Eye-opener for Win­ton nurse

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - Coupar, Si­mon (Paki)

Jean Por­te­ous saw a bloody war.

She en­listed with the New Zealand Army Ser­vice and served as a nurse on board the hospi­tal ship Ma­heno.

A 29-year-old small town nurse from Win­ton who was used to help­ing a doc­tor treat com­mon ill­nesses or bro­ken bones, she had never seen the wounded on a grand scale be­fore.

She was sent to Wal­ton-on-theThames Hospi­tal in Eng­land to help heal and com­fort thou­sands of wounded and sick sol­diers.

The hospi­tal, which was built to take 350 pa­tients, con­stantly over­flowed.

In an ef­fort to ac­com­mo­date an ever-in­creas­ing ca­su­alty rate, mar­quees and four hut­ted-wards were added.

Ca­su­al­ties mounted af­ter the bat­tle of the Somme.

Wounded and sick sol­diers ar­rived at the hospi­tal in droves.

They were forced to con­vert the nearby his­toric ho­tel of Oat­lands Park into a med­i­cal clinic for the limb­less and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis cases.

In Septem­ber 1917, Por­te­ous was sent to France and worked at St Omer Hospi­tal.

Af­ter be­ing pro­moted to the rank of sis­ter, she fell ill with in­fluenza.

She was able to fight off the dis­ease and con­tin­ued her ser­vice at the hospi­tal un­til the end of the war.

Por­te­ous re­turned to New Zealand in Jan­uary 1919.

She con­tin­ued to carry out her nurs­ing du­ties on board the ves­sel that car­ried her home.

Por­te­ous was awarded a spe­cial Men­tion in Des­patches (M.I.D) for dis­tin­guished and gallant duty. Sec­ond Lieu­tenant

a bush fore­man from Co­lac Bay, served in the 1st Con­tin­gent New Zealand Na­tive com­pany.

Af­ter surviving the Gal­lipoli blood­bath with a mere gun­shot wound to the wrist, Coupar was sent to re­cover in Egypt. Al­most a year later, Coupar was listed as un­ac­counted for seven days be­fore be­ing lo­cated in a desert hospi­tal. On re­cov­ery he was sent to France with the newly formed New Zealand (Maori) Pioneer Bat­tal­ion.

On June 29, 1916, he was killed in ac­tion. He is buried at the Cite Bon­jean mil­i­tary ceme­tery, Ar­men­tieres.

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