• Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
  • 1914 Star
Stories and comments
    • SAW, Lilian / Lily Hilda – Nurse, BRC/ Sister, AVH / Sister, QAIMNSR (MID)
    • Posted by FrevFord, Sunday, 8 January 2017

    Born on the 31st of October 1884 in Albany, WA – daughter of Thomas Henry SAW and his second wife, Eliza (Lily) COOPER, who married in St John’s Church, Albany on the 17/1/1884 Thomas was an Accountant and General Merchant, of T.H. Saw’s, York St, Albany – he died 10/1/1945 West Perth, aged 91 Eliza died 6/4/1945 at Nedlands, WA, aged 86 Half sibling: Fanny – marr SEDGEMAN Siblings: all born Albany, WA: 1. Herbert Thomas b.1886 – WW1: Gnr 38180, 3rd DAC – enl 1916, a Farmer of Bow River, Denmark, WA – RTA 1919 (Religion - Methodist) 2. Cecil George b.1888 - d.1889 (1) 3. Nellie Mabel b. 4/3/1890 – WW1: Staff Nurse, QAIMNSR – d. 31/3/1919, age 29 (of TB) – buried Albany Public Cemetery (Old), WA [recognized as Official War Grave in March 2007 – thanks to Sandra Playle] 4. Violet Ethelwynne b.1892 – marr McVICKER SMYTH 5. Clarence Henry b.1895 – WW2: Army no. W71645 L/Cpl, 6th Bn VDC - enl 1942, Resident of Bow River, Denmark, WA Educated at the Girls High School, Albany, WA Trained in nursing at the Perth Public Hospital from 1907 – passing her final exam for the ATNA in June 1910 – leaving in 1912 as a Sister Private nursing in Australia and South Africa for 2 years Embarked at Albany 2/7/1913 on the Medic for Durban, Sth Africa [also on board, Miss Wilson] In South Africa when war broke out, she proceeded to England, arriving mid-September 1914 Address on arrival: 33 Belsize Square, Hampstead WW1: BRC: Together with May Wilson, she was accepted as a Trained Nurse with the British Red Cross, and from the 6/10/1914 to the 6/4/1915 served at the No.1 Red Cross Hospital, Paris and the Australian Voluntary Hospital, Wimereux – her character was recorded as “Most Reliable” AVH: Transferred from the BRC to serve directly with the Australian Voluntary Hospital (AVH), Wimereux in April 1915, and was still serving with them when they were taken over by the War Office on the 1/7/1916 and renamed the 32nd Stationary Hospital. QAIMNSR: She was then accepted as a member of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR), and continued at the 32nd SH for most of that year, with 5 days Special Leave to Etaples from the 20/9/16. During her time with the AVH / 32nd SH she had served for seven months as a Theatre Sister Admitted to hospital on the 27/11/1916, she was then transferred to the Convalescent Home from 19/12/16 to the 18/1/1917 –at which time she was posted to the 18th General Hospital Admitted to hospital again from 28/2/1917 to 10/3/1917 Posted to the 24th General Hospital 11/4/1917 Leave from 5/10 to 19/10/1917 Posted to the 7th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) 13/1/1918 – and then the 10th Stationary Hospital 7/2/1918 Transferred to the Nurses Homes at Abbeville 14/2/1918 Posted to the 7th General Hospital 24/2/1918 – returned to the 7th CCS 16/3/1918 – 6th Stationary Hospital 27/3/1918 – 5th CCS 25/4/1918 – 61st CCS 15/8/1918 – 5th CCS 1/9/1918 – 48th CCS 18/9/1918 – 5th CCS 27/9/1918 Leave from 17/10 to the 31/10/1918 Posted to the 41st Stationary Hospital 16/11/1918 – then 5th CCS 10/12/1918 On the 31/1/1919 Lily requested her resignation from the QAIMNSR, even though she had signed a contract until the end of June 1919. She wished to return home, due to her sister Nellie’s ill-health. Her resignation was accepted; but only a week after Lily was demobilized and long before she could return to Australia, Nellie died. Confidential Report, 11/2/1919: “A/Sister Saw, Lily Hilda, joined 5 CCS 25-4-18 as theatre team Sister. She proved a most excellent theatre Sister. Since 10th Dec 1918 she has had charge of acute medical wards on day and night duty; she is a most capable and conscientious nurse, good at ward work and ward management, shows great kindness towards her patients, is of a quiet disposition, and is well liked by her fellow nurses.” Sister I/C M. Pool, T.F.N.S., 5 CCS “Miss Saw is one of the most capable Sisters who has served with this CCS.” Maj Wilson, R.A.M.C., 5 CCS To the UK 23/3/1919 to be demobilized 24/3/1919 Returned to Australia on the Morea – embarked London 18/10/1919 – arriving Fremantle 21/11/1919 Address on return to Australia: Bow River, via Denmark, WA Married William Herbert LISTER on the 18th January 1923 at the Wesley Church, Albany, WA [Born 12/12/1884 Stanton, Durham, England – son of Wm Coates Lister (of