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Remembered Today:

Mr Duffy

A Woman Remembered

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Mr Duffy

Would like to mention Olive Louisa Crooke born 17 April 1871 County Kildare Ireland . Her father the Rev Milward Crooke was a Chaplain to the Armed forces during the Crimean war.

Three of her brothers died in various wars. One brother Thomas Leslie Crooke 1861-1943 arrived in Christchurch NZ and became the senior medial officer at the Christchurch Hospital.

Her uncle Thomas Bernard Hackett was awarded the VC during the Indian mutiny.

Olive studied under Sophia Jex- Blake( 1840-1912). Scotland's first female doctor. Olive Crooke became a pharmacist. Adjusting her age in order to join the Red Cross. She served as a VAD

( Voluntary Aid Detachment).


Serving in WW1 in France at No 72 General Hospital at Trouville as chief dispensing pharmacist. The military hospital provided beds for 1,600 patients.

After WW1 Olive moved to Bombay India before returning to London England. Now aged 60 years old she moved once more to Kenya.

In 1934 she arrived in Christchurch NZ to live with her retired brother Surgeon /Dr Thomas Leslie Crooke.

After Thomas's wife Janet Emily Crooke ( nee Smith) and her brother Thomas has passed on Olive travelled on the SS Rimutaka and sailed a month arriving in New York on 31 March 1944 after sailing through waters filled with U- Boats in the North Atlantic then finally docking in Liverpool England 18th April 1944.


Exactly two months later  June 18 1944 11.20 am Olive was attending a service at the Queen's Guards Chapel when Hitler ordered the bombing of London with the new V1 flying bombs.

Striking the Chapel in which Olive Louisa Crooke life was taken from her along with some 120 soldiers and civilians were killed and 141 others seriously wounded.

The Queen's Guards Chapel was considered one of the most serious V1 attacks on London.


Olive Louisa Crooke 1871 -1944 was pioneer pharmacist who served and died. A very well respected woman of her era here in Christchurch New Zealand. One whose life is not forgotten.

"Lest We Forget".


Olive autographed her brothers Shakespeare's Birthday Book on her Birthday along with family relatives friends and colleagues and some 800 plus others, which came into my possession

now 16 years ago. 


I hope this is of interest for a story about a Woman Her  Served in The Great War. 

From Shane Duffy Christchurch NZ.







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Thank you for this story.

It's the first I hear about women pharmacists serving in France. I'll definitely be interested in more if you have.



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Very interesting and a sad end

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Welcome to the forum Shane - and thank you for sharing the story of Olive Crooke.


What I found most fascinating (apart from the fact that she was a pioneer pharmacist) was that she survived the first World War whilst serving her country - yet was killed by enemy action in the second.  It reminded me of one of our Australian nurses whose life followed similar circumstances:



Cheers, Frev

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