• A E Cashin

  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Foreign award/Other
  • Royal Red Cross (1st Class) (RRC)
Stories and comments
    • CASHIN, Alice Alanna / Eleanor– Sister, BRC / Matron, QAIMNSR – RRC & Bar, Croix de Guerre
    • Posted by FrevFord, Sunday, 5 July 2015

    Born 26/3/1870 Melbourne – daughter of Richard CASHIN & Catherine MEEHAN – who married in Vic in 1869 [Richard’s 1st wife, Elizabeth, died in 1867, 3yrs after their marriage] Catherine d.16/9/1871 Vic, age 24 Richard who had been born in Sydney c1842, re-married in NSW in 1880 to Sarah J. BOWEN. They were living at Runneymede, 645 Dowling St, Moore Park in 1915 Richard died 10/6/1920 Moore Park, NSW, age 78. Sarah also died at Moore Park 5/10/1930, age 89 Half siblings (3): 1. Joseph H b.1866 Sydney, NSW [son of Elizabeth] 2. Mary Ellen b.1881 Redfern, NSW (Mrs Burney) – d.1958; 3. Cecelia Agnes b.1883 Redfern, NSW (Mrs Pike) – d.1956 [daughters of Sarah] Religion: Catholic Educated Ladies Private College, Sydney, NSW Trained at St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, NSW – 3 yrs to 1898 – leaving in 1900 Registered A.T.N.A. 1901 Studied Massage in 1907 in London – obtaining her I.S.T.M. Certificate (Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses or International School of Therapeutic Massage?) WW1: In England when war broke out (having arrived in 1913), she left London for France on the 29/9/1914 as a Sister with the BRC as part of No.4 Unit – BRC General Hospital, Calais (under Matron Coates) – where she served until 3/7/1915 BRC Card: http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=cashin&id=38043&first=true Joined the QAIMNSR in July 1915 (as Alice Eleanor Cashin) – interviewed & accepted 16/7/15, & posted to Egypt 24/7/1915 as a Staff Nurse, serving at No.21 General Hospital at Ras-el-Tin, Alexandria [No.21 General Hospital is Ras-el-Tin School, a fine group of buildings facing the sea.] SMH 11/12/1915, p.7: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/15630450 Admitted Hospital, Alexandria 6/10/15 – 2/11/15 (illness not stated) Struck off strength of 21 GH 15/2/1916 & joined for duty 20/2/1916 at No.27 General Hospital, Cairo She then joined the Hospital Ship Gloucester Castle 26/6/1916 Awarded RRC (1st Class) 1/1/1917 Matron of the HS Gloucester Castle when it was torpedoed the night of 30/31 March 1917 – in the English Channel by German UB32 – whilst transferring 399 wounded from France to England Matron Cashin & the members of her life-boat were rescued by the Karnak She received the Bar to her RRC (Sept 1918) for ‘her example of coolness and devotion to duty, while rendering valuable service’ [the first Australian to receive ‘a Bar’? – Evelyn Conyers received a Bar in 1919] Joined for duty 7/5/1917 as Matron, Military Hospital, Whittington Barracks, Lichfield, Staffordshire Address 1919: 36 Southampton Rd, Haverstock Hill, London Appointment terminated 25/7/1919 [at the end of her contract] Confidential Report (p.49 of SR): Miss A.E. Cashin, Q.A.I.M.N.S.(R), late Matron at the Military Hospital, Lichfield, Staffordshire, has been known to me only for the past month, but during that period I have formed a very high opinion of her capabilities as a Matron. She is painstaking, punctual & reliable. She takes a keen interest in the Nursing Staff, the General Service Staff, the Labour Staff, and also in the patients under her charge, and does everything possible in her power to ensure their comfort. She has a sound knowledge of her work and also of the various duties, administrative and otherwise, connected with the post of Matron, and I consider she has performed these duties in a very praiseworthy manner. Major E. Pawse, R.A.M.C., O I/C Military Hospital, Lichfield 26/7/1919 Letter from Miss Cashin to the O I/C Military Hosp, Lichfield 28/6/1919 (p.55 of SR): Sir, I have the honour to ask if there is any hope of my receiving assistance in being able to get back to my home in Sydney, Australia. I did hope to be able to arrange to get home about October or November, but after applying to every Shipping Agent that send boats that way, I receive the same reply, that all ships are under Government control, and advise me to apply through official channels, because they cannot take private passengers. I should have returned home in September 1914, but when I felt that I could be of some little use to my King and Country, I set all personal matters aside, and have served from the very beginning in helping to care for our wounded. Now I am compelled to ask for help to get home, as my father, who is no longer a young man (he is just on 80) keeps agitating for my return. I therefore feel it my duty to make every effort to get back. (Personally I would prefer to wait another year and go back in comfort). I have served a year in France, one year in Egypt, one year on the seas, and the remainder on Home Service. I am helpless in the matter, unless something can be done to assist me. Its all such a new experience in life, not to be able to arrange for oneself. I shall be deeply grateful if my passage home can be arranged. Will you please forward this application to the D.D.M.S. Northern Command. I have not a soul this side of the water, and I do so want to get back. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant, Alice E. Cashin, Matron, Q.A.I.M.N.S.R. RTA 18/10/1919 on the RMS Morea [paying her own fare of £48 for a 2nd Class berth – although secured for her at Govt rates by the War Office] – arriving in Sydney 1/12/1919 Member of the Marrickville Anzac Memorial Club Crowned ‘Queen of Marrickville’ 1924 1930 ER: Alice Allanna, 290 Marickville Rd, Marrickville – Saleswoman 1936 ER: Alice Allanna, 348A Victoria Rd, Marrickville – Saleswoman Died 4/11/1939 at Ovada, Victoria Road, Marrickville, NSW Cause of death – Uraemia, Chronic Nephritis & Arterio Sclerosis (not due to war service) Buried at the Catholic Cemetery, Woronora [Grave unmarked] From a letter in her SR, p.59: This lady was in England at the outbreak of war and had been since 1913. She was to have returned to Australia in September 1914. The British Journal of Nursing, Oct 3, 1914: THE BRITISH RED CROSS SOCIETY The British Red Cross Society were authorised by the War Office on the 25th to send out to Paris 30 surgeons, 150 nurses, and a proportionate number of orderlies. …………………… The following contingent of nurses, forming number four unit, left London for France on Tuesday, 29th ult. ………….. A Cashins (St Vincent’s, Sydney), ………………H.A. Onions (Lewisham), ………………………M.A. Nicholson (Melbourne General), ………………………… The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 25 Apr 1917: A BRAVE MATRON Rescued from the torpedoed Gloucester Castle was Miss Alice Cashin, the matron of the hospital ship. She is a daughter of Mr Richard Cashin, of Dowling-st, Moore Park, well known as the pioneer of the I.O.O.F., New South Wales. Miss Cashin’s war work dates from the commencement of the war. She has occupied many important positions, and has gained special mention from Sir Archibald Murray, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Forces, followed by the award of the gold medal of the Royal Red Cross, first class, the highest a woman can gain. The first news of the torpedoing of the Gloucester Castle was conveyed in a brief cablegram received by Mr Cashin on April 11. Sydney medical men retain vivid recollections of Miss Cashin’s good work in the land of her birth. In England her ability and strong personality were fully recognized by leaders of the medical profession. At the outbreak of the war she was accepted for active service by both the British and French Red Cross. She left London in charge of 33 British and Australian nurses, and was quickly despatched to the vicinity of the firing line in France. In Calais Miss Cashin had charge of the General Hospital, and was then sent to nurse the wife of the Belgian Commandant. After ten months’ strenuous work with the British Red Cross, Miss Cashin, joined the Army Reserve. She was appointed to the General Hospital at Ras-el-din [sic], and took charge of a large surgical ward. In 1916 she was appointed seas matron of the hospital ship Gloucester Castle, and again found her sphere of work enlarged, and including Salonika, Malta, Cyprus, Egypt, Mudros, and Mitylene. By last mail the following letter was received by Miss Cashin’s parents:- “Just a few lines to say all is well with me, as I hope it will keep so; but one never knows, now that the enemy has threatened to sink us. I really think it is only a boast. If they do, I hope it will be when we are alone, and not full of poor wounded, helpless humanity, for then I fear we should all be lost. When we are by ourselves, our chance of saving our lives is fairly good; but if we go, we could not go through better channels, our lives for the cause. We can only watch and pray, and be ready, as well as we can, to obey God’s will. I am not one scrap nervous, and would rather stay on the seas than feel another should take my place who would be nervous. Hospital ship work has nearly always been voluntary, and now there are not so many, which is only natural. I think it is kinder of those who are used to it to see it through, whatever the cost may be. To-day we had sad sights, passed no end of wreckage, but I cannot write about it. “You would laugh to see my little lantern and matches, and a small bag, with a few things is ever ready to grab. It’s always a comfort when the daylight comes after the dark nights. We don’t like nights.” Sunday Times (NSW), Sun 27 May 1917 (p.17): [Shorter version of above – but includes photo – same as AWM] Kai Tiaki: the journal of the nurses of New Zealand, Issue 2, Apr 1917, p.89: The Torpedoing of Hospital Ships ……………………………………………………. In connection with the Gloucester Castle the