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Nurse Gillard, of Koffyfontein Hospital 1 week 3 days ago #75036

  • BereniceUK
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Can anyone confirm that this story, or any of it, is true?


...."Mr George Kosky, grief-stricken by the news that his wife, "the Florence Nightingale of the South African War," had died before he could reach her bedside, landed at Southampton to-day on the arrival of the Union-Castle liner, Carnarvon Castle, from Cape Town.
....Mr Kosky, who is a Rhodesian storekeeper, made a 7000 miles dash to Britain when his wife was lying dangerously ill in hospital at Billericay, Essex, but she died while he was on the voyage.
....Mrs Kosky devoted a great part of her life to nursing the sick during the South African War. She was "Sister Gillard" at the Koffyfontein Hospital, near Kimberley, where she nursed Briton and Boer alike. She was there when the Boers began their siege of Kimberley.
....A large building was placed at her disposal and she organised the hospital. When Kimberley was relieved she was the recipient of a striking testimonial from the Boers and later she was decorated for her services.
....During two Kaffir rebellions she acted as nurse.
....Three years ago she answered the call of a woman stricken with fever and her health became seriously affected.
....Mr and Mrs Kosky visited her brother, Mr W. M. Child, at Laindon, Essex, last April. Mr Kosky had to return to South Africa on account of business.
....Interviewed on landing at Southampton, Mr Kosky said "My wife lived a life of self-sacrifice. She refused to nurse wealthy people, feeling that it was her duty to nurse and feed the poor, and she did this with an utter disregard for her own health."
....It is understood that Mrs Kosky expressed the wish to have a military funeral and that the War Office has been approached."
Dundee Evening Telegraph, Monday 24th October 1932


...."While her husband was on his way from South Africa to her bedside, Mrs. Elizabeth Kosky, a heroine of the Boer War, died on Friday at Billericay Hospital.
....Mr. and Mrs. George Kosky, whose home is at Livingstone, came to England in the spring to visit Mrs. Kosky's brother at Laindon. For health reasons she decided to return to South Africa with her husband, but was taken ill while packing her trunks.
....Mrs. Kosky settled in 1888 at Kimberley. When the Boer War broke out she took charge of a hospital at Koffyfontein for the Boers, nursed Boers and Britons alike, and was decorated. She was at Koffyfontein at the beginning of the siege at Kimberley. While bravely nursing an officer's wife in the fever-ridden district of Kafue, just after the Boer War, she contracted fever and never really recovered.
....The funeral of Mrs. Kosky took place yesterday at Laindon Churchyard, conducted by the Rector (the Rev. M. N. Lake)."
The Essex Chronicle, Friday 28th October 1932
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Nurse Gillard, of Koffyfontein Hospital 1 week 2 days ago #75041

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Berenice,

Definitely a plausible account.

There is a similar biography on p6 here: paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/imageserver/ne...MTE0JmdldHBkZj10cnVl



There was certainly a small 18 bed British hospital at Koffyfontein between 2 August 1901 and 31 May 02.

I have yet to locate her on the medal rolls for the Boer War.

E and J Gillard served in the Koffiefontein Defence Force.

She is not listed In Sheila Gray's The South African Was 1899-1902 Service Records of British and Colonial Women.
Dr David Biggins
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Nurse Gillard, of Koffyfontein Hospital 1 week 2 days ago #75042

  • BereniceUK
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Thanks, David.

Strangely, there's no record of an Elizabeth Kosky dying in England in 1932. Also, if her brother's surname was Child, does that mean that her surname was originally Child, that Gillard was a married name, and that Kosky was her second marriage? Odd. Might be interesting to see the inscription on her headstone.

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Nurse Gillard, of Koffyfontein Hospital 1 week 1 day ago #75050

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Thank you Berenice and David.
Nurse Gillard is referred to in Norman Gooding's book "Honours and Awards to Women to 1914" on p169 where she is shown as Koffeyfontein Hospital. She is not shown in Sheila Gray's book, probably because her name and that of 2 other nurses (E Smithers and AB Maxwell) appears at the end of the roll for the Koffeyfontein Defence Force (WO 100/283) as "Nurses who did duty at the Koffeyfontein Hospital". Her QSA is named to that hospital and thus is rare.
Nemo
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