Richard Wallwork

England / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1882, d.1955

Nona Hildyard

  • 1918
  • Oil on canvas
  • Transferred from Banks Peninsula District Council, 2006
  • 1180 x 870mm
  • 2009/044

In 1915 Nona Hildyard was a nurse on board the transport ship Marquette, sailing from Alexandria to Salonika. On October 23rd 1915 the ship was hit by a German torpedo and sunk. Nona Hildyard was among the 10 nurses who perished and the Nurses Memorial Chapel in Hagley Avenue, Christchurch was created in their memory.

The Dominion (24 December 1915, page 10) carried the following article:

Mrs Hildyard of West Lyttelton, whose daughter Nurse Nona Hildyard, was one of the victims of the sinking of the transport Marquette when that vessel was sunk by a German submarine in the Aegean Sea, some time ago, has received the following letter from one of the survivng nurses:-

"... I thought you would like to have a few lines from one of us. When torpedoed we donned lifebelts, and Nonie and I were in the same boat, but it heeled over shortly after reaching the water and I got separated from her. She regained the boat with several others, and was very bright and cheerful, singing 'Tipperary' etc, and helping to get the others' courage up...But the poor child eventually died from exhaustion before we were picked up. We were in the water about eight hours and it was very cold. We all miss her awfully - she was such a good pal, and we had been together all through."

Exhibition History