Florence Narrelle Jessie Hobbes was born at Tilba Tilba, New South Wales on 21 August 1878. Hobbes started her training as a nurse in 1903, at the age of 24. After passing her exams in 1910, she began nursing in Cobar before moving to the Brewarrina District Hospital, New South Wales, where she was working when war broke out.
Determined to serve in an active capacity during the war, Hobbes embarked at Sydney for London on 20 February 1915. On arrival in London in April, her preference was to enlist with the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR). After being accepted by the QAIMNSR, Hobbes arrived in Malta by the end of May and began nursing casualties from the Gallipoli campaign in Valletta Military Hospital.
In August 1915, Hobbes was promoted to be in charge of St David’s Tent hospital on Malta. At the end of November, she was transferred to Sicily and nursed at the Excelsior Palace Hotel Hospital. After the hospital closed in March 1916, Hobbes returned to Malta briefly before being posted to No. 22 British Stationary Hospital, which was to be stationed in Mesopotamia (Iraq). Leaving Malta on 15 May 1916, Hobbes’ journey took her via India.
Hobbes arrived in Bombay (Mumbai), India, at the beginning of June 1916 but adverse weather conditions in Mesopotamia delayed her forward journey. She worked in the Victoria War Hospital whilst waiting to move on to Mesopotamia, eventually arriving in Basra, in late August or early September 1916. In October, Hobbes moved north from Basra on the Tigris River to Amara, where she was allocated to No. 32 British General Hospital.
Having been on active service without leave for two years, Hobbes fell sick in June 1917, and was moved to the Colaba War Hospital on the outskirts of Bombay. After recovering sufficiently, she was granted sick leave, and chose to recover at the small hill station Binsar, in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. Still not fully recovered or diagnosed, she was moved to Almora in November 1917.
By the end of January 1918, Hobbes was moved to Meerut to be examined by a surgeon, who sent her on to Bombay for specialist treatment, even though she had still not been diagnosed. Hobbes arrived back at Colaba War Hospital in mid-February. At this time Hobbes’ sister, Elise, was sent by her family to ascertain her wellbeing. Arriving in India in March 1918, Elise was told that Hobbes was dying from advanced liver cancer. By April 1918, Hobbes and her sister were on a ship bound for Australia and on 10 May, four days out from Fremantle, Hobbes died. She was buried at sea after a simple funeral service. Florence Narrelle Jessie Hobbes is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq.