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Remembered Today:

Nurse Epsie Campbell


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Guest makrhod

Hello

I have joined this forum for two reasons.

Firstly, my grandmother Epsie Harriet Campbell served as a nurse at Kalamaria during the Salonika Campaign, and here is the link to the only photo I have of her in uniform. It was in a frame she embroidered before she left Victoria (Australia), and I have had it mounted with her badge and medallions.

Sadly, she returned from the war to Australia in very poor health and died only a few years later, after producing 3 children in quick succession (my mother and her siblings). I have no information about her war experiences, but her medallion indicates she worked at the 52nd British General Hospital in Kalamaria, so I expect her story was very similar to the following account of a contemporary:

"She left Melbourne aboard the RMS Mooltan, a mail steamer, along with 300 nurses bound for Salonika. The ship arrived at Suez on 19 June 1917 and the nurses travelled to Cairo via train. On 12 August 1917, Jessie embarked for Salonika aboard the Osmanich, arriving on 14 August 1917. On arrival, Jessie worked in British hospitals including the 52nd and 50th General Hospitals."
I have not yet searched the forum for other mentions of this particular hospital, but I shall do so, parftly to understand more about my grandmother's life, and also because of the second reason for joining ...

I will be visiting Greece in September (my first trip to that country), and I have arranged to spend the night in Kalamaria, so I can see the sort of country where my grandmother worked. I know the area is now almost a suburb of Thessalonika, but I am sure I will be able to find some memorial or similar reminder of the battles and hardships there.

I know about the Salonika Campaign Society, and I will visit the related forums here. I just wanted to introduce myself and explain my only known connection with WW1. I look forward to learning a great deal more.

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

Your grandmother certainly had a rough time of it.

Not sure if you've accessed her Service Record: http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/imagine.as...mp;I=1&SE=1

A quick summary:

Embarked Melb on the Mooltan 12/6/1917 – disembarked Suez 19/7/17 – embarked Pt Said 26/7/17 on Gorgon – for duty at 66th Gen Hosp, Salonika 30/7/17 – joined for duty 52nd Gen Hosp 29/8/17

Admitted 43rd Gen Hosp 25/9/17 (Dysentery) – adm Sisters Conv Camp 31/10/17 – discharged 25/11/17 (total 6wks hosp, 6 wks conv camp, 16 wks off duty)

Medical Board held at 43rd Gen Hosp 25/2/18: Disability Colitis following Dysentery – found unfit for further service & recommended she be returned to Australia

Embarked for Egypt (enroute to Aus) 20/3/18 per Gorgon – disemb Alexandria 25/3/18

Returned to Australia per Wiltshire 30/3/18 (from Suez) – 1/5/18

Discharged 25/11/18

Report from 11th AGH in June 1919:

Malaria on returning transport (should probably read Apr 1918, not May 1917) Last attack Apr 1919, a poisoned hand at No 11 AGH Feb 1919, Spanish Flu Apr 1919 (& Dysentery Sep 1917)

Good luck with your research

Cheers, Frev

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Guest makrhod
Hi and welcome to the forum.

Your grandmother certainly had a rough time of it.

Not sure if you've accessed her Service Record: http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/imagine.as...mp;I=1&SE=1

Thank you for the welcome, frev, and it was very kind of you to find her service record. I did get a copy of that a few years ago, and it is not really surprising that she died only a few years after her return: dysentery, colitis, malaria and Spanish flu all within the space of a year! And yet she looks so vibrant and healthy in her pre-departure photograph (linked in my post above) - it just shows what dire conditions everyone experienced.

The amazing thing is that she managed to produce 3 children after all that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi makrhod, and a belated welcome from me too!

Epsie's first posting, 66th General Hospital, was not in Kalamaria, but up on the Hortiach Plateau above the city.

66th GH was a tented hospital located in the acute angle (i.e. east) of the road junction at 40.6247 23.0705 on Google Earth.

It arrived from England in July 1917 and was there until the end of the year, when it was transferred to Italy. In March 1918 the site was taken over by No.80 GH.

Some photos are held at the Australian War Memorial site:

http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/H16004

http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/H16003

Adjacent to 66GH further up the road to the northeast was the Sisters' Convalescent Home/Camp where Epsie recovered after her treatment.

http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/A02796

52nd General Hospital was in Kalamaria. It arrived in Salonika from the UK in June 1917 and from August was housed in huts recently vacated by the 4th Canadian General Hospital.

The site was centred around Google Earth coordinates 40.5860 22.9515, and bounded roughly by the modern roads Mitropolitou Kallidou (NW), Kapetan Goni/Pontou (NE/E), Metamorfoseos (S) and Argyropoleos (W). The park halfway up Amisou was the hospital garden.

Here's a photo that I posted in another thread a while back, of 52nd GH taken in late 1918 or early 1919:

post-16303-035696600 1279701329.jpg

The photographer is standing in the middle of the south perimeter road (now M.Kallidou) of the French Aviation Park, which is off to the left, and looking roughly eastwards. (Standing on a spot which, if my calculations are correct, I can see from my office window as I type this!)

43rd General Hospital was close by. I'm not sure exactly where, but I think it ran either side of the modern street Komninon (40.5823 22.9503) between Metamorfoseos and Pasalidou. Komninon is now the main pedestrian shopping street in Kalamaria.

43rd GH arrived from the UK in August 1916 and included a "Sick Sisters" department of 100 beds specifically for treating casualties among the nursing staff of the many hospitals in and around the city.

In Kalamaria today I'm afraid you will struggle to find any vestiges of life in WW1, apart from Mikra CWGC Cemetery which is about a mile away at 40.5786 22.9646.

When the Allies departed in 1919, the wooden hospital huts were left behind. In Kalamaria they were used to house the floods of ethnic Greek refugees - first from the Caucasus/Crimea/Ukraine in 1920 (fleeing Revolutionary Russia), then from Asia Minor in 1922-23.

Gradually, as personal finances and government aid allowed, the huts were replaced by stone/brick/concrete houses, which in turn were replaced by the present concrete apartment blocks from about the 1960s onwards. However, I understand that some huts were still in use up to at least the 1940s.

The landscape on the Hortiach Plateau is less spoiled, but now there's only Kirechkoi-Hortackoi CWGC Cemetery up there (40.6254 23.0494, unfortunately obscured by cloud since the latest Google Earth update).

If you need any advice or assistance before/during your visit, please don't hesitate to contact me - apwright AT otenet DOT gr

Adrian

in Kalamaria

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  • 3 years later...

Sorry to have dodged all of you for so long, but I've been properly chastised by "the war department" (read: wife) and told that I should get on with my promised work. I've been researching this topic from a different angle, that of No. 4 Canadian General Hospital. "We" (also read: wife) had a great aunt that served there as a Nursing Sister until the unit was evacuated in 1917. Any idea if this hospital was located in the same area, Adrian? We've also got a lot of pictures of the personnel and some of the area around Thessaloniki, as Aunt Alice took a lot of snapshots and brought home postcards. We are literally digging up history, as family members passed away and passed several cartons of these little artifacts to us. Thanks, Group!

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  • 1 year later...
Guest BrightonCemetorians

Hello - I am part of the Friends of the Brighton Cemetery where Epsie and her parents are buried. We are going to include Epsie in our Anzac walk next year and would love to be able to make contact with family.

my email is - infor@brightoncemetorians .org

Many thanks

Lois

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  • 7 months later...

Hello - I'm researching the nurses who recuperated at Osborne House North Geelong post WW1 service. This facility was Victoria's only Red Cross rest home for ANZAC nurses 1917-19. Can you please confirm that Epsie spent time recuperating here and for how long? Thanks. Cheryl

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  • 1 year later...

Guest Makhrod - I am also related to Epsie. She is my great-great aunt and I would love to get in touch and share information, if you are interested. I have just spent several days in St. Arnaud looking for photos of her from the street parade that they threw when the soldiers and nurses returned from WWI. But I couldn't find anything. I did take a photo of her name on the honour role at the hospital.

 

I have found more information about how she died in a book written by Margaret Cole - For God and Gold. It has a lot of my family in it and a little about Epsie. If you are on ancestory.com, I can share what I have with you.

 

Thank you.

Edited by Guest
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I suspect that "Guest Makhrod" hasn't visited the forum for many years. Incidentally we don't recommend people posting their email addresses lest they be "harvested" by spammers.

 

Moonraker

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  • 2 years later...

Hi there I am from Stuart Mill.  Which is about 25kms from St Arnaud.  We actually own Epsies and her husband John Ogburns T model ford from when he was a dentist in Charlton. 
 

I would be interested in talking to any relatives Interested in the information I have. 
Sheryn 

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