Unfinished hand knitted socks and skein : Nellie Blain

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
Accession Number REL48347
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Bamboo, Wool
Maker Blain, Nellie
Place made Australia
Date made 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Black 4 ply wool hand knitted socks with separate black wool skein. One sock is complete, and one is unfinished with three bamboo double sided knitting needles in place. A fourth, loose knitting needle is inserted into the unfinished sock.

History / Summary

This pair of New Addedack wool hand-knitted socks tell a story of loss. One sock is complete, while the other is unfinished with the knitting needles and wool still in place.

They were knitted by 21 year old Nellie Blain of Noorat, Victoria, who was unable to finish them after receiving news of her 23-year-old brother’s death at Gallipoli in 1915. Her brother, 541 Trooper Arthur Blain, “A” Squadron, 13th Australian Light Horse, enlisted on 12 January 1915. He suffered a serious bullet wound to his head on 16 November while his unit was holding the lines at Lone Pine, and was evacuated to Malta; nine days after he was wounded, he suffered a further dangerous cerebral haemorrhage. He died of his wounds on 11 December and was buried at the Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta.

Having endured the loss of her father, John Blain, from illness earlier in 1915, the additional loss of her older brother was a terrible blow to Nellie. Her niece related that she often spoke of Arthur in later life, and kept these socks in memory of his death until her own death at the age of 92.