• B Coffey

  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) (ARRC)
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
Stories and comments
    • COFFEY, Benigna – Sister, QAIMNSR (AARC, MID)
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 20 August 2018

    Anna Marie Celia Benigna COFFEY was born on the 23rd of May 1887 at St Helen’s, Tasmania – the second daughter of Thomas John COFFEY, J.P. and Anna Maria COTTON, who married in Campbelltown, Tas on the 17/4/1884 Her mother Anna died on the 28/10/1888 from congestion of the lungs, aged 36 Thomas died at his home in St Helen’s on the 10/7/1908, aged 90 Siblings: *Mary Margaret Wynifred b.6/2/1885 St Helen’s, Tas; *Imelda Colombia b.16/8/1888 Portland, Tas – Staff Nurse, QAIMNSR – marr R.W. JACKSON 1917 – d.1970 Vic Religion: Catholic Attended St Helen’s State School, Tas Living at the family property “Doone,” St Helen’s, Tas, in May 1902 when she applied to attend an examination to become a Pupil Teacher 1914: Electoral Roll: Anna Marie Benigna Coffey – Nurse’s Home, Hobart East – nurse 1915: Hobart General Hospital Resident of Kelvedon, Triabuma, Tas WW1: Joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve 2/4/1915 as a member of a Special Detachment from Australia, and embarked on the Malwa 6/4/1915 for Egypt, arriving 4/5/1915 In Egypt she served in the 17th General Hospital, Alexandria, and also on the hospital ship Dongala She was Mentioned in Despatches in 1916, and awarded the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) 1919 Served at the 32nd Combined Clearing Hospital, Syria in 1919 Confidential Matron’s Report, 32nd CCH, 27/1/1920: Sister B. Coffey has worked under me for the last twelve months. The management of her wards generally is excellent and her nursing capabilities are above the average. Arrived in the UK from Egypt on one months Leave 26/3/1920 Posted to the South African Hospital, Richmond Park, Surrey, for duty 28/4/1920 whilst awaiting repatriation Returned to Australia on the SS Orontes, embarking London 19/6/1920 and arriving Sydney 3/8/1920 Married James Cooper STEWART on the 6th of July 1926 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart [Born 1888 Hawthorn, Vic – the only son of Gordon Robson and Isabella (Belle, nee Gilbraith) STEWART – WW1: Lieut, Kings Own Scottish Borderers] Returned to Australia on the Philadelphia, embarking Liverpool 14/2/1918 James died in 1928 at Eltham, Vic, aged 40 Benigna living in Swansea, Tas 1934 1936 Electoral Roll: Anna Maria Benigna Stewart, 35 Princes St, Queenborough, Tas (no occupation) Living Hobart, Tas in 1941; Hawthorn, Vic in 1945 (letters to the editor) Benigna died on the 5th December 1961 at Kingston Beach, Tas She is buried with her husband at the Boroondara General Cemetery, Kew, Vic 1902 Letter to the Minister of Education (Tas archives): “Sir – I respectfully beg to apply for permission to attend an examination with a view to being appointed a Pupil Teacher in a State School, should a vacancy occur. I would prefer an appointment, in the event of my passing an examination, to a school in the Portland District.” The Mercury (Hobart, Tas), Sat 10 Apr 1915 (p.7): HOBART GENERAL HOSPITAL BOARD On the 24th ultimo Sister Coffey tendered her resignation, as she had been accepted for active army nursing service, and was leaving Tasmania on April 3. The resignation was accepted with much regret at the loss to the hospital of Sister Coffey’s highly esteemed services, and the committee conveyed to her their best wishes for future welfare and safe return to Tasmania. Daily Post (Hobart, Tas), Thur 22 Jun 1916 (p.6): MEN AND WOMEN Among the nurses mentioned in General Maxwell’s despatch (published elsewhere) is the name of Miss B. Coffey. This young lady entered the Hobart General Hospital as a nurse about seven years ago. She is a native of the East Coast district. Supplement to the London Gazette, 1 Jan 1919: His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Royal Red Cross to the undermentioned ladies of the Nursing Services in recognition of their valuable services with the British Forces in Egypt: AWARDED THE ROYAL RED CROSS 2nd Class Miss Benigna Coffey, Sister, Q.A.I.M.N.S.R. Advocate (Melb, Vic), Thur 12 Aug 1920 (p.2): SISTER B. COFFEY, R.R.C. Sister B. Coffey, a nurse with a very wonderful war record, was a passenger to Sydney on the Orontes. She enlisted at the commencement of the war, and, no Australian nursing unit being yet organised, joined the British army. Her first active service was on the Gallipoli Peninsula with an English division, to which there were only six nurses attached, though the proper complement was 73 nurses. The work of the nurses in that tragic campaign was more than heroic, and had to make up for the woeful understaffing and poor equipment of the field hospitals. It is stated as a historical fact that the nurses were so busy tending the sick and wounded, night and day, that for eleven weeks they had not even time to change clothes. After the Gallipoli campaign, Sister Coffey saw service in France, then in South-west Africa. She returned to Egypt, and served in Palestine and Mesopotamia. Perhaps her most remarkable experience, however, was with the expedition across the north of Africa to Tripoli, the distinction which was given only to two nurses. About 800 miles of this journey had to be made on camels. Even now Sister Coffey is not resting on her laurels, or, rather one might say decorations, but is going to accept the task of hospital reorganisation throughout the whole territory of the Emir Feisul, starting from Damascus. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas), Tue 12 Apr 1921 (p.4): PERSONAL Sister B. Coffey, formerly of the Hobart General Hospital, has returned to Hobart, after an absence of six years. During that time she was attached to Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Service, and had a distinguished career of war nursing. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross, and was mentioned four times in despatches for special services. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas) – Fri 27 Aug 1926: MARRIAGES STEWART – COFFEY – On July 6, at St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, by the Rev Denis Murphy, James Cooper, only son of the late Gordon Robson and Belle Stewart, of Ormea, Mercer-road, Malvern, Victoria, to Benigna, second daughter of the late Thomas and Anna Coffey, of Doone, St Helens, Tasmania. The Argus (Melb), Sat 15 Dec 1928: DEATHS STEWART – On the 12th December, at Kooringorama, Eltham, James Cooper Stewart, beloved husband of Benigna Stewart. (Tasmanian papers please copy) 1941 Letter to Editor re Australian choices and the war: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/25862509 1945 Letter to Editor re Political trends: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/26135699 1946 Letter to Editor re Civil Service vote: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/26357581