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Vida Mitylene Greentree (1890 - 1983)

Vida Mitylene Greentree
Born in Freemans Reach, New South Wales, Australiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Died at age 93 in Sandgate, Queensland, Australiamap
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Profile last modified | Created 6 Jan 2010
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She was a nurse in WWI


Biographical details: Vida Greentree was born on 3 June 1890, at Freemans Reach NSW, the second eldest daughter of Albert Charles Greentree and Jane Cameron (nee Hoskinson). After leaving school, Vida undertook her nursing training at the Nepean Cottage Hospital Penrith. In 1913, the Nepean Times reported the results a second year examination in surgery. Students were asked a range of questions on subjects as diverse as disinfectants, bed sore prevention and treatment, after care of tracheotomy and preparing patients for general operations such as the removal of an appendix. Nurse Greentree was placed third receiving a total of 99 for the practical exam and 88 for the vapour exam.

Military Service with AANS: On 24 May 1917, Vida enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) and was appointed a Staff Nurse. She left Melbourne aboard the RMS Mooltan, a mail steamer, along with 300 nurses bound for Salonika. The ship arrived at Suez on 19 July 1917 and the nurses travelled to Cairo via train. On 8 August 1917, Vida embarked from Alexandria on the Huntsgreen for Salonika and arrived on 13 August 1917. Conditions in Salonika were less than ideal for the nurses. On 19 August 1917, shortly after Vida's arrival at Salonika, almost 2/3 of the town was destroyed by fire and which left 25,000 people homeless. Food supplies were sent from Egypt and often failed to arrive due to the ships being sunk.

Vida was posted to the 60th General Hospital (British) situated at Hortiach up in the hills above Salonika. According to an interview conducted with Matron Adelaide Kellett in 1919, the hospital was "a large tented hospital with 1600 beds. I was in the surgical ward. The cases were not severe being principally hernia...The wards were not well equipped for surgical work. We found great difficulty in sterilizing our instruments." The 60th General Hospital moved to Lembert, about three kilometres from Salonika. During her time at this location, Vida nursed German, Bulgarian and Turkish prisoners of war. Some of them were severely wounded, and as few prisoners spoke English, it was often difficult for the staff to manage their care.

In April 1918, the hospital moved back to Hortiach. In November 1918 Vida was transferred to the 50th General Hospital. During this time many of the hospital's patients were victims of the influenza epidemic which was raging through Europe. In December that year, Vida left for two weeks leave in Athens. In February 1919, Vida embarked for England aboard the HMT Wyreema. Vida served with the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford until returning to Australia aboard the Fredrichsruhe on 4 September 1919. Vida was discharged on 4 October 1919.

Vida Greentree returned to Freemans Reach and held the position of postmistress for many years. On 12 June 1965 Vida's service to the Freemans Reach community was acknowledged when she was awarded the Order of the British Empire - Medal (Civil)/Brisith Empire Medal (civil). Vida Greentree never married and died in Brisbane on 1 September 1983, aged 93 years.

  • NSW Birth Index 37664/1890
  • Qld Death Index 6687/1983
  • Sydney Morning Herald Death Notices - 3rd and 5th Septemberr, 1983

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Categories: Freemans Reach, New South Wales