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

Olive Haynes

Olive Lilian Creswell Haynes enlisted August 1914, aged 26.

28 November 1914 – embarked Kyarra with 2 A.G.H. to Egypt
18 September 1915 – 2 A.S.H., Lemnos
1 December 1915 – Promoted, Nursing Sister
January 1916 – Egypt
4 April 1916 – Disembarked Braemar Castle, Marseilles
14 June 1916 – 13 Stationary Hospital, Boulogne
13 August 1916 – 2 A.C.C.S., Trois Arbres
2 January 1917 – 2 A.G.H., Wimereux
25 October 1917 – Hospital sick, 14 G.H.
23 November 1917 – 3 A.A.H., Dartford
11 December 1917 – resigned appointment in London, in consequence of marriage
2 May 1918 – returned to Australia on the Wiltshire (“came home as an indulgent passenger”) [note: photo in We Are Here, Too suggests she returned on the Llanstephan Castle]1

Service Record – National Archives of Australia

1 Thanks to Frev, who confirms that she returned on the Llanstephan Castle based on an article in The Advertiser (Adelaide), Thur 18 Apr 1918 that notes Sr Haynes’ return from active service, and her own file on ships returning to Australia that shows that the Llanstephan Castle embarked passengers in England 15/2/1918 & arrived Adelaide 17/4/1918.


Olive Haynes ca.1915

Olive Haynes was the second child of the Rev’d James Crofts Haynes, who came to Australia from Ireland in 1853, and his second wife, Emma (born Creswell). She was a prolific reader, and played the piano and the mandolin. She was educated at Tormore House, North Adelaide and trained as a nurse at the Adelaide Hospital, 1909-12. She did some private nursing before enlisting in the Australian Army Nursing Service in 1914.

She nursed in Cairo then was posted to the island of Lemnos, to a very basic and inhospitable camp which had been chosen for the embarkation of troops for Gallipoli and as a respite and clearing station for the sick and wounded from the Peninsula. In 1916 she went to France, and served in a number of places behind the Lines. She married Norval Henry (Pat) Dooley in Oxford (UK) in 1917.

They returned to Australia in 1918, and settled in Pat’s home state of Victoria. They had seven children, one of whom had Down Syndrome, and Olive was involved in establishing a school for the intellectually handicapped at Ivanhoe, Victoria. She also supported a number of charities. During the depression she helped people who were out of work and “on sustenance”, providing them with meals and work, and during World War II she worked for the Comforts Fund. In her later years she supported the Ivanhoe Helping Hand Association, and was presented with a silver medal to commemorate 30 years of service to the organization.

AustLit – The Australian Literature Resource

We are here, too

We are here, too : the diaries and letters of Sister Olive L.C. Haynes, November 1914 to February 1918 was published in 1991. The book was put together by Margaret Young, Olive’s eldest daughter.

Many nurses are mentioned, especially Olive’s particular friend, Pete (Sister Peters). Olive has a great ear for the language of the day (she says she and Pete should write a War Dictionary) and is very aware of being Australian, different … “the ‘up agin the Government’ attitude” writes her daughter.

Following are extracts from that book that relate to locations for Through These Lines.

No. 2 Australian Stationary Hospital, Lemnos

18th September – Had lunch at 12.00 and left ‘Assaye’ in a barge with all our luggage directly after. Arrived at a little landing-place and all got ashore. They sent an Amb. up for Col. Fiasi – took No.3 (25) Sisters off, and then our O.C. came down for us. Beautiful harbour. Living in tents, eight in a tent. Everybody so pleased to see us. Got a beastly headache. Saw Daw and Crep at No.3.

19th September On duty. Plenty to do – poor old chaps lying everywhere.

30th September Snakes, moles, scorpions and centipedes are rife here. I search my bed every night and generally manage to catch something.

A.W. Savage, 1915. Sick sisters outside their sick quarters. AWM J01455

3rd October Got Lemnitis, otherwise Dysentery – up all night.

5th October Sent to No.3 Sick Bay.

