Olive Lilian Creswell HAYNES

HAYNES, Olive Lilian Creswell

Service Number: Nurse
Enlisted: 21 November 1914
Last Rank: Nursing Sister
Last Unit: 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF
Born: St Peters, South Australia, 7 January 1888
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Tormore House School
Occupation: Nurse
Died: Natural causes, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia, 10 April 1978, aged 90 years
Cemetery: Warringal Cemetery, Victoria
Warringal Cemetery, Heidelberg, Victoria Plot L002
Memorials: Adelaide HB13 Royal Adelaide Hospital*
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World War 1 Service

21 Nov 1914: Enlisted Australian Army Nursing Service
5 Dec 1914: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service, Staff Nurse, SN Nurse, 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
5 Dec 1914: Embarked Australian Army Nursing Service, Staff Nurse, SN Nurse, 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF, HMAT Kyarra, Melbourne
19 Sep 1915: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service, Staff Nurse, 2nd Stationary Hospital (AIF), ANZAC Gallipoli
1 Dec 1915: Promoted Australian Army Nursing Service, Nursing Sister
13 Aug 1916: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service, Nursing Sister, 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, Pozières
2 Jan 1917: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service, 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF
11 Dec 1917: Discharged Australian Army Nursing Service

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Biography

Sister Olive Haynes has recently entered the spotlight as a result of the dramatisation of her life in the 2014 ABC TV series "ANZAC Girls", which was written using We Were There Too, a collection of Olive's letters and extracts from her diary, edited by her daughter Margaret Young. Young's book gives us an invaluable insight into the experiences of an Australian Army nurse whose service saw her minister to casualties from some of Australia's most significant campaigns in the Great War. 

Born in St Peters to the Reverend James Crofts Haynes and Emma Creswell, Olive was educated at Tormore House before beginning nursing training at the Adelaide Hospital in 1909. On graduation in 1913 she worked as a charge nurse before taking some time to travel and work as a private nurse.

When war was declared in 1914, Olive enlisted, embarking on the SS “Kyarra,” which arrived in Alexandria in January 1915. She was assigned to the No. 2 Australian General Hospital (2AGH) (/explore/units/53), which had taken over the Mena House Hotel, where she worked with casualties from the Gallipoli campaign. She moved to Ghezirah, “a beautiful place,” at the beginning of May, and then oscillated between Ghezirah and Alexandria as the 2AGH responded to the casualties of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. [1] After the August Offensive, Olive transferred to the No.2 Australian Stationary Hospital (/explore/units/165) and 2AGH at Lemnos, where she served until January 1916. After a short stint with 2AGH at Ghezireh, Olive was transferred to the No. 3 Auxiliary Hospital at Heliopolis.

On April Fool’s Day 1916 Olive disembarked from HMHS “Braemar Castle” at Marseilles, where she served with 2AGH until moving first to No. 12 Stationary Hospital and then No. 13 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne in June. In Boulogne, Olive treated men who had been “very badly wounded” at Ypres, and those that had suffered from German gas attacks.[2]  From August to December 1916, Olive served with the No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station (/explore/units/125). While with 2ACCS, Olive wrote a series of letters home, which showed not only the tragedy of war, but the lighter human moments that broke through the fog. On 24 October 1916, after describing her sadness at the death of a Flying Corps officer who had asked them to tea, she wrote to her parents, “[t]he Germans put up a board above trenches so that the Tommies could see it – ‘Gott mit uns,’ [God is with us] and the Tommies put up a notice for them, ‘We have got mittens, too’.”[3]

Olive became engaged to Australian soldier Norval Henry “Pat” Dooley in December 1916 after a letter to home on 30 December 1916 in which she wrote “you all seemed so concerned about me at home, so I thought I’d better get married after all” although she stated they would not get married until after the war.”[5] In January 1917, she was taken on strength by the No. 2 Australian General Hospital. She was with 2AGH when the first of the wounded came in from the initial fighting at Ypres and Passchendaele. After a bout of bronchitis in October which saw her transferred to Britain, she returned to work in the Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. On 11 December 1917, Olive resigned from the Australian Imperial Force “in consequence of marriage.”[6]

Both Olive and Pat returned to Melbourne where, along with raising seven children, Olive demonstrated an ongoing commitment to social welfare. This included offering meals and shelter, and providing free medical assistance and, in the 1940s, Olive, helped to establish a school for children with intellectual disabilities. Olive passed away at the age of ninety with a record of military and social service of which anyone could be proud.

 

1.       Olive Haynes, “Excerpts from Diaries 14th to 18th May 1915,” in Margaret Young (ed.), We Are Here Too: the Diaries and Letters of Sister Olive L. C. Haynes November 1914 to February 1918, second edition, Adelaide: Australian Down Syndrome Association Inc., 1993, p42.

2.       Haynes, “Excerpts from Diary, 16th – 18th June,” in Young (ed.), We Are Here Too, p149.

3.       Olive Haynes, “Excerpts from Diary, 16th – 18th June,” in Young (ed.), We Are Here Too, p149.

4.       Olive Haynes, “Letter dated 24.10.1916," in Young (ed.), We Are Here Too, p168.

5.       Olive Haynes, “Letter dated 30.12.1916," in Young (ed.), We Are Here Too, p176.

6.       National Archives of Australia: B2455, Haynes O L C, Sister.

 

 

References

Margaret Young (ed.), We Are Here Too: the Diaries and Letters of Sister Olive L. C. Haynes November 1914 to February 1918, second edition, Adelaide: Australian Down Syndrome Association Inc., 1993.

National ANZAC Centre, “Olive Lilian Cresswell Haynes”, accessed 27/10/2015, http://www.nationalanzaccentre.com.au/story/olive-lilian-creswell-haynes (www.nationalanzaccentre.com.au)

National Archives of Australia: B2455, "Haynes O L C, Sister," accessed 27/10/2015, http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/NameSearch/Interface/ItemDetail.aspx?Barcode=4737929  (recordsearch.naa.gov.au)

 

 

 

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