• Ida Greaves

  • 1914 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
  • Royal Red Cross (1st Class) (RRC)
Stories and comments
    • GREAVES, Ida Mary – Matron, RRC, MID – AVH, QAIMNSR
    • Posted by FrevFord, Tuesday, 25 October 2016

    Born on the 18th of February 1875 at Newcastle, NSW – the daughter of John William and Sarah Ellen (nee Searle) GREAVES, who were married at Bowen, Nth Qld 2/8/1866 by Sarah’s father Rev Cooper Searle John had been born in 1841 at Ash Island, Hunter River – an Accountant, he was Secretary and Manager of the Newcastle Gas and Coke Coy for 13 years; lived Qld and Mudgee for a few years – he died 5/7/1883, age 42, and was buried Sandgate Cemetery Sarah died 27/8/1918 at her residence in Ashfield, age 71, (formerly of Newcastle) Siblings: *John William Searle b.1867 Qld (employed by the Australian Agricultural Coy)– d.1939 Newcastle; *Arthur Henry b.1870 Qld – d.1951 Newcastle (all born Newcastle): *Charles Beaufort b.1872; *Susan Ethel b.1/8/1877 (Nurse) – WW1: AVH, QAIMNSR – d.15/4/1964 Hamilton, NSW (late of Toronto); http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/838198 *Annie Elizabeth b.1880 – marr James Robert LESLIE 3/3/1909; *Edith E b.1882 Educated at the Newcastle Superior Public School Trained in Nursing at Newcastle General Hospital from the 12th January 1901 to the 20th May 1904 Matron of Burraga Hospital, NSW from May to September 1905 Private Nursing – including some time at the Turanville homestead in the Upper Hunter, during the illness of Thomas Cook In 1910 she embarked in Sydney on the Orsova and disembarked in the UK 23/12/1910 Nursed privately in the UK, including work for Dr Jervois Aarons, a Harley Street specialist from Australia WW1: Still in England when the war broke out, Ida was among the first Australian nurses to join the Australian Voluntary Hospital (AVH) organized by Lady Dudley, and was appointed Matron. Most of the staff crossed to France on Lord Dunraven’s yacht, Greta, on the 29/8/1914. Setting up at first in St Nazaire, they eventually moved to Wimereux in the October where they took over the Hotel du Golf, which was perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. On the 23rd April 1915 Ida wrote: “There is a possibility of our being taken over by the Australian Government and forming part of the second hospital asked for by the War Office. We are very busy. This last attack on Hill 60 has been dreadful. It seems to get worse and worse. ……………… Some of the poor fellows went off to a convalescent camp to-day to get fit for duty. ………………... We had just cleared up the hospital when word came to expect more. They come all hours of the day and night.” Mentioned in Despatches in 1915, and in July 1915 she was invested with the Royal Red Cross (RRC) at Buckingham Palace Ida remained as Matron of the AVH until they were taken over by the War Office on the 1/7/1916. Together with 22 of her nurses, she then joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR). Matron Congleton (QAIMNS) was sent to the hospital to instruct the staff in military matters, and on the 22/7/1916 Ida asked the Matron-in-Chief if she could “be sent to a Military Unit to learn [their] methods and to get away from the unit where much friction had existed for some time, in consequence of Lady Dudley’s position not being a satisfactory one.” It was agreed that as soon as Ida had her QAIMNSR uniform she would be moved to another hospital. On the 12/8/1916 she was transferred to the 12th General Hospital at Rouen – where she was Assistant Matron in December 1916 A copy of one of the (no doubt) many letters Ida wrote to grieving relatives: 12th General Hospital, Rouen, France, 31st December 1916: “I am very grieved to tell you that Private F.A.H. Lyle (2498), 30th Battalion, A.I.F., was admitted into this hospital last night at 10.30, suffering from broncho-pneumonia. His condition was very serious, and although everything possible was done to try and save him, he passed away peacefully at 3.30 am. He was too ill to realise that he was dying. I told him that I was writing you, and he said to give you his love and that you were not to worry, as he would soon be better. He was seen by the padre, who stayed with him for