Canada) – Schoolmaster / widower, of Barmera, S.A. – WW1: Lieut, 25th Btry, 7th FAB – WW2 – Horticulturist] (Only) Son: Peter Alan b.11/6/1925 Berri, SA Living Glossop (Mackie’s bag), SA 1939, 1943, 1945 Living 33 View St, Albany 1954, 1958 Died on the 14th of May 1960 in WA, age 76 (Reg. district Plantagenet) (Albany) Cremated and her ashes scattered over the garden at Karrakatta Cemetery Albany Advertiser (WA), Wed 18 Nov 1914 (p.3): UNDER THE RED CROSS A letter received this week from London from Nurse Saw, who is about to leave for France, may interest some of her old Albany friends. Nurse Saw writes, under date October 1: – “We have been accepted and were to have left for France last Tuesday, but when we got to the Red Cross Office on Monday, in answer to a postcard from Lady Gifford, asking us to call on Monday, as our unit would probably leave on Tuesday, we found that each unit had been postponed, so that Saturday’s was to leave Sunday and Tuesday’s was to leave Thursday (to-day). We called again yesterday and after getting papers, etc., fixed up, heard that we were to be put off till Saturday, or perhaps till next week. We were fearfully disappointed, and so was Lady Gifford, still it could not be helped and it is far better to wait in London, instead of doing so in France as we have heard that others have done so. At the same time they are needing nurses badly in parts of France. We are quite fixed up now, have filled in our pass-ports and contracts and received our uniforms (hat and badge, great coat and aprons); also £4 as equipment. We are to get £2 2s a week when there. We have been a fortnight in England tomorrow, but have not been sight-seeing very much as we were anxious to get our equipment fixed up. The great coats are navy blue and very like any military coat. The hats are black felt and have a small red cross badge of enamel. We also have strong leggings. The weather is not so cold as when we landed. It was dreadfully cold then. We have had some nice bright days since. The flowers are glorious in the shops and streets, beautiful roses especially. The grapes too, are beautiful, but frightfully expensive, up to 4s 6d per lb. (hot-house grown). We are now to leave London on Tuesday, October 6 for France. Lady Gifford is sending 50 nurses this time. It is the fifth unit and a sixth is to leave later. We are in splendid spirits to-night, at the prospect of going on Tuesday. I do hope that it will not be postponed again. There are doctors and orderlies going by the same boat as the nurses on Tuesday. Only fully-trained nurses are being sent to the front.” Albany Advertiser (WA), Sat 6 Nov 1915 (p.3): The Australian Voluntary Hospital LETTER FROM NURSE SAW Sister Saw, who is still on duty at the Australian voluntary hospital in Wimereux, France, writes as follows in a letter dated September 10: “We have been much busier lately, but just today we have not so many patients, as a lot have gone on to England during the last few days. Such a fine lot; one feels that one can never do enough for them, after all they have gone through. Oh, their dreadful wounds and the wonderful way they stand pain and keep so cheerful. When an order comes from headquarters to evacuate, everyone who is fit to travel has to go. We frequently hear from ex-patients after they got to hospitals in England. Lady Dudley gave us a dinner a few weeks ago in honor of the unit’s anniversary in France. We had it in one of the tents at hospital. It was very nice indeed. While we were having dinner Lady Dudley ‘s son, Lord Edmund, arrived down from the front. He joined in and stayed till the following day. We had a great splint demonstration held at our hospital a few weeks ago. It was so interesting. Nearly 200 doctors were present. There were some wonderful new splints and appliances shown in working. Several great men demonstrated. Some had come down from the clearing stations. We had a great afternoon, serving afternoon tea to all the visitors. Sir George Reid honored us with a visit last week. He stayed a couple of days. We all were asked to dinner at the officers’ mess, while he was here. It was a very pleasant evening; such interesting speeches. I have never enjoyed a speech more than I did Sir George’s. He is a wonderful speaker. It is the first time I have heard him. The following day he spoke to the officers, sisters and men in front of the hospital. Some of the convalescent patients were present, too. Sir George was very pleased with our hospital. I am writing this on the beach near our home. It