The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Winifred Starling

STARLING, Winifred

Winifred Starling was born in Sydney, NSW, on 16 November 1878, the sixth of nine children and the fourth daughter. Her father, John Penny Starling had come to Australia from England in 1860 and was Business Manager and shareholder of William Paling’s Music Warehouse. He was described as an Attorney in his will. Winifred’s mother Isabella, or Elizabeth, Jane Dudley was born in Australia to English born parents who had come to Australia, via New Zealand in the late 1830s. Her birth certificate gives her name as Isabella, but at least from the time of her marriage in 1866, she was named Elizabeth.  When Winifred was born the family were living in Norwood House, Marrickville, a rural suburb of Sydney with pretty scenery and handsome residences. John Penny Starling died in 1885 leaving over £40,000 to his wife. Some of this almost certainly went on a bequest to fund one or two students studying for Holy Orders, known as the Starling Foundation.

Winifred was educated at Ardnarce Anglican Grammar School in Burwood, Sydney and then went to England to train as a nurse at the Victoria Hospital, Chelsea. She returned in 1904 to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, Sydney, graduating in 1909. She then worked in a private hospital in Sydney until, in August 1915, she travelled on the RMS Morea to London along with twenty-two other nurses. On 3 November she enlisted with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Reserve, initially working in the Cambridge Military Hospital, which received casualties directly from the Western Front. In July 1916 she transferred to Sutton Veny Hospital which catered mainly, though not exclusively, for Australian soldiers. From November 1917 she was working at the No 2 New Zealand General Hospital in Surrey.

Winifred was presumably returning from leave in Ireland, and it has been suggested that she had been offered duty aboard RMS Leinster on 10 October 1918. There was never confirmation that she had been on board, but she was counted among the casualties of the sinking. Probate of her will was granted in 1919 to her youngest sister Ruby. She is remembered on the Badham Memorial and at Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains.



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