Biography

Also Known as: Alice Appleford; Alys Ross King
Birth date: 05 August 1887
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 1887 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.

Rolls and Awards

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Royal Red Cross (2nd Class)

  • Unit: Australian Army Nursing Service
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Medal

  • Unit: Australian Army Nursing Service
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Military Medal

  • Unit: No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: Australian Army Nursing Service
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Royal Red Cross (2nd Class)

  • Unit: No. 1 Australian General Hospital
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Private Record

Ross-King, Alice, MM (Sister, b.1887 - d. 1968)

Papers of Sister Alice Ross-King who served with the Australian Army Nursing Service during the First World War. The collection consists of her three original diaries, a typed transcript of the diaries, a Florence Nightingale certificate, two Red Cross citations and three copies of letters of... Maker: Australian Red Cross Society

PR02082 (With records)

Photograph

136909

MELBOURNE, VIC. 1942-09-28. THE LEADERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS VOLUNTARY AID DETACHMENT (VAD) VF500148 MAJOR A. R. APPLEFORD (NEE ROSS-KING) RRC MM; ASSISTANT CONTROLLER AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL WOMENS SERVICE (AAMWS) AND CAPTAIN D. TOWNSEND; LIEUTENANT M. WILLIAMSON GIVE "EYES RIGHT" AS THEY...

136909

080896

MELBOURNE, VIC. 1944-10-06. VF500148 MAJOR A.R. APPLEFORD, RRC, MM, (1), WITH CAPTAIN P. WILLIAMSON, AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL WOMEN'S SERVICE, AFTER INSPECTING PERSONNEL PARTICIPATING IN THE SECOND VICTORY LOAN MARCH THROUGH THE CITY.

080896

069125

CAMP PELL, VIC. 1944-09-06. VF500148 MAJOR A.R. APPLEFORD, RRC, MM, ASSISTANT CONTROLLER (3) CONDUCTING A KIT INSPECTION OF MEMBERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL WOMEN'S SERVICE ON DRAFT FOR NORTHERN AREAS, ASSISTED BY CAPTAIN H.B. MCKENZIE, STAFF CAPTAIN "Q" VICTORIAN LINES OF COMMUNICATIONS AREA...

069125

080687

MELBOURNE, VIC. 1944-09-30 - 1944-10-04. OFFICERS AT THE CONFERENCE OF ASSISTANT AND DEPUTY ASSISTANT CONTROLLERS, AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL WOMEN'S SERVICE. IDENTIFIED PERSONNEL ARE:- NFX76442 CAPTAIN L.W. YATES (1); VFX138505 MAJOR R.M. DAVIDSON (2); NFX138446 MAJOR J.M. SNELLING (3); SFX30364...

080687

066316

MELBOURNE, VIC. 1944-05-24. HER EXCELLENCY, LADY ZARA GOWRIE, WIFE OF THE GOVERNOR GENERAL OF AUSTRALIA, FOURTH FROM LEFT (1), INSPECTING MEMBERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL WOMEN'S SERVICE AT THE 115TH HEIDELBERG MILITARY HOSPITAL, PRIOR TO HER RETURN TO ENGLAND. IDENTIFIED PERSONNEL ARE, LEFT...

066316

069124

CAMP PELL, VIC. 1944-09-06. VF500148 MAJOR A.R. APPLEFORD, RRC, MM, ASSISTANT CONTROLLER, AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL WOMEN'S SERVICE (1) INSPECTING THE KITS OF MEMBERS WHO ARE ON DRAFT TO NORTHERN AREAS. ASSISTING MAJOR APPLEFORD IS VF65581 LIEUTENANT S.F. DAMMON (2) OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE DRAFT FOR...

069124

080772

MELBOURNE, VIC. 1944-10-05. VF500148 MAJOR A.R. APPLEFORD, RRC, MM, ASSISTANT CONTROLLER, AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL WOMEN'S SERVICE, VICTORIAN LINES OF COMMUNICATION AREA.

080772

Digitised Collection

Letters to Alice Ross-King, 1917-1949

Letters relating to the First World War and Second World War service of Sister Alice Ross-King, 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station. Included in this file are letters congratulating Ross-King on her award of the Military Medal and the Royal Red Cross. Also included are two citations from the...

RCDIG0000861

Diplome de la medaille Florence Nightingale of Alice Ross-King, 1949

Diploma relating to the First World War and Second World War service of Sister Alice Ross-King, Australian Army Nursing Service. Included in this file is a diploma of the Florence Nightingale Medal, awarded to Ross-King by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1949. This file...

RCDIG0000972

Diary of Alice Ross-King, 1915

Diary relating to the First World War service of Sister Alice Ross-King, Australian Army Nursing Service. The diary, kept between 17 January 1915 and 19 December 1915, details Ross-King's service with the Australian Army Nursing Service (1 Australian General Hospital) in Egypt in 1915. She includes...

RCDIG0000973

Diary of Alice Ross-King, 1916

Diary relating to the First World War service of Sister Alice Ross-King, Australian Army Nursing Service. The diary, kept between 1 January 1916 and 11 November 1916, details Ross-King's service with the Australian Army Nursing Service (1 Australian General Hospital) in Egypt and later France in...

RCDIG0000974

Diary of Alice Ross-King, 1917-1919

Diary relating to the First World War service of Sister Alice Ross-King. The diary, kept between 21 January 1917 and February 1919, details Ross-King's service with the Australian Army Nursing Service in France from 1917 to 1919. The entries in this diary differ somewhat to those preceding it. With...

RCDIG0000975

Transcript of diaries of Alice Ross-King, 1915-1919

Transcript of diaries relating to the First World War service of Sister Alice Ross-King, Australian Army Nursing Service. The transcript contains all of Sister Ross-King's diaries covering her wartime experiences and dating between 17 January 1915 and February 1919. For details of each individual...

RCDIG0000976

Timeline

Date of birth 1887-08-05
Date of death 1968-08-17