is a glorious day, which makes it hard to realize that not many miles away war is raging. The tide is a long way out and the beach looks so pretty. Such a lot of French people have been past here for a walk. It seems to be a favorite spot with them. I had a very nice outing two days ago. I motored to Calais. It was such a lovely trip. I had not seen the town part of Calais before, as I had such a short time there in October last year. It is quite a nice place – nicer than Boulogne, I thought. Word came just before I came off duty that patients were coming in, so I expect we will have something more to do to-morrow.” Albany Advertiser (WA), Wed 15 Nov 1916 (p.4): Somewhere in France Mrs T.H. Saw has received the following letter from her daughter, Nurse Saw, who is engaged in military nursing, “somewhere in France”: – “Well, we have started on the third year of this great war. How little I dreamed two years ago, this time that I would now be here in France, looking out from a mess sitting room window over a pretty little garden (made for us by an enthusiastic Tommy patient, and one time gardener), across the road on which khaki-clads and ambulances traverse, in large numbers, and continuously day and night to the lines and lines of long huts belonging to our hospital. It is a busy place and I often wonder how you picture it all. No one can realise the vastness of this war until they get right here in France. The tales the boys tell us of the fighting since the great advance. Oh, it is dreadful. We are getting our own back again the last few days. I have lots to tell you, but am not allowed to write about it. I am afraid my letters are very dry in the effort not to say more than we should and not to ‘grouse’ at this sad old existence. How glad I shall be when we are able to settle down to ordinary living once more. I feel particularly fit at present, even though we have to keep up speed all night long, and day and night staffs overlap their times. Still this is our little ‘bit’ that we are doing towards the sad patching process, after awful mad man-killing and wrecking, that nearly the whole world’s nerve and mind seem so intent on. There is really a joy in our work, which helps to keep one up and seems to give one extra strength to go on. It’s just the living in each moment and doing our very best for these dear boys who bear their pain so bravely and are so grateful for the little we do for them. Two funny old fisher-grans have just gone by. They wear black dresses, mostly full-skirted, and wee aprons, and white old-fashioned sun-bonnets. They carry huge baskets on their heads. There are always a lot of French girls and children, with their baskets of sweets and fruit from the village. They all look so quaint, with uncovered heads and neatly-dressed hair. Some of the children are such cheeky little brats, with their little bits of broken English that they have picked up. “September 22 – I went somewhere yesterday where I had not been before, to such a sweet little country village. It was so restful and such perfect peace; only seven kilos. away from here is all rush and bustle, with screeching trains and tearing ambulances, dusty roads and many peoples. The quiet, peaceful country where one could almost forget the war, with the exception of a little cavalry band who passed us. We only saw one Frenchy in uniform. We walked there and back in fields of ripe corn and red clover, passing no one, over hill after hill, with here and there a few stray harvesters, mostly women, making hayricks; not a farm-house to be seen except in these wee villages, which one comes across in every few miles. How I wished for my camera, or to be able to sketch in all the colors, so wonderful. We entered the quaintest of cafes, kept by some ancient gran and her daughter. The room was small and beautifully clean; an old gilded clock under an oval glass took an important position on the mantle-shelf, evidently an heir-loom, as it had ceased to tell the time. Beside the chimney stood the proverbial glass-fronted dresser of old, if not valuable china. These we noted while we cooled our parched throats with lemonade and the old gran made our omelettes in a queer miniature kitchen and shop combined, adjoining the entrance-room. After being refreshed and rested, we did a little exploring; came across a little old church in a quaint ancient grave-yard, which was, of course, Roman Catholic. Well, there is no more news of interest, except the sad, exciting, but monotonous rush of work, and our pleasant outings into the