Margaret Augusta de Mestre, 19161942 (aged 25 years)

de Mestre, Margaret Augusta (1916-1942)
Name
Margaret Augusta /de Mestre/
Given names
Margaret Augusta
Surname prefix
de
Surname
Mestre
Birth November 16, 1916 46 26
Citation details:

Wiseman, May. Letter posted to Marion Purnell and dated 25 Oct 2015

Military
World War II
between 1940 and 1942 (aged 25 years)

Text:

DE MESTRE, Margaret Augusta Sister Margaret Augusta De Mestre (NFX70211) was born in Kalang via Bellingen, New South Wales, on 16 November 1915 to James Augustus and Alice Isobel De Mestre (nee Morey). Her parents owned and operated a dairy farm and she was the first of six children, four girls and two boys. Sister De Mestre trained at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney in 1935. Her Aunt Sarah Melanie De Mestre had also trained at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and served in World War I. In 1940 Sister De Mestre enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Corp with other nurses from the hospital and sailed twice to the Middle East on the 2/1 Hospital Ship, HMAHS Manunda. While the ship was being reconditioned in 1941, she served at the 113 Australian General Hospital at Concord. She rejoined HMAHS Manunda in January 1942. HMAHS Manunda was anchored in Darwin Harbour near the merchant ship Zealandia and the oil tanker British Motorist when it was first hit by shrapnel and then a bomb during the first Japanese air attack on Darwin, 19 February 1942. Twelve members of the crew and hospital staff were killed, including Sister De Mestre, and forty-seven others were wounded. The medical and nursing staff quarters were destroyed, B and C decks were severely damaged and fires started on board. Despite the chaos, Manunda continued to treat incoming wounded and staff manned the life-boats rescuing injured men from the sea. Sister De Mestre died of shrapnel wounds received to her back and abdomen. She was twenty-six and the first Australian Imperial Force nurse to be killed in action on Australian soil. Compiled with assistance from May Wiseman (niece).

Death February 19, 1942 (aged 25 years)
Citation details:

Wiseman, May. Letter posted to Marion Purnell and dated 25 Oct 2015

Text:

Margaret Augusta De Mestre P01081.005 Service Number: NFX70211 Rank: Sister Unit: 2/1 Hospital Ship Darwin AANS Service: Australian Army Conflict / Operation: Second World War, 1939-1945 Conflict eligibility date: Second World War, 1939-1947 Date of death: 19 February 1942 Place of death: Australia Cause of death: Killed in action Cemetery or memorial details: Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River, Northern Territory, Australia Source: AWM147 Roll of Honour cards, 1939-1945 War, 2nd AIF (Australian Imperial Force) and CMF (Citizen Military Force)

Family with parents
father
18701957
Birth: 1870 46 24Shoalhaven, South Coast and Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia
Death: August 29, 1957Bellingen, Mid North Coast, New South Wales, Australia
mother
18901984
Birth: 1890 43 38Armidale, Northern Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia
Death: September 6, 1984Bellingen, Mid North Coast, New South Wales, Australia
herself
de Mestre, Margaret Augusta (1916-1942)
19161942
Birth: November 16, 1916 46 26Bellingen, Mid North Coast, New South Wales, Australia
Death: February 19, 1942Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
15 months
younger brother
19181983
Birth: February 16, 1918 48 28Armidale, Northern Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia
Death: July 17, 1983Coffs Harbour, Mid North Coast, New South Wales, Australia
2 years
younger sister
19201976
Birth: May 12, 1920 50 30Bellingen, Mid North Coast, New South Wales, Australia
Death: March 17, 1976Bellingen, Mid North Coast, New South Wales, Australia
sister
Private
younger sister
19261975
Birth: August 6, 1926 56 36Bellingen, Mid North Coast, New South Wales, Australia
Death: January 18, 1975Concord, Greater Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
brother
Private
BirthCorrespondence
Citation details:

Wiseman, May. Letter posted to Marion Purnell and dated 25 Oct 2015

MilitaryAustralia. Northern Territory. Library. Roll of Honour
Text:

DE MESTRE, Margaret Augusta Sister Margaret Augusta De Mestre (NFX70211) was born in Kalang via Bellingen, New South Wales, on 16 November 1915 to James Augustus and Alice Isobel De Mestre (nee Morey). Her parents owned and operated a dairy farm and she was the first of six children, four girls and two boys. Sister De Mestre trained at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney in 1935. Her Aunt Sarah Melanie De Mestre had also trained at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and served in World War I. In 1940 Sister De Mestre enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Corp with other nurses from the hospital and sailed twice to the Middle East on the 2/1 Hospital Ship, HMAHS Manunda. While the ship was being reconditioned in 1941, she served at the 113 Australian General Hospital at Concord. She rejoined HMAHS Manunda in January 1942. HMAHS Manunda was anchored in Darwin Harbour near the merchant ship Zealandia and the oil tanker British Motorist when it was first hit by shrapnel and then a bomb during the first Japanese air attack on Darwin, 19 February 1942. Twelve members of the crew and hospital staff were killed, including Sister De Mestre, and forty-seven others were wounded. The medical and nursing staff quarters were destroyed, B and C decks were severely damaged and fires started on board. Despite the chaos, Manunda continued to treat incoming wounded and staff manned the life-boats rescuing injured men from the sea. Sister De Mestre died of shrapnel wounds received to her back and abdomen. She was twenty-six and the first Australian Imperial Force nurse to be killed in action on Australian soil. Compiled with assistance from May Wiseman (niece).

DeathCorrespondence
Citation details:

Wiseman, May. Letter posted to Marion Purnell and dated 25 Oct 2015

DeathAustralian War Memorial. Australian War Memorial. Search for a person [database on-line]
Text:

Margaret Augusta De Mestre P01081.005 Service Number: NFX70211 Rank: Sister Unit: 2/1 Hospital Ship Darwin AANS Service: Australian Army Conflict / Operation: Second World War, 1939-1945 Conflict eligibility date: Second World War, 1939-1947 Date of death: 19 February 1942 Place of death: Australia Cause of death: Killed in action Cemetery or memorial details: Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River, Northern Territory, Australia Source: AWM147 Roll of Honour cards, 1939-1945 War, 2nd AIF (Australian Imperial Force) and CMF (Citizen Military Force)