Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1869 – 1933), an Adelaide surgeon, was my great grand uncle. He died 89 years ago on 27 June 1933.
He was the fourth of ten children of Wentworth Cavenagh and Ellen Cavenagh née Mainwaring. He was very close to his sister Kathleen, my great grandmother, and her husband, another surgeon, Arthur Murray Cudmore. My grandmother always remembered him fondly and knew him as Uncle Wenty.
Following his death the Adelaide newspapers published obituaries and reminiscences.
Obituary in the Adelaide Advertiser of 28 June 1933:
DEATH OF WAR SURGEON
Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring's Fine Record
CAREER OF SERVICE
One of Australia's most able war surgeons, Dr. W. R. Cavanagh-Mainwaring, died yesterday at Palmer place, North Adelaide. He was 64 and a bachelor. For about 25 years he was associated with the Adelaide Hospital, and from 1900, until he retired through ill-health about three years ago, had a practice on North terrace. He was one of the most distinguished of the many accomplished old boys of St Peter's College.
Conscientious skill and courage made Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring's war record one of many successes. He enlisted 15 days after the declaration of war, and finished his military work in 1919, being one of the few South Australian doctors to go through the whole of the campaign. While on duty he worked untiringly. No situation was too dangerous for him to tackle, and he became so attached to the 3rd Light Horse that he let chances of promotion pass so that he could remain with that unit. At one stage, when he was in hospital with an injured knee, he obtained transport to Cairo in a hospital ship, joined his regiment and went with it on an expedition as a passenger in a transport cart.
When he left South Australia on October 3, 1914, he was regimental medical officer to the 3rd Light Horse, a position he held until October, 1916. With this unit he reached Gallipoli in May, 1915, a few weeks after the landing, and remained until the evacuation. Late in 1916 he became attached to the 2nd Stationary Hospital in Egypt, which was in close touch with fighting at Magdaba and Rafa, and later moved to El Arish, where almost all of the casualties from the first two battles of Gaza were dealt with. From El Arish the 2nd Stationary Hospital was transferred to Moascar, and Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring went to the 14th General Hospital, first at Abassia and later at Port Said. In 1918 he returned to South Australia, but after a short leave returned to Egypt. For his work during the Gaza fighting he was mentioned in dispatches. He was also awarded the Order of the White Eagle, a decoration given by Serbia for good work in the common cause to specially chosen men in the service or the Allies. He left Australia with the rank of captain-surgeon, and returned as major-surgeon.
Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring's academic career was successful from the time he entered St. Peter's College until he earned the degree of F.R.C.S. He won many scholarships at St. Peter's, and passed at the first attempt every examination for which he sat, whether at college or university. His medical studies were begun at the University of Adelaide and finished in London.
He was a son of the late Mr. Wentworth Cavanagh-Mainwaring and Mrs. Cavanagh-Mainwaring, and was born at "Eden Park," Marryatville. Whitmore Hall Staffordshire, England was the property of his parents. It is now held by a brother, Mr. J. G. Cavanagh-Mainwaring. Mrs. A. M. Cudmore, wife of Dr. A. M. Cudmore, of North Adelaide, is a sister.
“Passing By” column from the Adelaide News of 28 June 1933:
Helping the Wounded
FEW men in the 1st Division of the A.I.F. were more loved, I was told today, than Dr. W. R. Cavanagh-Mainwaring, who has just died at the age of 64. Mr. H.M. Bidmeade, who was one of the first men in the British Empire to enlist (he wrote in offering his services in the event of war, on August 3, 1914), was closely associated with Dr Cavenagh-Mainwaring in Gallipoli and Egypt. He told me today that often the doctor, in his eagerness to help the wounded, had to be dragged out of the danger zone. On Gallipoli, when he had established rest bases for his men in one of the gullies, he would never stay with them and rest, but always hurried off to help the other front line doctors with the wounded. It didn't matter what the danger was, he would go anywhere to help the wounded.
Often, so Mr. Bidmeade said, he would be fixing up the wounded before the stretcher bearers arrived to carry them into safety. And whenever he found stretcher-bearers running short of food he would share his superior rations with them.
Saved From Grave
THERE is one man who, has to thank Dr. Cavanagh-Manwaring that he wasn't buried alive. It was at Quinn's Post, on Gallipoli. About 50 dead Australians and Turks were being temporarily buried in a big trench. The burying party was just going to cover up the bodies when Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring stopped them. "Take that man out," he said, pointing to an Australian. "I don't think he's dead. He wasn't. The doctor attended to him: and he re-recovered.
From the Adelaide Advertiser of 29 June 1933 page 10:
Out among the People
YESTERDAY I met dozens of men who expressed regret at the passing of Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring. He was known to his friends as "Cavy," and he was loved by all who knew him. Members of the 3rd Light Horse swore by him. One of them said to me, "If ever a man earned the V.C. it was Dr. Mainwaring." A doctor pal of mine who was at the war said to me:—"Cavy should have been knighted for what he did at the war." Mr. Jacobs said:— "Cavy was a splendid character. Although he could express an opinion in a courageous way, I never heard him say a nasty thing about anyone. With all his worth and knowledge of life he was modest almost to a fault. He was first and last an English gentleman." Cavy was a wonderful mixer, and he always had regard for the under dog. In addition to all his other qualifications, he was one of the best bridge players in Adelaide. He was an excellent field shot, and he loved a good race-horse. In recent years he was motored to the races by Joe Netter, who is at present touring the East with Mrs. Netter. Joe and his wife will be sorry to hear of the passing of their old friend.
From the Adelaide Chronicle 13 July 1933:
The "Old Doc" And His Spurs"
ONE of the Old 3rd,' Glenelg, writes: —'Dear Rufus— The passing of Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring will be regretted by all members of the old 3rd Light Horse Regiment. He was a lovable old chap, and long hours on duty meant nothing to him. He had a habit of leaving his spurs attached to his boots on retiring, and as he often conducted the 7 a.m. sick parade in his pyjamas, the spurs looked a little out of place, and did not meet with the approval of his batman. As was usually the case with the rigid discipline of the A.I.F., the batman often issued the orders to his superior. In this case (so the story went at the time) the batman was heard to say to the old Doc. one morning. 'Haven't I told you often enough not to wear those damned spurs with your pyjamas?' Doc, rather sheepishly, explained he did not know he had them on, to which the batman replied, 'Well, if you're not more careful in the future I'll hide the cows on you, and you won't have any at all.' This was a great joke among some of the boys."
- Sepia Saturday: First World War faces – Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh-Mainwaring at Gallipoli
- German flag from Fast Hotel Jerusalem