woods, which at present make up our existence.” “I am starting my night duty tonight, at least it is now morning, and I am feeling very tired, as I had only one hour’s sleep after I came off day duty at 2 p.m. It is very nice to have patients to look after again after being in the operating theatre for the last seven months. Last month was one of the worst I think that we have had. We were going all day and night; sometimes 20 to 30 operations a day, often working up to 12 midnight and sometimes until 2 a.m. Most of them were very bad cases, so you can see we have been fairly busy. Our hospital has been taken over by the British Army now. The one-time No.8 Australian Voluntary Hospital is now the No. 36 Stationary [sic]. After two years’ existence they have run out of funds. Of course, with all her other hospitals now Australia can hardly be expected to keep it going under the same conditions. Our matron left us yesterday for another hospital and we have now a regular army matron. She is very nice and we like her very much. I now belong to the Q.A.I.M.N.S. Reserves, and am likely to be moved at any time. I wonder if I will be moved. I am rather keen to get up to a casualty clearing station, but would rather not go to another hospital. 5 p.m., same day – Have just risen, after a delightful six hours’ sleep, and have refreshed myself with tea over at the mess. Risked my life by doing so, as we are not supposed to be up before 7 p.m., but as a French band was playing with much vigor and some sweetness, I awakened, and then, feeling pangs of hunger could not sleep again. To-morrow I move to the night-nurses’ quarters in the nurses’ home. To-day I have had my old room in hospital, which I had as theatre sister. One of my patients at present is Lieut. Boccard, of Perth. He has been very ill and has had one leg amputated. You probably saw by the papers that the King had again visited France. It was a secret and not published until he returned to England. It was a great sight the morning he arrived; quite a fleet of troopships, destroyers and aeroplanes. We had a great view of them as they passed on their way to Boulogne. I am feeling very well, lately, only very tired. I think it is the reaction of July, which was so frantically busy in the theatre. Oh, our dear Australian boys. How I have felt for them lately. They do love to meet Australian nurses, too. Thanks for the “Western Mails.” I have read them and handed them on to patients. Papers are eagerly read in the wards.” Albany Advertiser (WA), Sat 8 Nov 1919 (p.3): PERSONAL Mr and Mrs T.H. Saw have been advised that their daughter, Nurse Lily Hilda Saw, is returning to Australia in the s.s. Morea. The steamer left England on October 8, and is just about due in Australian waters, but whether she will call at Fremantle is not known. Nurse Saw was in South Africa when the war broke out, and at once proceeded to England. She reached London in October, 1914, and joined the Imperial Nursing Staff. Proceeding forthwith to France, she remained on duty there till the armistice. She then saw the entire conflict through on the Western battle front. Most of her time she was attached to a forward dressing post, and so it was that she was called upon to first dress the hurts of her brother, Private Bert Saw, when he was wounded. Private Bert Saw is also on the way home. Albany Advertiser (WA), Sat 20 Mar 1920 (p.3): Nurse Lily Saw, who three months ago returned from Europe, where she had rendered years of service during the war, and has since been residing with her parents beyond Denmark, is at present spending a holiday in Albany. With her sister, she is the guest of Mr and Mrs F. Hyde. It is probable she will remain in town till the end of next week. Albany Advertiser (WA), Sat 27 Jan 1923 (p.3): WEDDING LISTER – SAW A wedding of great interest locally was celebrated at Wesley Church on Friday, January 18, when Miss Lilian Saw, daughter of Mr and Mrs T.H. Saw, Marron Downs, and of one of the oldest families in Western Australia, was united in holy wedlock to Mr William Herbert Lister, of Barmerea (S.A.), late lieutenant in the 25th Battery, 3rd Division, of the A.I.F. serving in France. The Rev. S.B. Fellows, assisted by the Rev. M.R. Maley, performed the ceremony. The church had been artistically decorated by Mrs Berliner. There was a floral arch, with wedding bell suspended, under which the bridal party stood, and flowers and greenery were displayed about the altar and in the front pews. At 3 o’clock the bride, who was given away by her