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Isabella Roberta COTTRELL was born on the 7th January 1870 in Adelaide, SA – daughter of Robert COTTRELL (Accountant) & Jane LOWE – who married in the Trinity Church, Adelaide on the 25/12/1865 Jane died in March 1874, Robert in 1911 Siblings: George Edwin b.25/8/1868 SA; Annie Abina b.30/8/1871 SA; Fanny Ethel b.8/10/1873 SA Educated at the Ladies Collegiate School and Adelaide University Trained in nursing at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital for 3 years from 1893 to 1896 – lovingly known by her fellow staff members as “Cottie” Further experience followed in Private Nursing and as Ward Sister in both the Northam and York Hospitals; she also served as Acting Matron at Northam Public Hospital Isabella married George Lionel THROSSELL on the 1st October 1896 at St Bede’s Church, Semaphore, South Australia Lionel, a Squatter and several times Mayor of Northam, was the brother of Hugo Throssell, VC, and the son of George Throssell, a former Premier of WA Residence: “Uralia,” Gordon St, Northam Children: Evelyn Crystal b.16/6/1898 Northam, WA (Nurse – ATNA – Adelaide Children’s Hospital); Twin sons, Lancelot Ledsam & Gerald Ledsam b.10/1/1902 at Semaphore House, Northam, WA – both served in WW2 – Lancelot d.1980 & Gerald d.1984 WA; Winston Ledsam b.30/3/1907 Northam, WA – WW2 – d.1988 WA WW1: Unable to enlist in the AANS because she was married, Isabella decided to pay her own way to England, and join the British Nursing Service. She had been given a farewell in January 1917 at which she was presented with a travelling case, and was ready to sail, when her passport was cancelled. Finally able to carry out her plans later in the year, she sailed on the Orontes and arrived in the UK on the 15/8/1917. Unfortunately on landing in Plymouth her travelling case was stolen, which contained her nursing credentials and other important papers. Finding temporary accommodation at the Queen Mary’s Hostel for Nurses in Bedford Place, London she applied to join the QAIMNSR and was able to at least show the medallion she had received from her training hospital. Lt Col (Dr) William Hayward, who was stationed at the 1st AAH at Harefield, was also able to supply a reference, having worked with her in the past. Luck was on her side at last and Isabella joined for duty with the QAIMNSR on the 24/9/1917 and served for the following year at Belton Park Military Hospital, Grantham, Lincolnshire. In June 1918 Isabella requested to be able to resign at the end of her contract in September, as she wished to return home to Australia before her twin sons became of military age in January 1919. Having been born in 1902, they would have only been turning 17, but perhaps she knew of their eagerness to enlist – which fortunately never became necessary [both however served in WW2]. Her resignation was accepted and on the 23/9/1918 she embarked on the HT Runic for return to Australia Confidential report by Matron Cooper, Military Hospital, Grantham 25/9/1918: “I have the honour to forward a report on the above named lady who has worked in this hospital for one year. During that time she has worked in a highly satisfactory manner. She is kind to her patients, conscientious, tactful and reliable and excellent in every way as a staff nurse.” The Runic arrived in Fremantle Harbour just as the Armistice was signed, but unfortunately had to be quarantined due to the influenza epidemic In August 1919, Isabella was put in charge of the influenza hospital at Narrogin Isabella died on Christmas morning (25/12) 1921 at the Fermoy Hospital, Northam, WA from severe burns which she had sustained a couple of days earlier, when her clothes caught on fire while she was lighting a fire under her copper to boil the Christmas ham. Her husband, who also received burns to his hands and arms whilst trying to extinguish the flames, finally joined her in 1930 – they are buried together in the Northam Cemetery. South Australian Register, Thur 5 Nov 1896 (p.4): MARRIAGES THROSSELL – COTTRELL – On the 1st October, at S. Bede’s Church, Semaphore, by the Rev. G. Griffiths, George Lionel Throssell, of Northam, WA, to Isabel Roberta Cottrell, elder daughter of Robert Cottrell, of Perth. The West Australian, Wed 17 Jan 1917 (p.8): MRS G.L. THROSSELL NORTHAM’S FAREWELL On Thursday evening last Mrs G.L. Throssell was tendered a public farewell by the citizens of Northam prior to her departure for England, where she intends taking up Red Cross work under the British authorities. The popularity of Mrs Throssell was evidenced by the fact that the large Town Hall was filled with a representative gathering of residents from all parts of the town and district. The hall had been transformed into a drawing-room, and the guests were received by the Mayor and Mayoress (Mr and Mrs A.W. Byfield). The Colonial Secretary (Mr H.P. Colebatch), in presenting Mrs Throssell a handsome leather travelling case, bearing the inscription “Presented to Mrs G.L. Throssell by the residents of Northam and district on the eve of her departure to nurse our soldiers,” said that he felt that without flattery, and without exciting envy or question, he could express the opinion that the one woman the people of Northam could not afford to lose was Mrs Throssell. He did not intend to attempt to even outline the wide scope of her charitable activities. For some time past Mrs Throssell had acted in an honorary capacity as the representative of the Charities Department in Northam, and