|Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
First World War, 1914-1918
1914-15 Star : Staff Nurse C Sorensen, Australian Army Nursing Service
1914-15 Star. Impressed on reverse with recipient's deatails.
Christense Sorensen was born at Sandgate, Brisbane on 5 September 1885 to a Norwegian mother and Danish father. The second of eleven children she took over the running of the family household after her mother became blind following the birth of her last child.
Assisting with the birth of her first niece in April 1910 Sorensen was asked by the doctor on hand whether she had ever given thought to nursing as a profession, as he thought she was a born nurse. Perhaps because of these comments or possibly by sheer coincidence Sorensen began her nursing training at Brisbane Hospital only a few months later. Officially registered as a nurse on 8 January 1914 she enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) on 10 November with the rank of staff nurse.
Embarking for Egypt on 18 November aboard HMAT Kyarra, Sorensen proceeded to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli on 5 July 1915 where she was attached to the hospital ship Guildford Castle.
Promoted to nursing sister on 1 December Sorensen remained in the Middle East after the evacuation of Gallipoli. She was posted to India in August 1916 and arrived in Bombay on 5 October. Taken on strength by the Station Hospital at Poona, Sorensen nursed there until 2 January 1917 when she returned to Egypt aboard HMAT Karoola. Posted to 14 Australian General Hospital at Abbassia on 13 January, Sorensen was struck off strength on 21 January. Returning to Australia aboard HMAT Euripides, Sorensen arrived in Sydney on 21 February for attachment to the Queensland Nursing Staff.
Re-enlisting in the AANS on 2 June 1917, Sorensen returned to overseas duty aboard RMS Mooltan disembarking at Suez on 19 July. Posted to Salonika she embarked aboard SS Huntsgreen on 8 August, disembarking on 13 August. Sorensen was appointed head sister (temporary) of 60 General Military Hospital on 1 September.
Awarded the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) on 3 June 1918, Sorensen was Mentioned in Despatches on 11 June for 'Gallant Conduct and Distinguished Service'. After the war she was also awarded the Royal Red Cross (1st Class) in recognition for her 'valuable services with the British Forces in the Balkans' and the French Medaille Des Epidemies for 'conspicuous service in fighting epidemic illnesses.'
At the end of the war Sorensen remained at 60 General Military Hospital, where she was made temporary Matron, until February 1919, when she proceeded to the UK on leave. She transferred to 3 Auxiliary Australian Hospital, Dartford on 10 February but was granted leave with pay from 1 March to 30 September to undertake a six month course at Guy's Hospital, London in theoretical and practical massage.
Embarking for Australia aboard HMAT Ormonde on 15 November Sorensen arrived in Queensland on 2 January 1920. She was discharged on demobilisation on 2 March 1920.
After the war Sorensen was appointed Matron of the Rosemount Repatriation Military Hospital before being appointed Matron of the Hospital of Sick Children. In February 1928 she became General Matron of all the hospitals under the control of the Brisbane and South Coast Hospitals Board.
A member of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation from 1923 to 1952, Sorensen was a foundation member of the College of Nursing Australia and became a Fellow of the college in July 1949. Retiring on 31 December 1951 she was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (Civil) on 5 June 1952 in recognition of her outstanding service to nursing. Sorensen died on 2 January 1958.