10.10.1915 The other night we had a fine old storm – a lot of the tents fell in. We thought ours was going, but it didn’t. Sister Howitt’s fell in, and all her things got wet…

The sunsets here are simply gorgeous – sometimes the sea is a pale mauve, and all the battleships black, and the sky shades from rose pink to pale blue.

15th October Discharged from hosp. today, but only to go on light duty for a few days. Went over to No. 1 Stat.

25th October Firing going on all last night at Dardanelles. We could hear them quite plainly.

16th November Blake and I went over to East Mudros again and took our buckets. The last time we can go, a the ferry leaves Egyptian Pier at quarter to four instead of quarter to five for the future.

18th November A beautiful day after the storm. Keith, Blake and I walked over to Portiana this afternoon… No. 3 have huts up for the Sisters.

28th November Snow and sleet today. Too cold for anything. Got into breeches and puttees and went up to No. 18. Awful – nearly died coming home – wind so strong.

30th November Men from Suvla coming in. Most awful frost-bitten feet. They had a terrible time. Men frozen to death standing up. Their feet are worse than any wounds. It makes you sick doing them, and they are so grateful for anything.

6th December Have expanded to over 1,000 beds. Men lying on the ground and everything.

20th December The last of our men have left the Peninsula. We saw the Clearing Stat. (John) march in. Only three casualties. It is wonderful hearing all about it.

22.12.1915 It is so funny now – we watch for the boats. ‘Four Funnelitis’ is a disease everybody has got, more or less. The ‘Aquitania’, which takes patients to the base, is a four-funnel boat and it’s the aim of everyone to get there. The excitement in the tents when she comes in and we get them all off!

25th to 29th December On all day Monday (27th) moved all my men into a hut. In the evening John, Mr. Raws and Mr. Drummond came up to see us. Matron is letting us have days off now while we’re having so little to do, so today Capt. Howson, Jolly, East and Henderson took us to Thermo. We walked there in 1 hr. 41 mins. – at least Capt. Howson and I did; the others were half an hour later. We all had lunch. Omelette, cheese and biscuits and oranges – crowds of officers there, so we had to wait for the bath. It was beautiful. We had a bath running hot water from the Spring all the time. They say Helen of Troy used to bath there. Then we walked back and came across the harbour in a boat instead of round. Had a beautiful view of Greece and the Dards.

Capt. Foxton arranged to take us to Mt. Elias (where Elija was taken up in a chariot) next day. We went down to the lines to wish Mr. Young a happy Xmas – also Sister Basetti in Sick Bay. Arthur came up and wished me Happy Xmas, also Bill Beresford and Dil Jose – so we had quite a happy Xmas, although we missed the second L. Horse – were going to do such lots.

Next day, Capts. Foxton, Howson and MacDonald and Blake and Watson and I set out for our walk to Mt. Elias directly after lunch. We took food with us – a billy and firewood. We walked to the very top in two hours and had a great view of Thermo Racecourse and the Dardanelles and Imbros. It was a climb. Capt. Howson stayed at the foot and boiled the billy.

It seems that we are really going soon. We are evacuating everybody. We got off duty at 11.00 this morning (Wed. 29th) and took our lunch and went across in the ferry to East Mudros.

We went straight to the village and went into a little Greek shop and gave the old chap our billies and some coffee and a tin of milk and told him to boil it for us (en Francais). Then we got a newspaper and spread it on a small table and sat in the window-sills and ate our lunch and watched the French soldiers and all sorts – Sudanese, English – passing by. They were all very interested in us, of course, and the Greek kids gathered round. ‘Australia vera nice, vera good, Turco finish.’ We ate mandarins and Xmas pudding that Col. Powell had given me. Then we went into the church and lit a candle each and said a prayer and climbed up to the very top of the church and had a beautiful view of the battleships and everything.

9.1.1916 The other afternoon Sister Daw and I walked to Kondria, such a pretty little port over the other side. We bought mandarins and nuts and ate them in a shop.

