The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Sister Emily Clare, Australian Army Nursing Service, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.11
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 11 January 2017
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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on Sister Emily Clare, Australian Army Nursing Service, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

Sister Emily Clare, Australian Army Nursing Service
DOD 17 October 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 11 January 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sister Emily Clare.

Born in Melbourne on 11 September 1890, Emily Clare was the youngest daughter of Peter and Mary Clare. She had four sisters and three brothers.

Following her earlier schooling, Clare undertook three years of nursing training at Stawell Hospital in Victoria. She enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service in November 1917.

More than 3,000 Australian civilian nurses volunteered for active service during the First World War, mostly with the AIF’s Australian Army Nursing Service. 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.

Sister Clare embarked for overseas service a little over a week after enlisting. She was posted to the Victoria War Hospital in Bombay, India, where her patients included Turkish and German prisoners of war, and wounded British troops.

In a letter to her sister later published in a Melbourne newspaper, Clare wrote of her experiences nursing in the prisoners’ ward:

“The Turks and Germans have quite a cordial form of hate towards each other”, she wrote. She also detailed an incident where one of the German prisoners “sent the orderly I had when I was in that ward up to me with two lions’ claws, as a souvenir, with his grateful thanks for what I did for them when I was there”.

Cholera was a major problem in India at the time, and Clare wrote to her sister that the nurses were not allowed outside the city due to the spread of the disease. There were, she said, more than 600 deaths in a week.

Clare was later transferred to the 34th (Welsh) Military Hospital in Deolali. While nursing at the hospital she became ill with influenza, and then pneumonia. She died on 17 October 1918, less than a month before the Armistice. She was 28 years old.

Sister Emily Clare is buried in the Deolali Government Cemetery in India. Her name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 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 Sister Emily Clare who gave her life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Emma Campbell
Researcher, Military History Section

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