• E B Brecht

Stories and comments
    • Eva Blanche THORNTON QAIMNS-R
    • Posted by ResearchBuff, Monday, 9 August 2021

    Eva was born in 1881 at Muswellbrook, NSW to Sylvester Louis Thornton b1865, d23/12/1915 and Mary Agnes. They had four children. In 1883 Sylvester, a drover, was severely injured in the arm and face whilst shooting kangaroos. He managed to remove the bullet and despite having a long, slow journey back to Muswellbrook survived his injuries (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/30788202). In 1988, he married Bridget née Byron, at West Maitland and in 1894, was appointed Director for sheep stock in the Denman, Muswellbrook region, and two years later Director on Wybong Pubic School Board (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/222829422; https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/220938629) Growing up, Eva lived at ‘Thorndale’ Wybong, a rural location near Muswellbrook. She enjoyed solving puzzles published in the local newspaper (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/19017594; https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/19017369) Siblings: Lt. Herbert S. b1882, d1934 Frances Mary b1884, d1963 Sgt. Reginald T. b1886, d1964 (MM & Bar) Mabel b1889 (daughter of Sylvester and Bridget) Eva trained as a nurse from1910-1913 at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and was admitted to the Australian Trained Nurses’ Association in January 1914 (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/107837674). She continued working at RPAH until 1915 when she enlisted in QAIMNS-R. Embarking on the HS Karoola on 18/12/1915 Eva set sail for England, arriving on 10/2/1916. On disembarking she was sent to 1Birmingham MH where she worked as a Staff Nurse until April when she was transferred to 11GH, Étaples, France. Suffering from debility, after contracting Rubella, Eva returned to England for three weeks sick leave in March 1917 before being posted to 6CCS in France. After three months, Eva relocated to 26GH Étaples before joining No32 Ambulance train on 30/4/1918. With a short interlude at 83GH Boulogne, Eva rejoined the ambulance train probably for the return journey. Addressing her letter to the Sister-in-Charge of the ambulance train, Eva explained that she was resigning her position to get married. Her last posting in mid-August 1918 was to 35GH Calais, after which on 21/8/1918 she resigned from the QAIMNS-R following ‘…entirely satisfactory’ service. The following month Eva married William Louis Carl BRECHT (b1881 d1939) at St Jude's Anglican Church, Kensington, Middlesex. As William was born at ‘Rosemount’, the estate where Carl Brecht established Denman’s first vineyard in 1864, it is likely that Eva and William had known each other for many years. After marrying, Eva initially resided at the Eversleigh Civic Hotel at Kensington before moving to 81 Kensington Gardens Square, Bayswater, W2. She returned to Australia a week prior to William, on 21/5/1919 by HT Osterley. On their return to Australia, Eva and William resided in Allandale, Maitland. They had one son; William John (d1976). Eva died on 13/3/1963 at Lady Gower’s Private Hospital, Gordon and was cremated at Newcastle Memorial Park.