Lemnos 1915: Then & Now — large format photo book now available for sale

Elsie Tranter

1916-1919. Studio portrait of Sister Elsie May Tranter, Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS), of Oakleigh, Vic, wearing her ward uniform. AWM P09173.001

Elsie May Tranter, of Fyansford, Geelong, joined the A.A.N.S. on 17 August 1916, aged 28.

  • Embarked Melbourne Orsova – 6 December 1916
  • No. 26 General Hospital, Étaples – 13 March 1917
  • To hospital sick (suspected measles), Étaples – 6 April 1917
  • No. 5 Stationary Hospital, Dieppe – 16 July 1917
  • No. 1 General Hospital, Étretat – 13 January 1918 (course of training in the use of anaesthesia)
  • No. 29 Casualty Clearing Station, Grévillers – 17 March 1918
  • No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital, Doullens – 22 March 1918
  • No. 5 Stationary Hospital, Dieppe – 21 May 1918 (possibly 19 May 1918)
  • No. 3 Australian General Hospital, Abbeville – 28 August 1918
  • RTH – 4 July 1919

Service Record – National Archives of Australia

In all those lines

In all those lines: the diary of Sister Elsie Tranter

Cumming, Elsie May & Gillings, Jennifer Mary & Richards, Julieanne 2008, In all those lines : the diary of Sister Elsie Tranter 1916-1919, J.M. Gillings & J. Richards, Newstead, Tas

Published in 2008 but hard to find. It is our favourite first-hand account; like the editors of this book, we now have a great affection and admiration for Sister Elsie Tranter.


What was planned to be just a few hours to have a ‘quick look’ at the copy of Elsie Tranter’s diary held by the State Library of Victoria became virtually all of our few days holiday in Melbourne. We both became enthralled by her account of life and work as a nurse during the First World War. Her writing has a vibrancy that we found engaging and compelling…

Elsie Tranter

Her diary reveals her to be bright, articulate and well read. Her curiousity, energy, eye for detail and sense of humour are also evident in her writing.


Elsie returned to Australia on the HT Norman, disembarking at Melbourne on August 18, 1919. At the end of November she was discharged from the Army. She nursed in Victoria before marrying William Gordon Cumming in 1922. She and Gordon had met in France during the War, Gordon having served with the AIF in various field ambulance and hospital units. Once married, they lived in Gordon’s home town of Launceston, Tasmania…

Elsie and Gordon enjoyed a good relationship and were happily married until Elsie’s death in 1968. Gordon died in 1972.

Jennifer Gillings and Julieanne Richards, In all those lines

See also

In the footsteps of Sister Elsie Tranter, 2011

Photos & captions on Flickr

Published Friday June 3, 2011 · Last modified Sunday January 22, 2012
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence

We're pleased that people are using this website as a source for locations, quotes and other primary source material. It's why we published our notes on the web. But we'd very much appreciate a footnote or credit. Much of the hospital (and other) location information for Lemnos and the Western Front is original research -- thank you, from Bernard & Cheryl