), Thur 17 Feb 1927 (p.20): SOCIAL Mrs V.M. Brown (Everleigh, Atherton), who has been visiting relatives in Brisbane and Sydney, returned to the North last week by the Canberra. The Brisbane Courier (Qld), Tue 22 May 1928 (p.12): BIRTHS BROWN – At Atherton, on the 19th instant, to Mr and Mrs V.M. Brown – a son. Notes: Marriage of Alexander and Nora (not Laura) 1888: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/84132201/8760312 Alexander’s Obit 1932: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/23146596 The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld), Fri 14 Sept 1934 (p.18): Obituary Mrs Nora Raff The death of Mrs Nora Raff of Edgecliffe, Dewar Terrace, Corinda, widow of the late Mr A.C. Raff, occurred on Wednesday afternoon, after a short illness. …………………………. With her husband she took an active part in the work of St Matthew’s Church, Sherwood, and during the Great War her work as a member of the Sherwood Red Cross Society was most valuable. During the same period her eldest daughter, Sister Dorothy Raff, as she then was, saw service in Egypt and England as a member of the QAIMNSR for five years. ……………………………………………