Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class : Head Sister N C Morrice, 25 General Hospital (British)

Accession Number RELAWM15488.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Enamel, Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1920
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class. Unnamed as issued.

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History / Summary

Associated with the service of Nellie Constance Morrice. Morrice was born in Sutton Forrest; NSW on 31 March 1881 and began nursing training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in November 1903. Qualifying as a staff nurse in 1906, she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) in May 1910 and enlisted in the AIF on 21 November 1914.

Embarking for overseas service on 28 November aboard HMAT Kyarra, Morrice was attached to 2 Australian General Hospital (AGH) with the rank of sister. Disembarking in Egypt 2 AGH arrived at the Mena House Hotel, Cairo on 25 January 1915. Mena had been taken over the previous December by the Deputy Director of Medical Services to accommodate the sick of the First Australian Division.

No 2 AGH also operated the Gezira Palace Hotel Hospital, Cairo. Morrice nursed at Gezira from June to September 1915. On 19 September Morrice was posted to 2 Australian Stationary Hospital (ASH) on the island of Lemnos to nurse Australian and Allied wounded from Gallipoli.

Returning to Egypt before the evacuation of the Peninsula she was transferred to 1 ASH, Ismailia. Morrice was promoted to head sister on 1 March 1916.

Detached for duty to the Australian Auxiliary Hospitals (AAH) in England, Morrice travelled on duty aboard the Hospital Ship Letitia, arriving in the United Kingdom in October. She was taken on strength by the recently opened 3 AAH, Dartford on 13 October; however she was soon posted to 3 AGH, Brighton.

In April 1917, Morrice proceeded overseas to France where 3 AGH had relocated to Abbeville. This hospital operated from tents and huts and from May 1917 began to admit gassed patients and treating them briefly before sending them on.

In October Morrice transferred to the 2400-bed 25 British General Hospital, Hardelot. Staffed by all Australian nurses under Matron Adelaide Maud Kellett, the hospital principally treated skin cases. During the concerted Allied offensives of August and September 1918, the hospital also functioned as a Casualty Clearing Station with theatres in constant use day and night.

On 3 June 1918 Morrice was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class 'in recognition of her valuable services with the Armies in France and Flanders'.

Morrice embarked for England in December for return to Australia. She travelled on duty as matron aboard HMAT Demosthenes on 16 January 1919, disembarking in Melbourne on 2 March. Morrice was discharged in Sydney on 9 July on demobilisation.

After the war Morrice was appointed matron of Georges Heights Military Hospital, Mosman. In June 1924, she was appointed secretary to the New South Wales (Lady Dudley's) Bush Nursing Association, a role for which she was awarded the Order of the British Empire - Member (Civil) in June 1934.

Retiring in 1948 Morrice lived out the remainder of her life in Chatswood, NSW. She died on 11 April 1963.