Housewife : Staff Nurse E Lanser, Australian Army Nursing Service

Accession Number REL23703
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Cotton grosgrain, Cotton sateen, Steel, Wool flannel
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Home-made housewife (sewing kit) constructed from two lengths of red cotton sateen ribbon (the width, 110 mm, suggests that it was once intended as a sash for a dress) sewn together to form a rectangle. A strip of matching red cotton grosgrain ribbon is sewn down the centre of the long axis on both sides. A self fabric pocket attached half way inside the housewife forms two pockets to hold a reel of cotton, thread, darning wool, buttons and thimble (none now present). Three panels of white wool flannel, cut with decorative edges are stitched through the centre across the short axis of the housewife to form a 'book' of six leaves. Numerous needles in all sizes, straight and curved, pins and safety pins are attached to each leaf. The housewife rolls up for storage and is secured with two red cotton sateen ribbons.

History / Summary

Born in Sydney in 1891, Ethel Lanser, enlisted for service as a staff nurse with the Australian Army Nursing Service on 27 August 1917. Her brother, Second Lieutenant Henry Miller Lanser, a Gallipoli veteran, had been killed the previous year, on 5 November 1916, at the battle of Flers in France.

Staff Nurse Lanser left Sydney aboard HMAT Ayrshire on 15 September. She arrived in Egypt on 27 October and served at the 31st (British) General Hospital, mainly staffed by Australian nurses, until the following October, when she was posted to the 52nd (British) General Hospital at Salonika, Greece. She returned to Egypt in 1919, to the 14th Australian General Hospital, and left to return to Australia in March. Ethel Lanser died in 1976.