First World War poetry finds a new audience

From left, Beeac Red Cross president Alma Black, Ailsa Sims and Dawn Missen with a copy of the book  The Wattle’s Call and Other Stories which the group launched at Beeac Red Cross’s 100-year anniversary.

From left, Beeac Red Cross president Alma Black, Ailsa Sims and Dawn Missen with a copy of the book
The Wattle’s Call and Other Stories which the group launched at Beeac Red Cross’s 100-year anniversary.

A BEEAC nurse’s war poetry has found a new audience 82 years after her death.

Marie Gray, who lived from 1858 to 1933, wrote about her experiences during the First World War.

She was Beeac hospital’s nurse in charge and was heavily involved in the formation of Beeac’s Red Cross unit in 1915.

The Red Cross Group has re-released a book of Marie Gray’s poems to coincide with its 100-year celebrations.

Beeac’s Dawn Missen has compiled The Wattle’s Call and Other Stories which contains 25 poems as well as historical information about Marie Gray and Beeac Red Cross.

Mrs Missen said she thought the history and photographs would “complement the poems,” where some of the poems were about individuals mentioned in the book.

“When the Red Cross was celebrating their centenary I thought it would be a good idea to publish the poems,” she said.

Mrs Missen said her favourite part of the book was the poems.

“Some of them are really sad but they do tell the story of what happened to the local soldiers.”

Ninety-two-year-old Ailsa Sims, Marie Gray’s granddaughter, said the poems had meant a great deal to her throughout her entire life.

“I have been used to reading them since I was very young and they are very true to life,” she said.

“She saw a beauty in most things.

“I think she was very touched by the world war.”

Mrs Sims said she was impressed with the new book.

“I thought it was clever to fit it all together.”

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