services had been of great value. She had been an active worker in connection with the schools, and her generous donations of prizes had given practical encouragement to both teachers and scholars. It would be quite out of place on such an occasion to talk about politics, but, happily, in Northam, political differences had seldom extended to personal bitterness or unfriendliness, and consequently the earnest workers in politics had the respect of their opponents, and there was no impropriety in referring to the whole-hearted manner in which Mrs Throssell had worked for those political principles she believed to be in the best interests of the country. But all her generous and self-sacrificing work throughout the years of peace had been quite overshadowed by the splendid manner in which she had risen to the call for service since the commencement of the war. They would not soon forget the wonderful success achieved by Northam in its first big war effort – the Belgian Fair – in which Mrs Throssell, acting, as always, in an honorary capacity, was the chief executive officer. In Red Cross work she had been the moving spirit, not only in Northam, but throughout the surrounding districts. Now, having done her part in a manner that would entitle her to seek rest and comfort, she had determined instead upon further sacrifice, and had offered herself for service as a nurse abroad. Whilst deeply regretting Mrs Throssell’s departure from Northam, they all admired the splendid spirit of self-sacrifice that prompted her to the great adventure on which she was about to embark. Their admiration however, would not mean much unless it also excited a spirit of emulation – a general desire to do something, more to help our soldiers and our Empire. ……………………………………………………………… http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/27003099 Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sun 25 Feb 1917 (p.5s): Perth Prattle Mrs Lionel Throssell, of Northam, was going to England, had her passport, and was ready for the long trail when an order came for the precious bit of paper to be returned. Her passport had been cancelled. It is rather rough, but perhaps a German submarine would be rougher. The Daily News (Perth, WA), Tue 13 Nov 1917 (p.3): Mainly About People On landing at Plymouth, Mrs G.L. Throssell had the misfortune to have stolen from her the dressing case presented to her by the people of Northam prior to her departure (says the Northam “Advertiser”). The loss was a serious one, as the case contained all Mrs Throssell’s credentials, private papers, including the addresses of relatives and friends of residents of Northam. Mrs Throssell has taken up her duties as Sister at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Grantham, and if her friends will communicate with her at that address it will enable her to redeem her promise to call upon their relatives. The West Australian, Tue 26 Nov 1918 (p.5): ANZACS HOME-COMING A CHILLY RECEPTION NURSING SISTER’S STATEMENT Among those who returned in a recent vessel quarantined at Fremantle was Mrs G.L. Throssell, of Northam, who had been on service as a Sister in the Queen Alexandra Reserve, or what is known as the Imperial Service. Being married, she was not eligible for the A.A.N.S. In describing her experiences on the voyage and arrival at Fremantle, Sister Throssell said: - “Beyond the illnesses and wounds for which the men were returning we had absolutely no sickness on board. The commander and medical men were proud of the excellent bill of health which they had to present to the officer boarding the ship in Gage Roads, and his decision with regard to quarantine was anxiously, nay breathlessly, awaited. We came into port in the greatest of spirits and jubilation, knowing we were the first ship to arrive on the dawn of peace, and that we would just be within sight of home when the armistice was signed. We were in touch by wireless most of the way, except for a week when we missed the account of the principal events which led to the ‘crumple up of the German army quicker than was anticipated. Of course, we knew that the enemy was beaten before the weight of the American army was thrown into the field. We had on board among both officers and men some of those who had left Australian in that great Armada which sailed from Albany on October 1, 1914 [sic], the anniversary of which we celebrated on board. These, the flower of our manhood, were some of the men described by John Masefield in his inimitable work on Gallipoli as ‘like unto young gods of ancient times.’ They were men who had borne the heat and burden of the fray for four solid years under every form and device of warfare which a diabolical and scientific nation could invent; men weary and worn, bearing upon them traces of what they had undergone, amongst them being some men minus an arm; men who had saved the situation as only those who were in England at the time can realize – in that mighty onslaught made by the Germans in March, when the Fifth Army broke and Paris and the Channel ports were in danger; when our divisions were brought up and hung on by their very teeth, as it were, until reinforcements could strengthen them and the Seine was saved. “But our reception was a most chilling one – one which will take many years to efface from the memory of those who experienced it, especially those from the Eastern States. We had the yellow flag flying, and we knew that no one could come on board; but the ‘diggers’ did expect at least some official recognition –either from the Commonwealth or the State Cabinet, by wireless or telegram – of the fact that there were troops in the harbour who had made that peace possible which they on shore were celebrating so deliriously. What happened? We simply had a message flashed about 11 pm on the Monday night: ‘Unconditional surrender,’ and saw a few rockets sent up. We were too far out to hear the guns or bells, etc. We ‘processed’ round the deck with our bugles and cornets, dinner gongs, jam tins, anything that would make a noise, and gazed with longing eyes at the ‘Aussie’ shores for which we had so longed. The ‘diggers’ serenaded the commander and officers, sang ‘God Save the King,’ and toasted one another from water bottles, as being a ‘dry’ ship water was all there was. The soft goods canteen had been exhausted since leaving Durban, and owing to quarantine restrictions we could not replenish. Finally we went to bed wondering if this could possibly be the ‘peace’ and home which we had anticipated so longingly. “We were out there the whole of next day and were absolutely ignored; not a message was sent, not a craft of any description approached us. We lay there as an outcast, and the crowning injury of all was that not a single newspaper nor mail was delivered on board. After six or eight hours of this, human nature could stand it no longer……On all sides one heard but one cry, ‘Don’t you wish you were back at the last port?’ “How different was the reception accorded the men there. On approaching port a launch came with Miss Campbell, the now world-famed girl signaler, who with her flags spoke thus: ‘Welcome to …….. Thank you for what you have done for us. Are there Anzacs on board? A double welcome to them. We are proud of you. Sorry you cannot land, but can we do anything for you – shopping, etc.?’ Receiving an answer, ‘Yes,’ she arranged to have our orders sent down by basket, and went away to execute them, for many had come on board with short notice, I myself having but two hours’ warning. In the meantime a launch came out simply laden with fruit; those great coal baskets filled with bananas, oranges, pawpaws, passion fruit, boxes of cake, sweets, eggs (luxuries you people can never appreciate until you have been strictly rationed), all sorts of medical comforts and toilet accessories, papers, magazines, and games, even extra records for the gramophone. There was fruit enough to serve all round and to give three fruit salads per man. Think what that meant. The Australian residents sent a large issue of cigarettes, pipes, and tobacco to the officers and men, and a big box of sweets and cakes to each sister; and the troopship was one bower of flowers from stem to stern. On leaving we received a similar farewell. People lined the moles and cheered and cheered, and many boys registered a vow to visit this place at the earliest opportunity, regretting the necessity which prevented their landing then. The last thing seen was Miss Campbell waving au revoir and a safe journey home. [Red Cross Reply: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/27497296 ] Great Southern Leader (Pingelly, WA), Fri 12 Sept 1919 (p.5): The Influenza Epidemic MEDICAL OFFICER’S REPORT ………………………………………………………….. Sister Throssell was put in charge of the influenza hospital and her staff was added to as circumstances would permit. This was a matter of some difficulty owing to the fact that several nurses and V.A.D.’s were effected by the disease. ……………………………………………… http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/156967336 Western Mail (Perth), Thur 29 Dec 1921: THROSSELL – On Christmas morning, Isabel, wife of G. Lionel, of May-street, Northam, and also late of the Q.A.I.N.S.R. [sic], Grantham, England. A life wholly spent in the service of others. Kalgoorlie Miner (WA), Thur 29 Dec 1921 (p.5): FATAL BURNING ACCIDENT Perth, Dec 28 While cooking a ham last Friday at Northam, the wife of Lionel Throssell sustained severe burns, from the effects of which she succumbed on Christmas Day. The Daily News (Perth, WA), Thur 29 Dec 1921 (p.3): Mainly About People The friends of Mr Lionel Throssell, of Northam, will regret to hear of the death of his wife, which occurred on Christmas morning. Mrs Throssell was lighting a fire under a copper to boil the Christmas ham when her clothing caught fire, and before her husband could get to her she received such severe burns that, despite all that medical aid could do, she died early on Sunday. The sad event has caused a widespread sorrow in Northam, where Mrs Throssell was beloved for her sweet nature and her great kindness in helping all who needed nursing. Mr Throssell is still in hospital with severe burns on arms and hands. The sympathy of all is extended to him and his family in their sad bereavement. The late Mrs Throssell, who was a nurse, received her training at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. During the war she proceeded to London, and joined up with the Queen Alexandra Nurses, and did excellent work. She was loved by her patients, and never missed an opportunity of doing a kind action. The West Australian, Thur 29 Dec 1921 (p.1): DEATHS THROSSELL – On Christmas morning, at Northam, Isobel Roberta, beloved wife of George Lioneel Throssell, and loving mother of Crystal, Lance, Gerald, and Winston. The Register (Adelaide, SA), Fri 30 Dec 1921 (p.4): DEATHS THROSSELL – On Christmas Day, at Fermoy Hospital, Northam, Western Australia, Isabel R. (Cottie), beloved wife of G. Lionel Throssell, result of burning accident.