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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel

MEDIA RELEASE

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Sale RSL honours the service of Sister May Hennessy

The Sale Returned and Services League (RSL) sub-branch today honoured the service of First World War nurse, Sister May Hennessy, at a commemorative service and unveiling of her name which has been newly added to the Cenotaph’s Roll of Honour.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester commended the Sale RSL for their ongoing dedication to honouring the service and sacrifice of those who have served Australia in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

“Today we honoured the service of Sister May Hennessy, who served during the First World War in the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS), and tragically died not long after returning home from the war from malaria and acute nephritis,” Mr Chester said.

“Sister Hennessy was born in Castlemaine, Victoria, attended Longlea State School and then trained as a Nurse right here at the then Gippsland General Hospital for three years.

“At age 23, Sister Hennessy enlisted on 29 May 1917, leaving Australian shores on 12 June on the RMS Mooltan as one of 215 nurses on board heading toward Suez, Egypt. Upon her arrival she was posted to Salonica in Greece.”

During the First World War, Allied military hospitals at Salonica were tent hospitals. Most patients were suffering from malaria, dysentery, and other diseases. The conditions were difficult for the nurses who worked through hot, mosquito-infested summers, and then freezing winters.

“During the First World War, more than 2800 women served overseas in various theatres of war as members of the AANS, many enduring incredibly tough conditions to tend to the wounded,” Mr Chester said.

“Today we commemorate the service and sacrifice of Sister May Hennessy, and honour the memory of all those women who served in the AANS.”

The Sale RSL was provided $900 under the government’s Saluting Their Service (STS) Grants program in order to add Sister May Hennessy’s name to the Cenotaph’s Roll of Honour.

Media contacts:

Rachel Tharratt: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au