The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Staff Nurse Amy Veda O’Grady, Australian Army Nursing Service, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.304
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 31 October 2018
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on, Staff Nurse Amy Veda O’Grady, Australian Army Nursing Service, First World War.

Speech transcript

Staff Nurse Amy Veda O’Grady, Australian Army Nursing Service
Date of Death 12 August 1916

Today we remember and pay tribute to Staff Nurse Amy Veda O’Grady.

Amy O’Grady was born about 1877 in Castlemaine, Victoria, the daughter of Daniel and Ellen O’Grady.

Little is known of her early life. She undertook nursing training at Melbourne Hospital at the turn of the century and worked at various hospitals over a period of 13 years, including in London, where she trained to be a midwife, before enlisting in the Australian Army Nursing Service in August 1915.

She listed her next of kin as her elder brother, Father James Henry O’Grady of the Roman Catholic Presbytery in Preston, Victoria, and her address simply as “North Carlton”.

More than 3,000 Australian civilian nurses volunteered for active service during the First World War. They were posted to Britain, France, Belgium, the Mediterranean, India and the Middle East, where they worked in hospitals, on hospital ships and trains, or in casualty clearing stations closer to the front line.

O’Grady embarked for overseas service from Melbourne on 24 August, 1915. She was posted to No. 1 Australian General Hospital, at Heliopolis in Egypt, where her patients were men who had been wounded or became ill while fighting on Gallipoli.

In March 1916, O’Grady transferred to the Choubrah Military Infectious Hospital in Egypt. She spent four months nursing there before volunteering to go to India. With 49 other nurses, she sailed to Bombay on the HS Neutralia, one of the first contingent of Australian nurses sent to India at the request of the Indian Colonial Government after an outbreak of cholera earlier in the year. In Bombay she worked at the Gerald Freeman Thomas Hospital, where the patients included hundreds of Turkish prisoners of war and wounded British troops.

The nurses found the tropical monsoonal climate debilitating, and shortly after arriving in Bombay, Nurse O’Grady became ill. She died of cholera at Colaba War Hospital on 12 August, 1916. She was 39 years old.

Staff Nurse Amy O’Grady was buried at the Sewri Cemetery in Bombay. Her brother, James, organised a requiem mass at his church to pay tribute to his sister.

Staff Nurse O’Grady’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among almost 62,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Staff Nurse Amy Veda O’Grady who gave her life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Emma Campbell
Researcher, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Staff Nurse Amy Veda O’Grady, Australian Army Nursing Service, First World War. (video)