Bowe, Ethel Jessie (Major, b.1906 - d.1961)

Accession Number PR04727
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 2 wallets: 5 cm
Object type Diary, Documents, Letters, Photograph, Typescript
Maker Bowe, Ethel Jessie
Date made 1940-1944
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition

Related to the Second World War service of VFX384 (F331) Major Ethel Jessie Bowe.
(1) Original hand-written diary 1940-1944. The entries begin with farwell parties and Bowe's embarkation on Queen Mary XI on 5 May 1940. She describes an initial posting in England with 2/3 AGH, followed by a posting to Kantara with 2/2 AGH. After the death of the matron in September 1941, Bowe was appointed to that position. Returning to Australia in February 1942, she records her further postings with 2/2 AGH in Watten, Queensland and in Melbourne,Victoria. Items 2-6 were found folded in the diary.
(2) In green folded blotting paper are small typed notes which appear to be diary notes.
(3) Two official documents referring to transfer of patients from 2 AGH to 1 BGH and 27 BGH in January 1942.
(4) Two documents relating to NX4604 Lionel (John) Larkins.
(5) Letter to Matron from Elizabeth Ingham, 27/12/1942.
(6) Group photo including Major Bowe. Inscription says "Taken at No 10 British Hospital Kantara".
(7) Bound typed transcript of Bowe's diary, which combines both items 1 and 2.

History / Summary

VFX384 (F331) Major Ethel Jessie Bowe enlisted on 19 December 1939 with the AANS. She served overseas with the following units: 2/3 AGH in Godalming, England; 2/2 AGH in Kantara where she was appointed matron in 1941 and 2/11 AGH in Alexandria. She returned to Australia in 1942 and again served with 2/2 AGH in Watten, Queensland, before transferring to Melbourne as assistant to the matron-in-chief. Bowe was awarded a Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) in 1944. She served for several months in Moratoi in 1945. From 1946 she was appointed matron of the 115th Military (Repatriation General) Hospital in Heidelberg, Melbourne. In November 1947 she accompanied German and Italian internees as well as POWs back to Europe. She was discharged on 31 January 1948. After nursing in Austria, she returned to Australia and in 1951 rejoined the Australian defence forces. She rose to the rank of an honorary colonel in 1952. She won further accolades and was awarded an OBE in 1960.