Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) Nurses: Patrick Bourke

The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was a volunteer force of approximately 2,000 men, raised in Australia shortly after the outbreak of the First World War to seize and destroy German wireless stations in German New Guinea in the south-west Pacific.

Nineteen Nurses served with this unit:

Sister Jessie Neilson Burns
Sister Ethel Macquarie Cook
Sister Mary Katharine Curtain
Staff Nurse Elizabeth Agnes Dever
Sister Edith Beck Dickson
Matron May Gibbon
Staff Nurse Elizabeth Henry
Sister Catherine Elizabeth Lethbridge
T/Matron Elizabeth Mosey
Nurse Frances Mary McIntosh
Nurse Isabel Clare McIntosh
Sister Marian Adelaide MacLean
Sister Agnes Bissett Nelson
Sister Winifred Agnes Newell
Sister Annie Harvey Provan
Matron Flora Robertson
Sister Beryl Randall Sampson
Sister Henrietta Emily Williams
Sister Mabel Gladys Wiseman

Like many of the nurses at Rabaul during WWII, a number of these AN&MEF nurses came from country NSW and Queensland. As they were civilians their names are not included on war memorials, although a number of them did enlist as army nurses later and were recognised for their war service.

The AN&MEF nurses were eventually granted a Rabaul medal for their service. They were on the HMAS Grantala, Australia’s first hospital ship in WWI. During her short RAN service, HMAS Grantala supported the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force landing at Rabaul and was later recognised with the battle honour ‘Rabaul 1914’.

Nurses names and photos are from Jennifer Baker’s website, Looking for the Evidence.

For more information and photos go to:

Patients and Nurse: Convalescent soldiers at the Military Hospital at Namanula, Rabaul

Sisters’ quarters at the Military Hospital, Namanula, Rabaul. From left to right: Sister Catherine Elizabeth Letherbridge of Mitchell, Qld; Sister Agnes Bissett Nelson of Glen Innes, NSW; Sister Marian Adelaide MacLean of Maytown, Qld; and Matron Flora Robertson of Bathurst, NSW

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