Editor had the privilege of perusing a letter from the Matron of that ship, an Australian nurse trained at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, who worked for many months at No. 21 General Hospital in Alexandria, where so many of our Nurses were stationed; she was also at the No. 27 Genereal Hospital at Albassia [sic] which was at one time largely staffed by New Zealand sisters. Miss Alice Cashin was trained with Sister M de Pazzi (Margaret Macalister) [see Notes] and wrote to her from Salonica on 12th February. She said: “we are just tramps of the mighty deep, and I trust our Divine Lord will protect us from the enemy. We have had many scares, but each month brings us fresh danger, as long as they do not hit us when we are full we don’t mind; but it’s our dear wounded one feels for. If we are hit when alone we stand a good chance of saving our lives; but if when full – none. May God help us if the hour should come that we shall be brave to go if he calls us.” Miss Cashin has been three times mentioned in despatches and has received the decoration of the Royal Red Cross 1st Class. We are proud indeed to read of the splendid behaviour of this Australian nurse and her staff when the hour of disaster did come. The British Journal of Nursing, May 12, 1917 (p.322): NURSING AND THE WAR The King has been pleased to decorate the following Matrons and Sisters with the Royal Red Cross: THE ROYAL RED CROSS – FIRST CLASS Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve – Matron Alice Cashin, ………….. Nelson Evening Mail, 6 Jun 1917 (p.4): HEROISM OF THE NURSES …………………………………………… Under the heading of “The Splendid Service: the Daily Telegraph recently published what is in truth a glowing record of women’s heroism……………………………. The sinking a few weeks ago of the hospital ship Gloucester Castle provided a typical illustration of the work done by nurses under most trying conditions. This vessel had on board 399 patients. Some were frightfully wounded, many had lost a leg or an arm and in addition to very serious medical cases there were a few whose mental balance had been unhinged by shock or other causes. Just before midnight came the fearful crash of a torpedo right amidships. Everything was thrown out of place, and suffering men were hurled out of their bunks. The bulkheads holding, and the ship yet floating, then it was that the women’s coolness and fine discipline wrought a supreme triumph. In restrained quietness, as we read, every sister or nurse took her station at her own boat. The account continues: “The pathetic procession of the wounded began, and how the R.A.M.C. orderlies assisted the helpless cases adds further honour to their arm of the service. Man after man was got into the boats till the last of all was accounted for. Amid all this steady work of salvation the matron was thinking of every need. For months she had been in this ship, knowing in the more recent weeks that such and experience might come any night. And she had thought out her plans to the most minute details. Every blanket that could be snatched up was brought to her to be placed over the shivering men. She had provided bags full of surgical dressings, easily applied remedies, and even some gentle sedatives for every boat, and they were at hand to pass to each sister or nurse as the boats went down on the davits.” And so the story runs on. An officer called “Are all the sisters off?” and a voice replied, “Yes, but not the matron,” for that heroic figure was emulating the fine chivalry of the sea and her hope of safety was the last boat to be lowered. Kai Tiaki: the journal of the nurses of New Zealand, Vol X, Issue 3, Jul 1917, p.151 The Splendid Service ………………………………………………………….. In our last issue we gave some notes on a letter from the matron of the Gloucester Castle. …………………………………………………………………………………………….. The matron was the last of the sisters to leave the ship, and left in company with some of the worst cases, among them being a lunatic, whom the others wanted to put overboard, but she saved him saying “He’s like his because he did his best when he could.” There was also a poor greaser lad terribly scalded and in the open boat. She endeavoured to alleviate his terrible suffering and removed his clothing and applied such dressing as she could, and the poor lad whose life was despaired of is now on the way to a complete recovery. When the rescue began and the men were being placed on a huge transport, the matron let all the others go before her, but the lunatic was held fast till she had been swung on to the transport. Even then he caught hold of her feet in dread of losing his protection, and pulled her shoes off. Not a patient was lost from the efforts of this awful night. Thanks to the care that these noble women gave them, hardly any suffered so much as a temporary setback, although in the act of jolting upwards, wounds re-opened and fractures became unset. Afterwards it is reported, the matron said: “I did not know I existed. I had always told the nurses to obey all orders, and had prayed I might never lose my own head in danger, and for safety for the patient.” She, in truth, is one of those whose prayers have been granted, and there is not a daughter of the Empire but feels the prouder and better for such an example. The British Journal of Nursing, Sept 14, 1918 (p.165): NURSING AND THE WAR The King has been pleased to award a Bar to the Royal Red Cross to the following lady, for devotion to duty on the occasion of damage by enemy action to a hospital ship: BAR TO THE ROYAL RED CROSS CASHIN, Miss A.E., R.R.C., Matron, Q.A.I.M.N.S.R. Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW), Sat 18 Jan 1919: AN AUSTRALIAN WAR NURSE MATRON ALICE CASHIN Nurse Alice E. Cashin, now matron of the military hospital at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield (England), is an Australian, and was in London in the summer of 1914. As soon as war was declared she volunteered for service and was sent to France in charge of the 4th Unit for the British Red Cross with 33 English nurses under her control. Nurse Cashin writes of these early days:- “At first we were stationed not far from the front. They told us we were 15 miles, but we seemed nearer, for the sound of the guns was terrifying, day and night. Things then seemed to be in a state of chaos. “After four months I was moved, and went to nurse the Belgians. I was with them for seven months, and was then transferred into the reserve and went to Egypt on a trooper. We had 1500 Tommies on board, and we were blessed for we had many narrow escapes. There is something, however, very stimulating in the thought of danger, and it is not so dreadful as it seems. Our men on this ship were nearly all from Whitechapel, and they behaved splendidly. “The ship was so packed that we were all more or less thrown together. If you closed your eyes of an evening you could fancy yourself back in the streets of London, for the men imitated street criers and street organs and all sorts of familiar London sounds, usually finishing up with a song about home. Poor boys, most of them fell on Gallipoli. “At the end of my year in Egypt I was appointed matron of the Gloucester Castle, and you know her fate.” Nurse Cashin (says the Sunday Times) has several decorations to her credit. At the end of her first year’s service she received the Royal Red Cross, first class, and later the King presented her with the bar to this. The Star of Mons is another honor conferred upon this Australian nurse. Writing of the actual presentation by his Majesty, Nurse Cashin says:- “I nearly forgot to tell you about my presentation. It was a great day, the day I went to Buckingham Palace. I was shown into a beautiful room. Then a gentleman in civilian clothing came and put a hook on my cape. Then the Lord Chamberlain came and said: “ ‘Ladies, the King will enter the room in front of you. You will all rise and go one by one into the room. You will see his Majesty on your left; you are not to walk up to his Majesty. You must walk up to me. You will see me standing in the middle of the room. Then turn, face the king, bow, and walk forward. His Majesty will decorate you, and shake hands with you. You then bow again, take one step to the rear, and branch off to the right.’ “I felt a soldier for once in my life. Then we all went to Marlborough House to see Queen Alexandra, for she is our president, and all who are decorated by the King receive a command to go to the Queen Mother after the decoration. She was very sweet. She gave me a beautiful picture of herself and a book on Red Cross work.” Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW), Thur 15 May 1919 (p.18): [Photo] Nurse Cashin ……………………………………………………………….. Matron Cashin, who is in charge of the Military Hospital, Whittington Barracks, Litchfield, which contains 400 beds, has been urged by the War Office authorities not to abandon her post until the hospital is reduced to normal or demobilised. She hoped to leave for Australia about November next. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/115584317 The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 2 Dec 1919: PERSONAL Matron A.E. Cashin, of the Imperial Nursing Service, who has the distinction of having been decorated with the Royal Red Cross and bar, arrived from England yesterday by the R.M.S. Morea. Miss Cashin, who was on the nursing staff of St Vincent’s Hospital some years ago, joined the Imperial nursing service at the outbreak of war. She saw service in Egypt and France, and subsequently had charge of the Litchfield Military Hospital. The bar was added to her previous decoration for “devotion to duty” when the Gloucester Castle was torpedoed. Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW), Thur 4 Dec 1919 (p.17): Personal Notes When the hospital ship Gloucester Castle was torpedoed in the English Channel in March, 1917, Matron A.E. Cashin, of the Imperial Nursing Forces, refused to obey an order to take her place in a departing lifeboat. She insisted that her duty was to help in saving the lives of those on board. And she had her way. For this disobedience Matron Cashin was awarded a bar to the Royal Red Cross, received shortly before for service in France. Matron Cashin, who arrived by the Morea this week, is an Australian and was trained at St Vincent’s Hospital. She left for England thirteen years ago, and immediately the 1914 trouble came joined the nursing service. After five years’ work in this capacity the matron now returns to Australia for a well-earned rest. The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 19 Jun 1920: ST VINCENT’S HOSPITAL ………………………………………………… The 41 nurses on the honour roll include Matron Alice G. Cashin, who was been awarded the Royal Red Cross and Bar. ………………………………………………….. Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), Sun 1 Feb 1920 (p.15): PARTIES AND RECEPTIONS Mesdames A.M. Norton, S.M. Barnett, and J. Johnson were hostesses in Farmer’s lounge in honor of Matron Alice Cashin, Royal Red Cross and bar. The tea-party was arranged to allow Matron Cashin’s friends to meet her after five years’ active service. One year was spent in Egypt, one in France, one on the sea, and two years at Litchfield Military Hospital, England. Matron Cashin was decorated for her refusal to leave the torpedoed hospital ship, Gloucestershire, [sic] until she saw all the wounded put into the boats. She also holds the Mercantile Marine Medal, and is a trainee of St Vincent’s Hospital. Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), Sun 7 Dec 1924 (p.4S): WEEK’S PARTIES The Marrickville Anzac Memorial Club had a dance at its hall, Garner’s Avenue, Marrickville, when presentations were made to the five candidates in the recent Queen competition. The competition was conducted by the club for the purpose of raising funds to meet maturing debentures on the club’s premises. The competition resulted in £785 being raised. The candidates were: Matron Cashin (Marrickville Anzac Memorial Club), …………………….. Matron Cashin was the successful candidate in the competition, and was duly crowned as Queen of Marrickville. Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW), Thur 13 Sept 1928 (p.45): Catholic Sailors, Soldiers and Nurses WREATH AT THE CENOTAPH Before a large gathering of the Catholic Nurses, Sailors and Soldiers of Australia a large wreath, in the form of a Maltese cross, was placed on the Cenotaph by Matron A.A. Cashin, Royal Red Cross Medal, on Sunday. …………………………………………………………. The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 6 Nov 1939 (p.8&7): DEATHS CASHIN – November 4, 1939, at Ovada, Victoria Road, Marrickville, Matron Alice A. Cashin (Royal Red Cross and Bar), Croix de Guerre. Requiescat in pace. FUNERALS CASHIN – Requiem Mass for the Repose of the Soul of the late Matron ALICE A. CASHIN (Royal Red Cross and Bar), Croix de Guerre, of Ovatia, Victoria Road, Marrickville, will be celebrated at St Brigid’s Church, Marrickville, THIS (Monday) MORNING, at 8 o’clock. The Funeral will leave the Church THIS AFTERNOON, at 2 o’clock, for Catholic Cemetery, Woronora. CASHIN – Members of the Marrickville ANZAC MEMORIAL CLUB are kindly requested to attend the Funeral of their late Member, ………………….. Notes: [a Miss Cashin, giving her age as 30 (& Miss McAlister, 32) departed Sydney 30/10/1906 on the Runic for London – arriving 22/12/1906] [a Miss Cashin embarked WA 19/10/1907 on the Kyarra – disembarking Sydney 31/10/1907] http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/904240 [P03896.001 AWM photo c1915 in front of tent at the British Gen Hosp, Calais: ‘This little photo was taken at our hospital in Calais where I have been nursing the poor Belgians. I am now on my way to Egypt! With loving thoughts from the original Alice.’] http://secure.awm.gov.au/collection/P03896.001 [PR03083 AWM private record: This collection of papers contains a typed account entitled 'H.M.S. Gloucester Castle, Torpedoed on March 30 when about mid-channel' written by Matron Alice Cashin and a photograph of Matron Cashin which has a hand written letter on the verso. HMS Gloucester Castle was hit by a torpedo in the English Channel while transporting wounded soldiers 30 March 1917, though clearly marked as a hospital ship. Fortunately only three people of the 399 passengers were killed, owing to the good organisation of Matron Cashin, an Australian nurse serving with Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Corps during the First World War.] ADB entry: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cashin-alice-alanna-12842 http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/unmarked-grave-of-sydney-world-war-i-heroine-comes-to-light-in-family-tree-search-20150627-ghw7oy