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April A-Z Challenge – T for Fanny Taylor

April 25, 2017

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is a challenge put out to bloggers to publish a post from A-Z every day in April, except for Sundays. April 1 is A, and so on throughout the month. Bloggers can post randomly or on a theme. The theme I have chosen is ‘My Ancestors’. I used this same theme for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge in 2015. This time the ancestors posted about will mostly be more distant members of the family. Hopefully, when combined this will form a full picture of my family history.

FANNY (FAYE) TAYLOR,  was born in 1882 in Bundalong, Victoria. She trained as a nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and served in India and Egypt in World War 1. The following is a report of a letter that she wrote home to her sister when she was on service in India.

Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser, Friday 12 January 1917, page 4


Nurse Taylor, who is with the military nurses in India, writing to her sister (Mrs. J. Fox) under date 1/12/16, says:— We had five weeks work in a war hospital at Bombay and loved every minute of it. The monsoon was on all the time we were there and it seemed so strange to see rain again, and such rain . The clouds just open and it simply pours out, and sometimes 100 points tn three minutes. The soldiers there were fresh from Mesoptamia, and some of the stories they told would make a stone weep. When they first arrived they just slept as though they would never waken again, and when disturbed to take their meals would apologise thus, ‘ You see sister we never get any sleep there, as the minute we go to bed the filthy Arabs start shooting, and it keeps one awake and gets on a fellow’s nerves.’ They were most apathetic, and if getting well meant going back to Mesoptamia, they didn’t want to get well. Some of them bad been at Mons and on the Peninsula, but thought that nothing equalled the Gulf of Mesoptamia. One Irishman said, ‘The garden of Eden indeed! Well sister I wish you could see the mosquitos, the size of them. Shure, I don’t wonder Adam and Eve left it, especially when one remembers that their only covering was a figleaf.’
The Tommie takes longer to forget the horror of what he has been through than the Australian does, but he is a fine brave ‘kid ‘ for all that, and most grateful. The Australian, newly-arrived from the Peninsula, never spoke a word about what he had been through, and one would find him keenly interested in a new game, and wondering how many matches he could win at this game or the other. They are born gamblers, and if no cards were available they would drive a nail into the wall and try and throw a ring off a mosquito net on to it, and bet on that. They were always intensely interested in getting well and back again to the trenches. One boy said he was Turk sick and longing to see one again. We received orders to arrive at Jullundar on September 1st, and I said a most reluctant good-bye to the hospital and Bombay. We were three days and three nights in the train, leaving at 5.30 a.m. on Wednesday morning and arriving at 6.30 on Saturday morning.
The accommodation is very comfortable and up to date on these Indian trains. The other sister and I had a carriage to ourselves, 10 x 8, and it was fitted up with electric fans, reading and night lights, and on each seat was a couch on which we slept at night. Then opening out of the carriage was a fully-equipped bathroom, with a real bath in it and hot water laid on, and here I may say that it is the last real bath I have seen. Here we have to bathe in small tubs and the water is tipped out on the floor and runs through a hole in the wall. Some sanitation, eh ? There are no corridors on the trains here, as they wouldn’t be safe in this country, so at various stations we were told to go to the dining car and there one has to stay until the next stopping place, sometimes two or three hours, but the car is nicely appointed and there one meets one’s fellow-passengers, so we rather enjoyed it. The other Australian Sister and I were the only white women on the train, the male passengers being, officers returning to their stations or going on sick leave. Some were fresh out from England, and looked very fresh indeed with their blue eyes, straw-colored hair and nice complexions. All the officers are very much alike, so much so that one sometimes wonders whether at some stage of their existence they were not in fluid form and poured into moulds of set military fashion. The scenery during the first part of our journey was gorgeous, all the country being rain-washed aud so clean. Sometimes we were on the shelf of a mountain side, with sheer rocky cliffs on one side and on the other wooded slopes, with a roaring river at the bottom, sometimes hundreds of feet down. All the rivers were bankers owing to the monsoon. We kept rising higher and higher, and were quite sorry when it got dark and we could no longer see.
On the evening of the next day we entered the plains, and we could tell this by the increased speed, as it was too late to see. In the morning, as soon as I wakened, I stuck my head out of the window about half-a-mile. Such a difference! All the prettiness was gone, and and one could see for miles. The country was as flat as Bundalong, with herds of buffaloes grazing. There were also a great number of goats, and really in this country they were only made to be laughed at, they are so extraordinary. That night (our last) I had rather a fright. I wakened up to find the train stopped, and when I opened my eyes found we were at a station and there were quite a number of ugly black faces poked in the window. My couch was on the platform side, therefore the faces were much nearer than I cared to have them. I shouted ‘ Henashi,’ but not being linguists they did not understand Arabic. I switched on a brighter light but they liked that, they could see the Miss Sahibs better and were much amused with our boudier caps. The. train then glided out, the heat being so unbearable that we could not have the shutters down. We arrived at 6.30 a.m., met by an orderly and driven in a turn turn to our bungalow and started a quiet but interesting time in a plain station. The only excitement is the club, which is really nil, and an invitation to dinner by the various ladies of the station. You have no idea of the lateness of the hours kept here. We dine at 8.45, and most people dine at 9.45. We keep a tremendous lot of servants. For instance, for we two army sisters we have a sweeper, a personal servant each, a head servant, and.then the blestie, pronounced beastie who carry’s the water and washes up. ‘
*Thanks to third cousin, and fellow researcher, Peter Toohey for sending me this newspaper article.
One Comment
  1. When you compare the quick email notes and messages we send today you can see how some say the art of lettering writing is lost.

    A to Z Theme: Sharing Family History via #GenealogyPhotoADay By Fran from TravelGenee Blog

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