some time. He will be buried in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France, with military honours, and lies with many of his comrades. The graves are very well looked after, and his name and number will be put up, so if at any time later you should visit here you will be able to see his grave. We have placed some flowers with him for you. His few personal belongings…will be forwarded you through the records office. I am giving your name and address to the graves committee, and they later on will send you a photo of your son’s grave. I am a native of Newcastle myself. With much sympathy, yours sincerely, I. GREAVES, Assistant Matron.” Mentioned in Despatches 1917 Hospital, Etretat 17/6 – 29/6/1917 *To the 4th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS), Dozinghem 4/7/1917 as A/Matron in charge – visited by M-i-C Maud McCarthy on the 14/7/1917, who finding them very busy with only 7 nursing staff, arranged to have 8 more sent to them – she also found that arrangements for the Sisters’ comfort were quite adequate Sent to the A/Principal Matron, Boulogne 19/2/1918, having been relieved from the 4th CCS by Sister Townsend (QAIMNS) Posted to the 43rd CCS 10/3/1918 – 2nd Stationary Hospital 17/3/1918 *Sister in charge of the 38th CCS, Maricourt 22/3/1918 – following continual bombardment on the 23rd they were evacuated the following day – setting up again in Corbie on the 25th – only to be evacuated again on the 26th, and sent to Abbeville to be re-posted to Base Hospitals Posted to the 3rd General Hospital 28/3/1918 *Sister in charge of the 29th CCS, Gezaincourt 4/4/1918 – where the nurses (7 including Ida) were accommodated on the top floor of a chateau 2nd Stationary Hospital 16/5/1918 – 8th CCS 25/5/1918 – 7th CCS, Ligny St Flochel 1/6/1918 – 1st CCS 2/6/1918 *Admitted to the 2nd Stationary Hospital 9/7/1918 with a contusion of the right knee after falling over a tent rope in the dark 14 days Leave from the 21/7/1918, with a further 7 days extension – requested because she was still unable to walk much Posted to 7th CCS 15/8/1918 – 12th Stationary Hospital 30/8/1918 – 15th CCS 17/9/1918 15th CCS: “Miss Greaves has been Sister-in-charge of this unit since 18.9.1918. Her professional ability and energy are excellent and well up to the standard of rank. Administrative capacity good. Miss Greaves has taken the greatest care in safeguarding the health of her Nursing Staff and it is largely due to her efforts that during the recent epidemic of Influenza, there has been very little sickness amongst them. She is in good health and fit for active service.” Lt Col Maynard Crawford, RAMC – O.C., 15 CCS, 28 Feb 1919 To UK 25/3/1919 for demobilization 26/3/1919 King George Hospital 28/3/1919 Returned to Australia per Katoomba, embarking 7/8/1919 Returned to Newcastle 25/9/1919 by the Brisbane Mail train from Sydney Entered into partnership at Iluka Private Hospital, Newcastle, July 1920 In March 1929 Ida went on a trip to England and the Continent, visiting the East en route, and spending a short time in Java 1929: Embarked at Batavia on the Jan Pieterszoon Coen, nurse age 52, and arrived Southampton, England 17/5/1929 (usual permanent residence, NSW) 1930: Returned to Australia on the SS Balranald, departing Liverpool, England 1/2/1930 Living and nursing at Iluka Private Hospital, 51 Church St, Newcastle 1928, 1930, 1937 Vice President of the newly formed Women’s Auxiliary of the Newcastle RSL in 1935 Living Darlinghurst 1943 (home duties) 1952: Embarked Adelaide on the Port Victor, 78 years old (home duties), arriving Hull, England 12/3/1952 (permanent residence, Australia) Returned to Australia on the Port Fremantle, departing UK 29/10/1952 Died on the 18th May 1954 at Chatswood, NSW, aged 79 Cremated at Northern Suburbs Crematorium 19/5/1954, following a service at St Barnabas Church, Roseville Nurse Grieves appointed Matron Burraga Hosp May 1905: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/218756605 Nurse Grieves resigned Burraga Hosp Sept 1905: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/218746814 Sydney Mail (NSW), Wed 24 Mar 1915 (p.12): THE AUSTRALIAN VOLUNTARY HOSPITAL IN FRANCE [various photos] http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/166255626 