Someone to Watch Over Them

Someone to Watch Over Them

Today we pay special tribute to the women who played such a important role in the care of those who were wounded, the ill and the dying, during the Great War - the nurses.

Local (Adelaide) poet, Robert Jarrad  has kindly allowed the reproduction of his beautiful poem - Angels.


Colours of grey and scarlet softly meld in mind.

Gowns of grey and scarlet, memories warm and kind.

I recall sweet fragrance, gentle kindness most of all.

From stretchers, pale faces peered at angels standing tall.


Clinical sister, nurse of bliss, mothers some of you –

we loved you all: you were our saints, our saviours thro’ and thro’.

As starburst skies exploded in pyrotechnic night

you tended beds in canvas tents by arc Tilley light.


You held cold hands and prayed with us when we were alone,

shared secrets heard by no-one else and hoped for peace back home.

We told you of our worst fears, our horrors and our hates.

Your softness comforted many passing through the Pearly Gates.


You dressed our wounds, washed our skin, encouraged us to fight.

A different war within ourselves: you gave us back our might.

We were but boys turned into men by death that feasted strong.

Bodies mend but minds bear scars that haunt the blackness long.


When at last we won the race and bid you sweet farewell

you stayed and bore the load in wards of blood-red hell.

Angels in grey and scarlet, we owe our lives to you.

Angels in grey and scarlet, you’re God’s gift through and through.


© Robert  J Jarrad

Sister Olive Haynes - The collection of Olive's letters and diaries, We Were There Too, edited by her daughter Margaret Young, was used in the writing of the 2014 ABC TV series "ANZAC Girls". Click on the photo to find out more about this exemplary member of the Australian Army Nursing Service.