By Michael Doran
At the Yarra Junction cenotaph, the Remembrance Day theme was the contribution made by female nurses in world war one.
Yarra Junction RSL Vice President, Dennis Reeves, spoke about the role the nurses played at Gallipoli and how within hours of the landing the beach was covered with wounded soldiers.
“When they finally got them off the beach and to the hospital ships, there were 570 wounded soldiers and seven nurses,” he said. “By the end of the day there were many more wounded but still only seven nurses.”
“A hospital was to be set up on a nearby island but when the 40 aussie nurses stepped ashore there were more than 200 men laying on the beach with no blankets, no medical supplies, no nothing.”
“The girls lifted up their skirts, ripped off their petticoats to use for bandages and treated the injured that way.”
Local women Naomi Booker attended the service dressed in a replica world war one nurses uniform. “If you were wounded and saw this uniform, you would have been bloody pleased to see her,” Mr. Reeves said.
“Some nurses even paid their own way to get there because their dads, brothers, cousins and friends went off to the big adventure.
“When the guns fell silent on the eleventh of the eleventh another battle started. That was the battle for the soldiers returning to civilian life after 4 years of living on hell’s edge – and it’s not much different today.”
“They came back with shell shock and today we call it PTSD; same thing, just a new name.”