*** RESERVED *** The spectacular individual career-group of a doubly-decorated Matron who began service during WII on HMHS Britannic before it sank and served in Iraq, Waziristan, India and Kenya, before retiring at the remarkable age of 74. Consists: Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military Division) in box of issue; Royal Red Cross, 1st Class R.R.C., dated 1945 reverse, in box of issue; 1914-15 Star to S. Nurse I. Walden, T.F.N.S.; WWI War Medal to S. Nurse. I. Walden; Victory Medal to S. Nurse I. Walden (renamed); General Service Medal with Iraq clasp to S. Nurse. I. Walden; India General Service Medal with Waziristan 1921-24 clasp to N. Sister. I. Walden. Q.A.M.N.S.I.; 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, WWII Defence Medal, WWII War Medal. Accompanied by an archive of original material including King's Badge in box of issue, hallmarked silver Rotherham Hospital Training School for Nurses badge, Q.A.M.N.S.I. collar badge, tribute medal '23rd Nov 1918 In Gratitude to our Nurses from the Citizens of Bombay', original certificates, letter and documents, including O.B.E. Bestowal Certificate, official hopsital letters, letter of congratulation on awards and Authority to wear documents, newspaper cuttings and original handwritten summary of service from Matron Walden herself, detailing her WWI career.

Military O.B.E. Recommendation: "On the night of 4th Apr 1947, 2 Combined Military Hospital Meiktila (Burma) held 299 patients accommodated in semi-permanent bashas. As a result of a Typhoon which hit the hospital area at about 1800 hours, all these bashas were raised to the ground within a period of two hours. Despite the fact that a large proportion of the patients were bed cases, no casualties were sustained and by the following morning all the patients were accommodated in alternative berths and treatment resumed. This very creditable performance was largely due to Principal Matron Ida Walden, R.R.C. Q.A.M.N.S.I., who immediately preceded to the hospital at considerable risk of falling timber and ignoring the fact that the Sisters' Mess and quarters were already partly destroyed and would obviously lead to the loss of personal kit and possessions, and commenced supervising the evacuation of patients. Her leadership and tireless energy, combined with her continued cheerfulness in the face of adversity, acted as an inspiration and won the admiration of all the medical staff and patients and was largely responsible for avoiding what otherwise might have been a disaster."

R.R.C. 1st Class, Gazetted 15 Nov 1945: "In hospitals in the operational area she has, by her efficient and energetic action, done good work in raising the standard of nursing and morale of the personnel in a lonely station and done much good work for the comfort of patients."

Ida Jane Walden was born on 26 Oct 1889 in Durham. The following is taken from Miss Walden's handwritten letters: 'I was 18 when my father died. We had a large house in Durham with 3 servants. Father's affairs were found to be in a bad state, what with horse, women and champagne. My step mother and I went to live in a small house in the New Forest. A year of that and I was bored stiff; miles from anywhere and no one of my age about. I picked up a newspaper and saw headings of trouble on the North West Frontier of India - like a flash I knew what I wanted to do; to go to India and to look after soldiers. My father had a friend who was Chairman of Rotherham Hospital. I received a telegram asking me to report to the hospital - they had an epidemic of measles amongst the staff. My brother bet me £5 that I would not stay a fortnight. He later wrote back that if I was fool enough to train as a nurse, then I did not deserve the £5!

War came when I finished my training, and after a ghastly few months at a War Hospital in Sheffield, I was posted to the Hospital Ship Britannic. She was new and huge. We sailed 3 days before Xmas. We sailed backwards and forward to Gallipoli and I loved it. On the outward trip we had an easy time just getting the wards ready, but on the homeward run we worked all day and far into the night. I remember most the awful frost-bitten feet and how brave the men were when their dressings were done. We had silly rules where we must not talk to the Medical Officers or ship's officers when we wee off duty, and the decks were divided with ropes - one side for the sisters and one for the officers. However, they stopped the rope business as they ran out of rope, so much was cut up. And of course, we did talk to them and go out with them when asked. We always anchored off Cowes awaiting orders to return to Gallipoli. In the afternoons we used to go ashore on launches. It was winter and of course there was no steam up in the ship, so it was darned cold. Bath water was scarce and the stewards had bath books with our names and times - we were each allowed one per week. I wanted to change my time once so that I could go out, but the steward said he could not fit me in anywhere. However, I was coming out of dinner that night when I saw the excited steward waving at me and shouting 'I can bath you now if you come right away' - much to the delight of nearby MOs! After the Gallipoli run ended, I was posted to a Channel Ship that was hard work, then I got orders to report to the hospital ship "Delta" to sail for India.

We arrived at Bombay at dawn and I awoke to see India for the first time. We were waiting for the pilot boat some way out and the scent that came out on the breeze was lovely, very different from some of the smells I met on land later. But I knew I was going to love the country..." Ida Walden went on to have an extensive nursing career in places from India to Iraq, Burma and Kenya, serving during WWII as Principal Matron of No.53 Indian General Hospital on the 14th Army Front. Finally retiring from service in Sep 1963, at the age of 74. She resided in the Mayfair Hotel in Worthing and 'stole the heart of the proprietors' during her final 6 years, dying in June 1979; a few months short of her 90th birthday.

Quite simply one of the most extensive and unusual groups we've ever handled.



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