Biography

Also Known as: Alice Appleford; Alys Ross King
Birth date: 05 August 1891
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Ballarat
Death date: 17 August 1968
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Cronulla
Final rank: Major
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • No. 1 Australian General Hospital
  • No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station
  • Australian Army Nursing Service

Alice Ross-King was born in Ballarat, Victoria, on 5 August 1891 to Archibald and his wife, Henrietta. When Alice was still young the family moved to Perth, where as the result of an accident Alice s father and two brothers were drowned in the Swan River. Soon after this Alice and her mother returned to Victoria. Before the war Alice Ross-King trained as a nurse, and she became a theatre sister in charge of a private hospital in Collins Street, Melbourne. She enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service in November 1914. During 1915 she served in hospitals and on hospital transport ships in Egypt and the Suez. In early 1916 she moved to France where she served with No. 1 Australian General Hospital and a stationary hospital before joining No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station (2CCS), located close to the trenches at Trois Arbres near Armentières.

On the night of 22 July 1917 2CCS was attacked by German aircraft. Witness accounts describe nurses running to tents shattered by bombs to rescue patients, either carrying them to safety or placing tables over patient's beds in an effort to protect them. Alice and three other nurses, Dorothy Cawood, Mary Jane Derrer, and Clare Deacon, were awarded the Military Medal for their actions during the attack.

Alice Ross-King served as a nurse until the end of the war, upon which she returned to Australia. She married a doctor, Sydney Theodore Appleford, whom she met on the return journey in 1919, and they settled in South Gippsland and had four children. In the 1930s Alice was involved in training Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) and during the Second World War she enlisted for full-time duty with the VADs. By 1942 the VADs had developed into the Australian Army Women s Medical Services and Alice Appleford was commissioned as a major and appointed senior assistant controller for Victoria. She was awarded the Florence Nightingale medal in 1949 by the International Red Cross.

Alice Appleford died on 17 August 1968 at Cronulla, Sydney. An annual award is presented to a serving member of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps by the Ex-AAWMS Association to perpetuate her memory.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Recommended for: Military Medal
  • Unit: Australian Army Nursing Service
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Royal Red Cross (2nd Class)
  • Unit: Australian Army Nursing Service
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Royal Red Cross (2nd Class)
  • Unit: No. 1 Australian General Hospital
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: Australian Army Nursing Service
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Military Medal
  • Unit: No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Digitised Collection

Timeline

Date of birth 1891-08-05
Date of death 1968-08-17