The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 25 Jun 1915 (p.5): AUSTRALIANS MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES [photos of Col Eames & Matron Greaves] ……………………………………… MATRON GREAVES NEWCASTLE, Thursday Nurse I Greaves, whose name is included in the “honour” list, is matron of the Australian Hospital in France. She served her time in the Newcastle Hospital, and received her certificate here. She was nursing in London two years prior to the war, and shortly after the declaration was made, she volunteered with the Australian Voluntary Hospital, and was accepted for service in France. Nurse Greaves is a native of Newcastle, and is very well known here. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/15575738 Sydney Mail (NSW), Wed 30 Jun 1915 (p.28): Progress of The War Military Honours The following list of military honours was published during the week. It includes a number of Australians: – ……………………………………………………….. Royal Red Cross Matron Greaves (Newcastle, NSW) Australians Mentioned in Despatches An addendum to Sir John French’s despatch of April 5 includes 4000 names, occupying 39 pages of the “Gazette,” of those recommended for gallantry and distinguished service in the field. Many are Canadians and Indians, and there are 58 nurses. The list includes Matron Miss I. Greaves, Australian Nursing Service; Colonel Eames, ……………………… Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW), Fri 2 Jul 1915 (p.7): THE ENDLESS STREAM Miss I. Greaves, matron of the Australian Hospital at the front, who has been awarded the Royal Red Cross, writing to her relatives, under date April 23, says: – “There is a possibility of our being taken over by the Australian Government and forming part of the second hospital asked for by the War Office. We are very busy. This last attack on Hill 60 has been dreadful. It seems to get worse and worse. When we are going to get through these devils I cannot say, but it has to be done, and will be of course. We have 22 officers in to-day, and they are very upset. Some of their regiments have suffered horribly. It is a ghastly time. Our last men cried when they came in. Some of the poor fellows went off to a convalescent camp to-day to get fit for duty. They all long to get home for a time to be away from it all, but would be quite prepared to come back. Some have been out from the first. If every little bit is to cost so much we shall not have a man left. We had just cleared up the hospital when word came to expect more. They come all hours of the day and night.” Miss Greaves has a sister in London, who is anxious to get away to the front. Both ladies are natives of Newcastle, and had hospital training here. The Queenslander, Sat 3 Jul 1915: Bravery Rewarded London, June 23 Amongst the military honours which have been conferred……………. …………..and the Royal Red Cross on Matron Greaves. ……………………………. [Matron Greaves is a Newcastle (NSW) girl, who received her training in the local hospital. Being in England when the war broke out, she was appointed matron of Lady Dudley’s Australian Voluntary Hospital, of which Colonel Eames (a Newcastle practitioner) was appointed officer commanding. ……..] Weekly Times (Vic), Sat 3 Jul 1915 (p.9): Nurses Win Honor Nurse I.M. Greaves who has been awarded the Royal Red Cross for distinguished army medical service, is believed to be Miss Ida Mary Greaves who gained her certificate at the Newcastle Hospital in 1904. Later she became matron of Burraga Hospital, New South Wales. For some years she has been engaged in private nursing, and has been living in England. She is the second New South Wales nurse to win official recognition, for Nurse Maude McCarthy, of Sydney, was mentioned in despatches for heroic service at the front some months ago. The British Journal of Nursing, Jul 17, 1915: The Royal Red Cross The King held an Investiture at Buckingham Palace on Monday morning, when amongst the decorations conferred the following members of the nursing profession had the honour of receiving the Royal Red Cross: - ……Miss Nora Fletcher………Miss Ida Greaves, ………… Miss Fletcher and Miss Greaves have now returned to France. Punch (Melb, Vic), Thur 16 Sept 1915 (p.32): THE LADIES LETTER ………………………………………………………………… Matron Greaves, of the Australian Voluntary Hospital in Wimereux, you remember, was one of the few nurses mentioned in despatches a short time ago. On a recent brief leave to London, when she received the Royal Red Cross decoration, a dinner was given in her honour by the staff of sisters at the hospital to which she had belonged. After this dinner, at which were present the Director of Medical service (General Sawyer) and the Matron-in-Chief of the British Red Cross, the guests were entertained by a performance of a bright little play which has received the highest praises. This play, entitled “My Australian Niece,” is written by Sister E.C. Walter, daughter of Mr J.C. Walter, of Melbourne. [Ella Clarice WALTER, AVH] Sydney Mail (NSW), Wed 22 Sept 1915 (p.12): [photo] http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/162493864 The Argus, Thur 28 Oct 1915: KING IN FRANCE His Majesty’s Popularity Australian Hospital Visited ………………………………………. His Majesty specially visited Wimereux to see the Australian hospital. He inspected the wards in the Golf Hotel, which is being used as a hospital, and spoke to the majority of the patients. Subsequently he visited the officer’s quarters in the Golf Clubhouse and also a portable hospital holding 80 beds which has just been added. On learning that the Wimereux Hospital already had dealt with 80,000 patients, the King expressed his deep appreciation of the work accomplished under difficult conditions, and said that he was delighted with the admirable position and the excellent management. The staff, which is headed by Colonel W. L’Estrange Eames, of Newcastle (NSW), Colonel F.F. Burghard, and Colonel Sir David Hardie, of Brisbane (who has just joined as chief consulting physician), were presented to His Majesty, as also were 48 Australian nurses, headed by Lady Dudley and Matron Ida Greaves. The King shook hands with and spoke to each. The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 10 Jun 1916 (p.29): PATRIOTIC FUND ………………………………………………………….. Matron Ida Greaves, matron of the Australian voluntary hospital, France, in a letter to Lady Robinson, dated the 31st of March, says: - “Will you kindly thank your committee very much indeed for the parcel of cigarettes you so kindly sent me for the patients of this hospital! They have enjoyed an extra smoke to-day, and all wished me to thank you. It is also great to us to be able to give them something, a little extra. They do love it so. With best wishes and many thanks.” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW), Mon 26 Jun 1916 (p.5): A HOSPITAL IN FRANCE INTERESTING LETTER Following are extracts from a letter received by Miss G.J. Short, of Newcastle, from her brother, Major G.R. Short:- “Major Vaughan, his medical officer, and I went, according to invitation, to visit Colonel Eames and his hospital. Nurse Greaves is matron, and her sister is with her. Both are Newcastle nurses. The former wears the Royal Red Cross, being invested by the King with it. We chatted to various Australians in the wards, and they were all very pleased to see us. One of them was young Cameron, of Hunter-street West. The building has a view of the sea, just like Pipit-ea-pah. It seemed quite familiar to look at the waves from the windows of the wards. The place was a hotel originally, and with its tents it accommodated five hundred and twenty beds. On the open downs Napoleon’s great army encamped to invade England. Two miles north is the estuary, where his fleet of flat-bottomed transports lay for the trip that never came off. The piles of the piers for embarkation are still to be seen. I met Captain Toose, V.C., of the Black Watch, who, refusing to surrender, led his company right through the German line (latter part of 1914), but had the hard luck to be shot through both eyes. A fine, handsome, cheerful bred man, but blinded for life. [April 1916] …………………………………………………………………………………………….. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/133876933 The Scone Advocate (NSW), Fri 23 Aug 1918 (p.5): War Notes The last honors list includes the name of Sister Lydia Abell, who has been awarded the Royal Red Cross. A similar distinction was some time back bestowed on Sister Greaves, now Matron of an Australian Voluntary Hospital, and a colleague of the former recipient. Both Sisters, who are natives of Newcastle, are well-known in this district, being for a number of years on Turanville, where they were in professional attendance with the late Mr Thos Cook during his prolonged illness. It now transpires that Sister Abell ………………….. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/156913639 The Newcastle Sun (NSW), Thur 25 Sept 1919 (p.1): MATRON GREAVES’ RETURN HEROIC WAR SERVICE – Five Years of Nursing By the Brisbane mail this afternoon Matron Ida Greaves, a Newcastle native, who served in the great war from start to finish, will arrive in this city. Matron Greaves is a daughter of the late Mr J.W.S. Greaves, bank manager, of Newcastle, and some time of the A.A. Company. Educated in Newcastle, Miss Greaves entered upon her nursing career in Newcastle hospital, and completed her training there, winning a fine reputation for competency and all the essentials for successful nursing. After practicing privately for some time, Sister Greaves visited London and was there when war broke out. She volunteered immediately, and went to France in the first few days of the war, and was stationed at St Nazaire. With the establishment of the Australian Voluntary Hospital at Wimmereux, sister Greaves was immediately installed as matron. Here she remained until the military assumed control, when she was transferred as matron to Rouen. This was a base hospital and the work was severe and enormous. Subsequently Matron Greaves was in charge of various casualty clearing stations, and on more than one occasion was actually under German fire. One is inclined to smile at the tales of German repentance when told the story of these heroic nurses as they sought to remove their charges to safety, shielding the wounded and dying from the fire of aeroplanes or bursting shells with their own bodies. Yet this was a common happening with Matron Greaves and the noble women associated with her in those C.C.S’s. Matron Greaves served throughout the war, and was on duty somewhere along the Somme when the armistice came. She enjoys the distinction of being the first Australian to be decorated in the great war with the Royal Red Cross. The investiture took place in Buckingham Palace in 1915. Her Newcastle relatives are: - Sisters: Sister Sissie Greaves (also recently returned from active service), Mrs J.R. Leslie (wife of Dr Leslie), Miss Edie Greaves; brothers: Messrs J.W. Greaves (A.A. Company), A.H. Greaves (Newcastle Gas Company, Ltd), and C.B. Greaves (Huddart, Parker, Ltd). Matron Greaves, R.R.C., may remain in Newcastle for some little time. Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW), Fri 26 Sept 1919 (p.4): MATRON GREAVES Matron Ida Greaves, after five years’ war service, returned to Newcastle last evening by the Brisbane mail from Sydney, and was met at the railway station by a large gathering of relatives and friends. After the formal welcome she was taken to the residence of Mr C.B. Greaves, her brother, in Military-road, where she received many congratulations upon her safe return. Matron Greaves was in London when the war broke out. She at once volunteered for service, and was sent to St Nazaire, in France, and when Lady Dudley established the Australian Volunteer Hospital at Wimmereux [sic] she was appointed matron. Lieutenant-Colonel Eames, also of Newcastle, was in charge of this hospital. In due course, the hospital was taken over by the military authorities, and Miss Greaves was sent as matron to a base hospital in Rouen. After some service here she was appointed as matron to one of the casualty clearing stations. Severe work followed this appointment, and frequently she was under fire, the nurses being often called upon to shelter the wounded and dying with their own bodies. At the time of the signing of the armistice, Matron Greaves was serving on the Somme. She was decorated with the Royal Red Cross for distinguished services in 1915 at Buckingham Palace, being the first Australian to receive the decoration. She is a native of Newcastle, and received her early training at the Newcastle Hospital. Cootamundra Herald (NSW), Wed 1 Oct 1919 (p.2): SAW NURSE CAVILL SHOT