Nurse honour board

Published by The Garland Collection on


A spirit of deep devotion characterised the gathering held in St. Luke’s War Chapel on Monday, when the honour board erected by The Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society, in memory of those members of the Australian Army Nursing Service who have gone from Queensland to serve at the Front, was unveiled by the president of the society, Mrs. Le Fanu [ Mary (“Margery”) Annette Ingle Le Fanu, neé Dredge ].

Drawing the veil reverently from tbe face of the board, Mrs. Le Fanu said that she uncovered it in honour of the nurses “who went from Queensland to serve in the Great War, women which followed Jesus, ministering unto Him”.
The “Hymn for the Absent” was then sung, and the 20th Psalm “The Lord bear thee in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend thee” recited by the congregation.
Chaplain Lieutenant-Colonel Garland [ David John Garland ], in the course of a brief and earnest address, said that at the top of the honour board was engraved the name of Florence Nightingale, and it was not too much to say that of all the women who lived in the 19th Century, no one had done so much for humanity in general as that great woman had done.
Only one whose will was indomitable could have accomplished so much, and left so great a heritage as the result of her labours.
As we thought of her we thought of those whom we were honouring that night – the representatives of that noble army who had trodden in her steps.
We could give them no higher praise than to say that they were worthy children of her in whose honour throughout the British world that day they wore their red capes.
That they were worthy of their founder two instances that he would mention would demonstrate. When the French ship Marquette was sunk in the Aegean, 10 New Zealand nurses stood back and said, “Fighting men first”, going to their graves with the thought that they might save life. When the Transylvania was sunk by a submarine recently, 50 or 60 nurses were put in a boat with five men and struggled in the heavy seas ’till the boat was overturned.
For five hours they clung to the boat, and one of the men said these nurses were the bravest women he had ever met – there was never a whimper from one of them, and they were, doing men’s work with the oars.
These things touched us as we read of the bravery of our women. Yet the patient endurance, the never giving in, the weary round, the aching feet, the fatigue and the monotony, all showed just as great bravery as the incidents he had narrated, sublime as were the stories of heroism, greater still was this patient, daily heroism.
The speaker then instanced a case at the Enoggera camp that had come under his own notice, where a nurse had patiently tended a sick man for days and saved his life.
Did we not do well, he said, to honour such womanhood? Were we not honouring ourselves when we recognised such devotion as that?
Our hearts should be filled with gratitude as we thought of all that this meant for our boys so far away from home.
We knew that loving, thoughtful, unselfish, never-failing, unsacrificing care would be given to them day and night.
That night those present would have the opportunity of contributing towards the Nurses’ Equipment Fund established by the “Courier”.
The least the people of Queensland could do for these noble women who went forth on their mission of love was to show in tangible form appreciation of their efforts.
Surely it required no act of faith to believe that the deeds of these noble women were accepted by Him Who looked down on all, and Who gathered up as treasure in heaven whatsoever was done in His name.
The honour board, of Queensland maple, handsome in its chaste simplicity, bore the names of 240 nurses, of whom three – Nurses Nora Violet Mowbray, Myra E. Wilson [ Myrtle Elizabeth Wilson ] and Agnes Beryl Corfield – have made the supreme sacrifice.

– from page 5 of  “The Queenslander”, 20 June 1917.