Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Helen Hetterley, QAIMNS (1891 - 1917) - British

Staff Nurse HELEN HETTERLEY of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service died on 30th May 1917.
Helen was born on 4th May 1891. Her parents were George, a butler, and Elizabeth Hetterley, nee Kirby, who lived in Station Rd., Oakham.  Helen’s siblings were: Lilian, b. 1889, Phillis, b. 1890, Hilda, b. 1893, Sybil, b. 1897, Charles, b. 1900, Marjorie, b. 1902, Humphrey, b. 1903 and Herbert, b. 1906. 
Helen trained as a nurse and in 1911 was working as a children’s nurse with a wealthy family in London.  During WW1, Helen worked at the Military Hospital in Canterbury where she contracted T.B.  After initial treatment, when nothing further could be done for her, Helen returned home, where she died on 30th May 1917.   Helen was buried in Oakham Cemetery in Rutland - Grave Reference: 30. 45.

Helen’s cousin, Sergeant Joseph Hetterley, joined the Army Service Corps in March 1915 and served with the 2nd Northumberland Field Ambulance on the Western Front.  He served during the Second Battle of Ypres and was killed in July 1915.

Sources:  Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War; Find my Past and http://www.theygavetheirtoday.com/oakham-town-wwi.html and with thanks to Callan Chevin who found the photograph of Helen and of her grave.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Alice Palmieri (1872 – 1917) – British subject, nurse

Alicia was a British subject born in 1872 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She trained at the New York City Hospital and was later Superintendent at the Yellow Fever Hospital, Havana, Cuba under Major General William Crawford Gorgas, US Army Medical Corps.

Alicia met her future husband, Jean Baptist Palmieri (born 1/3/1868 in Ponce, Peurto Rico), while serving in the Spanish-American War in 1898.

On 29th April 1915, Alicia was one of five VAD nurses who left Waterloo Station in London to travel to Kragujevac, Serbia via Salonica.  'The Ladies Field' of 23rd October 1915 reported on the event:
“Sister Palmieri nursed the typhus-stricken Serbians at Kragujevac under conditions calculated to daunt the bravest. Subsequently they were able to move into two buildings formerly used as stables, after having the floors cemented and the whole place fumigated and white-washed. Sister Palmieri is now temporarily in France”.

Alicia was posted to the Russo-Serbian Unit in September 1916 and worked as a nurse at Petrograd, Russia.  She died on 15th May 1917 in hospital in Petrograd and is commemorated on the Archangel Memorial in Russia.   Her next of kin was listed as Miss McMann, 21 Woodfield Crescent, Paddington, London.

Alicia’s husband joined the American Army in September 1918 in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. He was a naturalised American citizen and a government employee, living at 222 Camargo Street, San Antonio. He gave his nearest relative as Marjorie Palmieri (born 27th January 1912). Marjorie’s mother’s maiden name was given as Vandewil which could mean that was possibly Alicia’s maiden name. 

Jean Baptist served in Belgium and returned to New York from Le Havre on the 23rd November 1920 aboard the SS La Savoie. When he applied for a passport in 1921, giving his address as Santurce, Porto Rico.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War: 

ARCHANGEL MEMORIAL, Russian Federation

PALMIERI, Nurse, Mrs. ALICIA. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 15 May 1917.