Anzac "little sister" remembered

Daphne Tongue's mother Nell Pike served as a nurse in the First World War. She features in the book The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War 1914-18 by Peter Rees from which Anzac Girls, a six-part series currently showing on the ABC is based.

Daphne Tongue's mother Nell Pike served as a nurse in the First World War. She features in the book The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War 1914-18 by Peter Rees from which Anzac Girls, a six-part series currently showing on the ABC is based.

You'll find Daphne Tongue parked in front of the TV on a Sunday night, watching the ABC six-part series Anzac Girls about Australian nurses who served in the First World War.

The TV series is based largely on the book The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War 1914-18 by Peter Rees, which features Mrs Tongue's mother Nell Pike, a nurse who served in a hospital for the wounded on the Greek island of Lemnos; the closest location to Gallipoli that nurses could access.

Mrs Tongue is unsure whether her mum's character will make an appearance in the show, but she does pop up in the book.

She is quoted as saying, "We Australian nurses were very patriotic and everything we were doing was for England. We were all glad to be taking part in the great adventure."

And later, "There's no greater joy than to be working under the canvas so close to the gallant men of Anzac."

Mrs Tongue remembers as a youngster attending Anzac marches in Sydney and soldiers breaking from the parade to hug her petite mother, crying "little sister" when they spotted her in the crowd.

"I was so embarrassed that soldiers would run over and hug her," Mrs Tongue recalls.

Her mother didn't speak a lot about the war, but she remembers her being proud of saving a soldier's foot a doctor was going to amputate.

"She said she would give him all the care that she could and she saved his foot," Mrs Tongue says.

Mrs Tongue believes her mother served to be near her fiance William Rose, who was killed in the war.

Only recently his remains were identified in an unmarked burial pit at Fromelles in France and his family sent Mrs Tongue a photo of her mother which had been among William's possessions.

Nell Pike went on to marry another solider, Mrs Tongue's dad Charles Laffin, who she had known since school, along with William Rose.

"We had a photo in our house of Will Rose, so our father must have been fond of him too," Mrs Tongue said.The couple had three children which they raised in Sydney.

Mrs Tongue was fortunate to be selected in the ballot to attend the centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli next year. She is taking her daughter Susanne with her and will venture to other parts of Turkey after the commemoration.

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