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Thread: Australian nurse's life during active service in World War I

  1. #1
    Moderator Al_Saunders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Bundanoon, NSW, Australia.

    Australian nurse's life during active service in World War I

    This really is worth while having a read

    World War One photographs by serving Australian nurse and wife of colonel unearthed by State Library of Queensland

    612 ABC Brisbane
    By Jessica Hinchliffe

    PHOTO: Nurse and photographer Marion 'Winnie' Croll. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
    RELATED STORY: Goodna remembers Galligan family's sacrifice a century on
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    MAP: Brisbane 4000

    A collection of 180 photographs showing a nurse's life during active service in World War I has been unearthed by the State Library of Queensland (SLQ).
    The photographer and nurse Marion Winifred Croll known as 'Winnie' took many snaps during her service and leave throughout Egypt in 1915.
    The library recently acquired the collection after recognising one of the photographs up for sale in an online auction.
    State Library curator Robyn Hamilton said that one of the photos in the auction was similar to a photo of Ms Croll currently being used in one of their exhibitions.
    PHOTO: Many of the holiday photos taken by Marion and her husband during their leave time while serving in World War I.(612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
    "The auction house couldn't identify who the woman was so we had a look at the photos and the penny dropped ... we knew who she was," she said.
    "We discovered that she was the wife of a doctor whose collection we have here at the John Oxley Collection; not only that, he is one of the 25 Queenslanders featured in our current Distant Lines exhibition.
    "It completed a wonderful circle. It is a total jackpot."
    It is unknown how the photos came to be at the auction house, yet Ms Hamilton said it was wonderful the State Library could now add them to their collection so others can learn about life during World War I.
    PHOTO: Colonel David Croll (photo right) with his horse during service. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
    A husband and wife serving together

    Ms Croll was the wife of Colonel David Croll, a commanding officer of the 2nd Light Field Ambulance serving in the Middle East at the time.
    The life of Colonel Croll was researched recently and featured as part of World War I commemorations by the State Library.
    Ms Hamilton said it was unusual to discover treasures from a husband and wife who had both enlisted and served in World War I.
    PHOTO: Most of the photos have handwritten captions on the back of them written by Marion Croll.(612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
    "When David Croll came home he became a well-respected doctor at Sherwood and she [Winnie] was very involved in community work and was involved with the Red Cross Society," she said.
    "He died in the late 40s and she died in the 50s in a plane crash in Singapore.
    "It is wonderful to know more about these two people as they don't have any descendants."
    Ms Hamilton said Ms Croll's photographs depict what life was like during active service in 1915.
    "The photos are in a really excellent condition. They are quite little as photos at the time were but they aren't yellowing and some are really sharp," she said.
    "It is a fantastic collection of a time and a place."
    PHOTO: Nurse Marion 'Winnie' Croll with her husband Colonel David Grifford Croll while on leave in Egypt.(612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
    Uncovering WWI nurses' stories

    Among the photos are moments of down time for the couple and their colleagues.
    "It is fantastic to have photos of him but wonderful [to have] photos of her and her nursing colleagues as well," she said.
    "We don't have many nurses experiences in this collection and it is really important to uncover their stories.
    PHOTO: Marion Croll (far right) with other nurses at a rest home. This is the photograph that helped curator Robyn Hamilton identify Ms Croll's photo collection. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
    "It is a different story to the average infantry man or artillery man that served, so the more women's stories we can uncover the better."
    Of the 180 photos in the collection, Ms Hamilton said her favourite shots are the touristy ones.
    "I like the photos of them in the park where a group of soldiers and a group of nurses, including her husband, have gone to a green park," she said.
    "They are really beautifully composed tourist shots."
    PHOTO: Service men and women taking time out at a park while on leave. (612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
    Carrying on their story

    The State Library was the only group bidding for the unknown photo collection and won the auction last month.
    Curator of ABC's Australia Remembers Jennifer King discovered the online auction after previously bidding on a book written by Australian nurse May Tilton.
    "I'd just been working on The G Word with our digital storytelling team for the Gallipoli centenary and had met Robyn from SLQ," she said.
    "So, I thought 'I know who might be interested in this!' and sent Robyn the link to the auction catalogue.
    "Next thing you know, she emailed me to tell me they'd bought the photos and they were absolutely wonderful!"
    Over the next few months the collection will be digitised and catalogued online allowing the public to see the unique photographs.
    PHOTO: Librarian Robyn Hamilton sorts through the 180 photos acquired by the State Library of Queensland.(612 ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)

  2. #2
    Senior Member TamDrummond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    East-Sussex England
    Wonderful post , again many thanks for posting it.
    Yours Aye
    War does not decide who is right , only who is left.

    Tam Drummond
    Former Musician in the 1st Bn The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment )

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Thanks for the interesting post Al, people tend to forget the role of woman in war. I have just finished a book about female prisoners of the Japs in WW2 and I thought I knew about Jap brutality towards prisoners but this was an eye opener as to how they were treated and the horrendous things that happened, which include torture,rape,enforced prostitution, starvation and daily beatings for the slightest thing. The book is called The Real Tenko by Mark felton and it makes the TV series look like a stay at the Ritz hotel and as a point of interest Al it includes a group of Australian nurses who were really brutalised, it got me so angry.. Bill...

  4. #4
    Moderator Al_Saunders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Bundanoon, NSW, Australia.
    I recall many years ago reading Knights of the Bushido the sheer brutality, cruelty & torture was unbelievable

    Nowadays they talk of women at war but they really need to read their history books as women have played major roles but get overlooked

  5. #5
    Senior Member anneca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    County Down, Northern Ireland
    Yes, this was very interesting and well worth having a read. Many thanks for posting.


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