Sunday, 10 April 2022

I sincerely thank you all for inviting me to spend this weekend with your community, and now to attend this Appreciation Service.

It’s been a very enjoyable time, getting to know people and learning about the history of the area.

This morning I have been asked to share a little more about my connection to Sister Patricia Cashmore, after whom one of your streets is named.

Patricia, born on 23 July 1905 in Port Pirie, was my grandfather’s first cousin, my cousin twice removed.

She was the eldest daughter of Arthur Brook Cashmore, manager of Elder, Smith, & Company for some years in Port Pirie, and Annie Amelia Cashmore.

Patricia graduated from Surgical Nursing at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in August 1930.

In 1939 she left Australia for England for her studies, but while she was on her way war broke out, and she enlisted in the East African Military Nursing Service.

On 5 February 1944 she boarded a troopship, the Khedive Ismail, to sail from Mombasa to Colombo.

Seven days later, south west of the Maldives, the ship was attacked and sunk by a Japanese submarine. Patricia died at sea.

With four brothers in active service, and a fifth engaged in Army medical work, Patricia was the only the sibling, tragically, to be killed in action.

She was also the only Port Pirie servicewoman lost to the war.

All of her brothers served admirably, particularly her youngest, Victor.

Leader of the 454 Squadron, Victor led more than 40 raids in the Eastern Mediterranean and Italy, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

I am honoured that a street here in Loxton carries my family surname, on my mother’s side.

I am proud of my forebears’ contribution to the war effort and will ensure their memory is kept alive and well in our family, into the future.

This weekend, through your Mardi Gras, my visit to Cashmore Avenue and tree planting with Peter and Carla Magarey and Kent and Kerry Spangenberg, Loxton RSL’s ANZAC Day Dinner last night and this morning’s Appreciation Service, you have deepened my understanding of how this can, and should, be done.