Avatar photo

Greg Dorey


Part of UK in Ethiopia

29th December 2014

Unsung Heroine

A few weeks ago, I was asked to try to locate the grave of Eileen Harewood. She was Matron at the Princess Tsahai Hospital in #Addis and had been in Ethiopia for 14 years when she was found murdered in her quarters on 12 September 1961, aged 51. According to the #Glasgow Herald of 17 October 1961, two men were condemned to death for her murder. A third man was condemned to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Not much is known of Eileen, though she clearly served Ethiopia selflessly – it is understood that she first worked with lepers in the bush before moving to the hospital. She and her sister became orphans when they lost their Father, John Halewood, a career soldier, in World War One. A nephew recalls her as “a radiant Christian…she had an aura about her. She never spoke much of herself, only of the blessings in life. She loved her life, she loved The Lord. She had the tranquility about her that I associated with strength. I will always think of her as a Saint, just a wonderful, kind, strong individual with a focus on goodness… she never wavered in her faith.”

With the help of several people, we at last tracked Eileen’s grave down to the Gulele Christian Cemetery, where the epitaph reads “For Ever With Her Lord”. She is one of a few civilians buried in the beautifully maintained Commonwealth War Graves #CWG section of the cemetery, where services of remembrance are held twice annually. Her family are happy to know that she is not forgotten.

1 comment on “Unsung Heroine

  1. Dear Greg, thank you – very interesting.
    I have an early photo of my father’s (also Peter Maxfield) of the Princess Tsahai Memorial Hospital before it was finished. He was with the RAF and BMME at Lideta in 1945/46. The photo is on Flickr at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/46212770@N08/6261194002/in/set-72157626410359721
    Is there any way of finding out where the lost grave of Colonel John Charles Robinson, IEAF/USAAF, is at Gulele? He was a friend to my father, and I’m sure you know, a hero to the Ethiopians and to some Americans. Many photos and information on him on the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force pages on Facebook. An album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10152056938327444&type=1 and some articles here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/imperial-ethiopian-air-force-ieaf/john-charles-robinson-quotes-and-articles-work-in-progress/10152484481612444
    Very best wishes to you,
    Peter Maxfield.

Comments are closed.