Matron Greaves, who has just returned to Newcastle after nursing in England and France, was a fellow-passenger on the voyage home with a Belgian lady, Mrs Smith. Mrs Smith was in prison in Belgium with Nurse Cavill and three Belgian girls from Namur. These girls were shot with Nurse Cavill, and Mrs Smith saw the shooting through a window of her prison. She was wounded five times, including twice by German bayonets, because she refused to move off the footpath while German soldiers passed. Her father also suffered severely at the hands of the Huns. The Newcastle Sun (NSW), Thur 8 Jul 1920 (p.3): The Social Circle Matron Ida Greaves, who returned from active service some months ago, has entered into partnership at Iluka Private Hospital. The Newcastle Sun (NSW), Thur 14 Mar 1929 (p.3): In The Social Circle Going Abroad Miss Ida Greaves will leave this month for a holiday trip to England and the Continent, visiting the East en route. Miss Greaves intends spending a short time in Java, and will return at the end of the year. The Newcastle Sun (NSW), Fri 21 Mar 1930 (p.7): MEN AND WOMEN Miss Ida Greaves, of Iluka Hospital, who has been on a world tour, returned to Newcastle this week. The Newcastle Sun (NSW), Mon 23 Apr 1934 (p.9): MEN AND WOMEN Returned nurses who wish to take part in the Anzac Day procession are advised to communicate with Sister Ida Greaves, Iluka Hospital. The Argus, Thur 25 Apr 1935: RETURNED ARMY NURSES' REUNION Old Friendships Renewed on Anzac Eve ……………………………………………………………………………. Among those present whose memories could go back to the beginning of the war years were the small group of Australian nurses who staffed the first Australian hospital in France in 1914, and who meet always for a reunion on the evening of Anzac Day at the home of Miss M. Buckham, R.R.C., in Mont Albert. The group includes Miss I. M. Greaves, R.R.C., of New South Wales, who has come to Melbourne for the Anzac Day march, and is the guest of Miss Buckham, Miss Gabriel, R.R.C., (now Mrs. Aumont), Miss Nan Reay, R.R.C., and Miss H. Bowie, R.R.C., who were the first to enlist, and Miss Nay Nicholson, Miss Forrest, R.R.C., Miss Benallack, Miss Susan Greaves (NSW), and Miss Whiteley (now Mrs. Glyde), who joined the staff later. The hospital which was established at St Nazaire in France, was known as theAustralian Voluntary Hospital and was maintained by voluntary subscriptions from Australia. Sir Lucas Tooth of New South Wales having opened the fund with a gift of £10,000 Miss I. M. Greaves was appointed matron, and the patients at this hospital included the men who had been in the retreat from Mons. When the Australian troops came over to France they had their own nursing service, and there was no need for the voluntary hospital, the nursing staff of which was absorbed into the Q.A.R. as they would have had to return to Australia to join the Australian nursing service. The bond of experiences shared has kept this group of Australians together during the long years since the war, and they meet always on Anzac Day. …………………………………………………………………………….. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Sat 27 Jan 1945 (p.11): BRITISH CENTRE APPEAL An Army nursing matron of the last war, Matron Ida Greaves, was among yesterday’s donors to the British Centre’s £200,000 appeal. Australian-born, Matron Greaves was in London at the outbreak of the last war. She joined the Red Cross, went to France as matron of the first British hospital, served throughout the war, and received the Royal Red Cross. The Mercury (Hobart), Sat 26 Jan 1946: VICTORIA LEAGUE SOCIAL FUNCTIONS Members of the Victoria League executive were hostesses at an afternoon tea party at the Chaucer at Hobart on Thursday, when the guests of honour were Mrs C.L. Steele, of Canberra, and Miss I. Greaves, of Newcastle. ……………………………………………………………………….. Miss Greaves recently resigned from her position as matron of a private hospital in Newcastle. ………………………………………………………….. The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 19 May 1954: FUNERALS GREAVES – The Funeral of the late IDA MARY GREAVES, R.R.C., will leave St Barnabas Church, 30 William Street, Roseville, This Wednesday, after service commencing at 1.45pm for Northern Suburbs Crematorium.