2 A.S.H. · West Mudros · Lemnos Island ·

No. 13 Stationary Hospital, Boulogne

19.7.1916 The Captain in my ward is awfully decent to us and such a clever surgeon – he does wonders… They have a special Jaw Ward here, where they have all the smashed-up faces, and really they do wonders. They have a special French sculptor – most frightfully clever – who makes new jaws and noses and faces and the men will hardly be disfigured at all. This is a special Surgical Hospital and we get all the worst wounds – so you can imagine the work there is…

… you can’t get anything but beastly pastry and cream things here. I am sick of the sight of French cooking.

No. 2 A.C.C.S., Trois Arbres

25.8.1916 We had a bit of excitement the other morning picking up bits of shell and shrapnel which landed just outside the tent. Some bullets fell just beside one of my patients, who picked them up for souvenirs. The aeroplanes are always flying around here above us and, as soon as the Germans spot them, they open fire and we do the same when theirs appear. There is a huge gun (14 ins.) just near us. We went up to see it. It is all hidden and covered up, and when it fires the windows smash in the houses around and everything shakes. The Engineers who are looking after it live on a train and are awfully nice to us. They have us to tea on the train in one of the vans and do all they can. They always come to tea on Sundays if we are not rushed. You see, the work comes in rushes. We get them in and send them all on next day to the Base – the hospital train comes in, right up here; we are not supposed to keep patients, but be always ready to receive them. Just now the line is fairly quiet and we don’t get so many. There are always snipers and bombs, etc., going but still it is when they make an attack that they get such terrible casualties.

The other day I had a chance to go on a transport wagon to a town [Bailleul] near here, but the Col. wouldn’t let me, as the place was being shelled. I would love to have gone in spite of the shells. He won’t let us go anywhere, though, nearer than we are. I got a ride to No.l A.C.C.S., though – that is about five miles back. It was great. I saw Col. Newland and Capt. Foxton and Charlie. Capt. Foxton and Charlie came for a walk up the town. It was so nice seeing them, and then I came back in a transport wagon. They are coming over to see us when they can get across.

Do you know ‘Fragments from Flanders’ at all? You’ll see a picture of Plug Street with a house and some advertisements on it. We are just near there, and if we walked about a quarter of a mile would be in Belgium. Try and find Nieppe on the map – of course I mustn’t tell you where we are.

29.8.1916 We had a bit of excitement yesterday. Some Bosch aeroplanes were over here and ours opened fire on them and the shells were flying some. We heard a whizz, and you should have seen everyone duck. A shell landed just near us and made a hole 4 ft. deep. The boys dug it up and gave it to Matron pour un souvenir.

… the O.C. [R.E.] of the train and Mr. Butler took us along to see little Elsie. She is a big gun. We saw all over her, and everything, and the Major in charge of her explained all about her. We passed about 20 shell holes, some about 12 ft. across, all made by German shells at the last strafe, and a farmhouse which had been shelled to bits. We went in some dug-outs. It was awfully thrilling.

The Mj. took us back to his dug-out, or rather billet, as he is in a hut affair, and gave us lime juice and salted almonds. While we were there some Bosch aeroplanes came over, and Cranky Cissie (another of our guns) fired at them and our aeroplanes gave chase. They have such funny names for the guns. Funny Fanny Flanders is another.

The Major asked me would I like to go up in the Observation Balloon. I would love to – you would get such a good view of the German trenches. He said he would bring the man in charge along. I hope he won’t forget.

24.10.1916 Sister Dickson and I had such a sad experience the other day. We were going up to the Flying Corps to tea, and we were just there when we thought we would go and look at some shell holes a bit further on. We were just past when we heard a machine gun and, looking up, saw a Bosch aeroplane firing on the Observation Balloon, and it sent a bullet (a new sort that sets fire to anything) – (incendiary or flame projector) – bang – into the balloon, and in two seconds the whole thing was on fire and coming down. It made us feel sick to watch it.

We knew the two men who were in it. One got into the parachute – there was only time for one to get away, and the other man knew that, and wasn’t he plucky letting him go first? The parachute didn’t open until he was about 200 feet off the ground, but he landed safely. By this time, our guns had got to work and shells were flying right merrily. We jumped into a dug-out for the time being until they stopped. The ‘plane got away. We hurried to the fallen balloon in time to see the officer put on a stretcher and carried into the ambulance. It did give us a shock, as he was the very officer who had asked us to tea. He died about five minutes after we got there. It was so sad. He was only about 21, and such a nice man. He had been up to tea with us at our mess only the Sunday before. These things happen every day up this way, we know, but it’s different when you see it and anyone you know. ‘C’est la guerre.’

