Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Leila Takes Time to Reflect; or SMS Us on 0428725483

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Leila Takes Time to Reflect; or SMS Us on 0428725483

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Calcino

THE hospital ward fell silent as the radio crackled a message from the Prime Minister, his voice thick and low.

C[pounds sterling]Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that in consequence of persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war.C[yen]

For young nurse-in-training Mary Leila Lloyd, it was a call to action.

C[pounds sterling]I looked over to my friend and said CyI'm joining up',C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]She looked back and said, CySo am I'.C[yen]

Ms Lloyd is now Mrs Scott, a determined and quick-witted 98-year-old living in Toowoomba. From her favourite chair, she shared her tales of Egyptian tent hospitals, dangerous sea voyages and finding love after war.

Maiden voyage

C[pounds sterling]I was still doing my nursing training at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne when the war started in 1939,C[yen] Mrs Scott said.

C[pounds sterling]We were told to go back and finish our training... we thought we were never going to get overseas.C[yen]

She need not have worried.

Within weeks, she was aboard the MS Wanganella, a hospital ship bound for Egypt.

C[pounds sterling]It was the sister ship to the Centaur, which was sunk just a few weeks after we arrived,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]We landed at Port Tewfik in the dark and were met by an English sister with a hurricane lamp,C[yen] she said

C[pounds sterling]She told us enemy bombers were flying overhead, so we had to go underground.C[yen] After three days in a subterranean hospital, Mrs Scott and 14 other nurses were packed aboard a rickety train bound for Gaza to support the 2nd/1st AGH.

C[pounds sterling]There were dead on both sides of the track for miles,C[yen] she remembered. …

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