Captain Lillian Schaefer
Lillian was born at Armidale, NSW, and began her nursing career at the age of 20.
She worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children – the Royal North Shore Hospital and also joined the Bush Nursing Association. She was based at Maitland for two years and worked in various country hospitals until the outbreak of World War 11.
On 12 June 1940, Lillian enlisted in the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) and was assigned to the newly formed 2/5 Australian General Hospital.
On 20 October 1940, the 2/5 AGH sailed out of Sydney Harbour on board the Queen Mary, bound for overseas duty.
The unit disembarked at Bombay and were transshipped to Port Tewfik, here they were entrained and after traveling through Rehovot Gaza, and Palestine.
On 12 April 1941, they finally arrived at Ekali in Greece. Their aim was to establish a 1200 bed hospital to treat the wounded coming in from Crete and Eritrea.
However, on 21 April 1941, the order was given to evacuate some doctors and all the female nursing staff. Lillian was one of these Nurses, and was evacuated to Alexandria.
On the 27 April, the hospital was overrun by the advancing German Army, and 167 male personnel, who stayed behind to care for the critically wounded, were taken as Prisoners of War.
The 2/5AGH then served in Crete, Eritrea, New Guinea and Morotai Island.
Lillian was discharged on 18 March 1946.
This information was supplied by her sisters, Anne Coe and Lyndie Schaefer – (2008) with their permission to reproduce such items on the 2/5 AGH Association Memorabilia Disk and the Unit Website