No. 2 A.C.C.S. · Trois Arbres

No. 2 A.G.H., Wimereux

15.1.1917 Kit McNaughton and Ida Mockridge and Packard and I are the only four Lemnosites left here. Kit and Ida are absolutely two of the best. They room near Pete and me, and we share everything. They both come from Victoria – Eddy rooms near us, too.

The new Matron here [Matron E. Gray] is so nice – a great improvement on the last [Matron Nellie Gould]. They say Miss Davidson is going up to No. 2 C.C.S. I wish she had been up there while we were there, as the one we had was an old swamphound – N.S.W., of course. Pete and I hate N.S.W. people (with a few exceptions) and hope and pray we never have to go to that part of Australia, apres la guerre, for fear of meeting some of the women from there that we’ve met out here. They are all bonza from every other State.

11.3.1917 It is Kit McNaughton’s birthday on Thursday so after 8.00 we are going to have a Lemnos party. There are seven of us left. We are going to have sardines, as they were our greatest luxury over there. Miss Robertson (who was our Matron at No. 2 A.G.H.) is going to get a written invitation, with injunctions, to go to first dinner that night, so she will get her appetite up again at 8.00 to be able to do justice to the spread. Some spread it will be.

Miss Davidson is about to depart to No. 2 A.C.C.S. – has only been here a little while. I wish she had been there when I was there. We had a mouldy old Matron (Auntie Bessie) up there.

28.7.1917 No. 2 A.C.C.S. was bombed the other night – four killed and 20 wounded – no Sisters this trip, but do you remember me telling you about a dear old Brother Wilson who used to make tea and toast for us up there? He was killed. Ida Mockridge is going up there tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind going back there, in spite of the bombs.

The other afternoon, the Rest Camp asked us out to some sports they were having. They sent a ‘bus for us, and it was one of the old London ‘buses which was sent out here in 1914 and was in the Retreat from Mons. The Sgts. asked the C.O. if they could ask us to tea, and he said they could. It was great fun. The Tommy Officers had the Tommy Sisters to their mess for tea and the Sgts, had all the Aussie Sisters. They were so pleased, and when the Aussie and N.Z. officers found where we were going they came too.

The boys had gone to such a lot of trouble. They had lettuce salad and fruit salad and sandwiches and chocs., and they had such pretty little paper serviettes for us. They had asked us to bring a cup; one of the Officers said, when he saw the spread, ‘No wonder they wanted to draw extra pay last night’. We did enjoy it, and so did the boys. They said when they heard that some of the Sisters had been wounded, ‘Fritz will get it good and solid for this’.

Sister Bemallick, from the R.B.N.A., has been wounded in the eye. Had a narrow escape.

19.8.1917 Fritz has been very busy shelling the C.C.S.‘s. Ever so many Sisters have been wounded and some killed. There were a few brought up the other day and one has lost an eye and the other eye has almost gone.

30.9.1917 There has been a heavy bombardment all night.

[Monday] It has been pretty lively here today. Fritz came in the middle of the day. I slept through it all, I am glad to say. But, however, he came over again tonight. Some raid, too – bombs were dropping like one thing and guns going and shrapnel dropping on the roof. The poor patients, naturally, got the wind up. It is the limit. Fritz knows jolly well the hospitals are here – he might leave them alone.

4.10.1917 The wind is blowing a gale tonight and everybody is happy because Fritz can’t get over on account of it. The patients are sleeping peacefully, secure from bombs. Such a number of horses were killed the other night – the poor dears were shot all over. One of the orderlies got shell shock so badly that he went quite mad. Several got it in a lesser degree.

No. 2 A.G.H.


Photos sourced of Sister Haynes

View photos on Flickr

Published Saturday June 25, 2011 · Last modified Tuesday September 25, 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