Friday, 11 September 2015

Survivors of the Marquette

From Tauranga to the Trenches mobile exhibition space.
Image: Tauranga Heritage Collection
Here at the Tauranga Heritage Collection we are continuing to develop World War One exhibitions for our mobile exhibition space. Past displays have featured the story of local soldier Reginald Watkins and also focused on the Gallipoli campaign.  We are currently working on a nursing story that features Nurse Jeanne Sinclair and the sinking of the Marquette.

Survivors of the Marquette
Image: National Army Museum, 1986.1753
The transport ship Marquette was sunk by a German submarine in the Aegean Sea on 23 October 1915. Of the 741 people on board, 167 were lost, including 10 members of the New Zealand Army Nursing Service, 19 male Medical Corps staff and three New Zealand soldiers, making it the blackest day in the history of New Zealand’s military nursing.

Nurse Sinclair
Image: National Army Museum, 1991.587
Nurse Jeanne Sinclair survived the sinking and wrote a remarkable account of what took place. The full account will feature as part of the exhibition which will open in October.
“We walked along the top deck and then stood to look along the forward. We saw a green line coming through the water and remarked about it and Grigor said “I wonder if it is a torpedo” and then “Bang!” It was a torpedo – we raced for our life-belts got in line in our night places – half on each side – no noise – not a single scream and I cannot think how it was that we were so cool and collected.”

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