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The sinking of the Marquette

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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Okt 2017 17:16    Onderwerp: The sinking of the Marquette Reageer met quote

When the British transport ship Marquette was sunk in the Aegean Sea on 23 October 1915, 32 New Zealanders were killed, 10 of them nurses, but their deaths need never have happened. The Marquette was not a hospital ship, marked with a red cross, so it sailed without the protection of the Geneva Convention and was therefore fair game for German submarines.

Early in October 1915 the medical staff of No. 1 New Zealand Stationary Hospital in Egypt were told to pack up. By the 19th they were boarding the Marquette in Alexandria. There were 36 nurses plus eight officers, nine non-commissioned officers and 77 orderlies of the New Zealand Medical Corps.

The Marquette was on its way to Salonika (Thessaloniki), where the British and French had been supporting Serbian forces since September. Also on the large troopship were the 500 men and officers of the ammunition column of the British 29th Division, plus 500 mules, some horses and many wagons loaded with ammunition.

The large troopship initially had an escort to shepherd it through the hostile waters, and its passengers took part in lifeboat drills. Despite some talk of submarine attacks, the nurses were relaxed. Sister Edith Popplewell later wrote that Ďthere were rumours of torpedoes, of course, and we had lifebelt drills for two days, but we really hardly took it seriously Iím afraidí.

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