father, entered the church, with her maids, to the strains of the organ. She was gowned in soft white satin charmeuse, which was cut with tunic effects and embroidered in white and silver. The sides of the skirt were gracefully draped. A large silver flower, worn at the waist, with white Scotch heather and orange blossoms, caught at the side of the tunic. The bride wore her husband’s returned soldier’s badge also. A beautiful veil and wreath of orange blossoms was simply arranged and in her arm she carried a sheath of white Californian poppies. The bride was attended by her sister, Miss Ethelwyne Saw, and Miss Thompson, who were daintily frocked in shell pink ninon, with picket edged frills at intervals on the skirt and sleeves, while silver and pink flowers formed girdles for their waists. Black crinoline hats, trimmed with pink and silver wreaths, were worn, with pink stockings and slippers to match. They carried posies of pale blue Delphiniums, tied with pink tulle. Mr Herbert and Mr Clarence Saw acted in the capacity of best man and groomsman. The wedding march which was played by Mr Berliner, burst forth as the bridal party emerged from the vestry. Before passing the fallen soldiers’ monument in York-street, a thoughtful wish of the bride was performed by the chauffeur, who reverently placed her sheath of poppies on the memorial. Mr and Mrs Saw received their guests at the Masonic Hall, which had been decorated and arranged as a drawing room, pink and blue being the prevailing colors. Flowers and balloons of like shades gave a truly festive finish to the artistic scheme of decoration. A spirited orchestra supplied gay music during the serving of a dainty afternoon tea. In proposing the toast of the bride and bridegroom, the Rev. S.B. Fellows eulogised the good work of both bride and bridegroom during the great war, where they had met face to face with its sadness and horror in the advanced lines on the battlefields of France. The bridegroom suitably responded. Mrs Harold Day sang “My Dear Soul,” accompanied by Mrs Dickson. After the toast of the bridesmaids, which was responded to by Mr Bert Saw, Miss Berliner sang “They Say,” accompanied by Mr Berliner. Mr Day proposed the toast of the parents of the bride and bridegroom, which Mr Saw ably acknowledged. After the cutting of the bridal cake and the bidding of many farewells, the happy couple left by the evening train for the country, there to spend a few days before leaving for South Australia. The bride’s going away costume was of fawn cloth, handsomely braided with material of the same shade, a smart hat of gold straw and trimmed with tinted leaves, with shoes and stockings en suite completing the costume. The bride’s mother was gowned in black silk, handsomely beaded, and wore a black and white hat. She carried a bouquet of red roses. Mr and Mrs Lister received many beautiful gifts and wishes of good will from many near and distant friends. Albany Advertiser (WA), Sat 3 Feb 1923 (p.3): PERSONAL A dark and stormy evening near the front line in France. A party of four nurses alight from a car near an artillery station. The sergeant, all grimy and dirty, comes forward to find the girls who had come to form an advanced hospital post – the first of their party. He got his boys to work with spades, making a trench into a temporary shelter, made up of some beds, pinched the tarpaulins from the guns for a roof and so made the nurses comfortable for the night. One of the nurses was Nurse Lily Saw. The gunner was Mr Lister. It was their first meeting. Some time elapsed before the next meeting, but though Mr Lister had become a captain of the headquarters staff of the 5th Brigade, he feared to put his fortune to the test, much as he wished to do so. Later on he missed meeting her in the Strand, London, by three minutes. All his searching brought no success, so as a last resort he sought for her address and found it at the Records Office. On returning to South Australia he wrote, asking permission to pay a visit. To the West “he came, he saw, he conquered. “ Now he has taken his bride to his home in South Australia. Miss Lily Saw spent 4½ years as a nurse at the front, most of the time in hospitals in France. Mr Lister spent 3½ years at the front in the artillery. Western Mail (Perth, WA), Thur 16 Jul 1925 (p.2): BIRTHS LISTER (nee Lilian Saw) – On June 11, at Berri, South Australia, the wife of W.H. Lister – a son (Peter Alan). Mother and child well. Notes: Her father’s Obit 1945: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/44993231