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THE MARQUETTE.

A SURVIVOR'S STORY

IN WATER FOR EIGHT HOURS

HEROISM OF THE NURSES

SELF-SACRIFICE IN FACING

DEATH

vPer Press Association — Copyright)

. t LONDON 3 November 23. A New Zealand nursing sister, a survivor of the Marquette, tells a thrilling story of her experiences. She said that the New Zealand hospital unit was doing most valuable work in hospital at Port Said before it embarked on the Marquette at Alexandria on October 19 with a number of English soldiers. They had lifebelt drill during the voyage and were warned of tho dangers from lurking submarines. They were, therefore, prepared for the mishap. Torpedoed. The Marquette was within a few miles of Salonika on the morning of October 23, when a periscope was sighted. The explosion followed, and almost immediately the- Marquette commenced to list. Tho sea was calm and there was only a light breeze, so that' there was a good chance to escape, but several of the boats were overturned in the confusion while they were being launched. Some hung perpendicularly and ono lifeboat fell upon another already in the water, causing several casualties. Sister Fox, another New Zealand nurse, was injured and was nob soeri again. , , , In The Water For Eight Hours/

The narrator continues: —"Our boat was not lowered properly and we were suspended from on© davit for some time, hanging on for dear' life. Then tho rope was cut and we all fell into the sea. Most of us were in the water for eight hours, but wo did not feel, the water cold. We did not see the submarine again. Somo-of the boats were crowded, but many officers and men were saved. : Swamped Again and Again. "Tho nurses behaved with grand courago and refused to go in the boats until most of the soldiers were saved. The nurses stayed on the. decks cheer-

ing the Tommies until only a few men remained to help the women into the boats. But for the lifebelt drill .only a few would have been saved. When we were precipitated so suddenly into the sea we must have drowned without lifebelts. A largo bole was driven in our lifeboat, and when wo drugged ourselves into the lifeboat it soon filled and swamped, so that we were all tipped into the water again. The sea was full of soldiers struggling with hhs of rafts and wreckage.. We wore swamp r

Ed again and again until we were exhiisted. It was pitiful to see nurses and soldiers tiring in their frantic struggles, and finally releasing their grasp of the gunwale—floating for a few seconds and then slowly sinking, without a murmur. . . Comrade's Death.

"Dr. Harrison was swimming near our boat supporting a nursing sister, whom he assisted on to a raft, to which many others were clinging. I last sawthat sister sometime after floating near the raft, whilo I was almost dead-beat holding on to the upturned boat. She was my greatest pal. As I watched her she nodded feebly in return, but I was powerless to help her. That was the last I saw of her, but "I. was told that she was assisted back to tho raft, and afterwards was placed in a boat, which, like ours, was constantly,-over-turned. Like many others, she collapsed after a time and died from exhaustion. Rescued. "We clung to our boat for a seemingly endless period, suffering intensely from increasing: exhaustion, and; only hanging on by:'sheer strength of will. Then a hospital-ship ■steamed up and picked up the snrvivors. "We were taken to Salonika and remained two days. Here we hoard that our matron was very ill, suffering from shock, and that Colonel McGavin and several other officers had been saved. Most of us who were unfit for- duty returned to Alexandria. Those who were well, enough intended to get new equipment, and hoped to return to Greece in 10 days' time. Sister Rae was so brave. She forced me to get into the boat before- her. Sister Popplewell was wonderful. She held up Sister Rattray until she died. They clung to a board with Sister Walker. Dr. Leahy did his best for us and was very good. Splendidly Brave. "Ours was an awful experience. The chance of escape would have been small bad not the attack occurred in daylight and in calm weather and with the water warm. It will be a comfort to the relatives of the New Zealand nurse?, to know that they were so .splendidly brave, and so self-sacrificing iv facing death."

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG19151124.2.8

Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXV, Issue 8304, 24 November 1915

Word Count
752

THE MARQUETTE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXV, Issue 8304, 24 November 1915

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