• Edith Blake

Stories and comments
    • Edith BLAKE - Staff Nurse, QAIMNSR
    • Posted by FrevFord, Wednesday, 22 October 2014

    Born: in 1885 at Sydney (reg. 3151) – daughter of Charles BLAKE (Milk Vendor) and Catherine CANHAM – who married 15/11/1884, St Peter’s Church, Sydney, NSW. Charles b.1866 Ipswich, Suffolk, England – died 1938 Kogarah, NSW, Catherine b.1859 Sydney, NSW – died 1947 Sans Souci, NSW Siblings (2): 1. Grace b.1887 Redfern, NSW; 2. Alice May b.1896 Darlington, (Redfern) NSW – Nurse – marr. Wilfred O’Neill KNEESHAW 1925 – d.1993 Arncliffe, NSW Parent’s address: 9 Vista St, San Souci, Sydney, NSW [Charles had a brother William (A.W), living 6 Staverton Rd, Brondesbury Park, Cricklewood, London] Nursed at the Coast Hospital, Sydney, NSW before the war WW1 Service: Accepted for service with Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve in Sydney on the 4/4/1915, she then travelled to Melbourne by the overnight Express with 14 other NSW nurses, where they embarked on the RMS Malwa on the 6/4/1915 for Egypt. On their arrival Edith served at the 17th General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt from 2/5/15 until embarking on the Wandilla 1/10/1916 to join the HS Essequibo at Mudros Harbour – joining 5/10/16 Served temporarily at No.21 General Hospital, Alex from the 27/12/16 to the 14/1/1917, when she rejoined the Essequibo She was then given the option of 14 days leave from 20/4/1917 before being posted to Salonika unless she requested otherwise – no longer desirous of serving in the East, she instead requested duty in either France or England – and was posted to the Prisoner of War Hospital, Belmont, Surrey from 1/5/1917 (nursing German POWs – under Matron E.M. Fairchild, and Lieut-Col Wm Butler, RAMC) Joined the hospital ship Glenart Castle at Liverpool 13/11/1917 Drowned at sea 26/2/1918, age 32 – when the HS Glenart Castle was sunk by a torpedo from the German submarine U56 in the Bristol Channel near Lundy Island. The hospital ship was on her way to France to pick up wounded, and all eight nurses on board were lost. Commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton Honour screen, York Cathedral, England Kogarah Honor Roll, NSW (including photo) Northern Star (Lismore, NSW), Thur 8 Apr 1915 (p.4): PERSONAL Among the fifteen nurses chosen for the British War Office, who left by the express for Melbourne on Sunday night to join the P. and O. boat Malwa, were Sisters Graham, Copeland and Blake, of the Coast Hospital, Little Bay, and Matron Beeby, late of Murwillumbah Hospital. The British Journal of Nursing, March 9, 1918: Amongst the nursing staff of the Glenart Castle were two nurses who had just given up the greater part of a year to nursing German prisoners of war at Belmont, Surrey. We all know how hard this task is, and it seems an act of brutal ingratitude that their work for the enemy wounded should be requited with foul murder at the hands of the German navy. Sister R. R. Beresford joined the Glenart Castle on February 24th; and Sister Blake, an Australian, in November. A memorial service, held on Sunday in the hospital chapel at Belmont, was conducted by Captain Whitaker, who paid a high tribute to the work of the Sisters. During the impressive service, Sister Berry sang “O Rest in the Lord”; and it concluded with the “Last Post.” The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 26 Feb 1919: IN MEMORIAM On Active Service BLAKE – In loving memory of our daughter, Staff Nurse Edith Blake (QAIMNSR) on active service aboard the hospital ship Glenart Castle, which was torpedoed and lost February 26, 1918. For her there were no flowers To adorn the unmarked surface of the waters; The ocean alone decks her grave with gifts of pearl and shell, And wreaths her brow with seaweeds rare. Inserted by her father, mother and sisters, Vista-street, Sans Souci From “Ahoy” – Mac’s Web Log: “ ‘Glenart Castle’ left Cardiff 25th Feb 1918, bound for Brest to load wounded. At 0347 the next day a torpedo struck her, she went down quickly, and only 38 survived from 206 on board.” Notes: *Family Tree on Ancestry – has ‘coloured’ portrait of her in uniform, photo of her at 8mths old, photo of the Kogarah Honor Roll – plus other family photos *Service Record (67 pages)