Alice Cashin: Paying tribute to a brave war nurse

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Alice Cashin WW1 nurse, who served with the British Red Cross and subsequently with the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve

When NSWNMA official Lynne Ridge read a story in The Sydney Morning Herald last year about Sydney WW1 nurse Alice Cashin and her unmarked grave at Woronora Memorial Park, she was inspired to do something to honour her memory.

The NSWNMA commissioned a life-size bronze statue of a nurse in a WWI matron’s uniform of the kind Cashin wore – and NSWNMA President Coral Levett modelled the uniform.

Watch this entrancing film as theatrical costumiers create the costume on which the statue was based.

In 1917, St Vincent’s-trained nurse Alice was matron on the hospital ship the Gloucester Castle when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat as it crossed the English channel. Cashin ensured all of the 399 injured soldiers and 33 nurses on board were safely on lifeboats before leaving the sinking ship herself.

For her bravery she received a bar to the Royal Red Cross medal she had already been awarded. She was the first Australian to receive this honour during WWI yet she lay in an unmarked grave in Sydney’s south, until almost a century later.

Previously on Nurse Uncut: 

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