Sister Nellie Constance 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. A photograph of ‘Sister Helen’ standing on the steps of Mena House is held in the Memorial’s Collection at P08389.001.
No 2 AGH also operated the Gezira Palace Hotel Hospital, Cairo. Morrice nursed at Gezira from June to September 1915. On 19 September she 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.
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. There, 3 AGH operated from tents and huts and in May began to admit gassed patients, briefly treating them before they were sent on to other facilities.
In October Morrice transferred to the 2400-bed, 25 British General Hospital, Hardelot. Staffed by 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 returned to England on 11 December. She embarked for Australia 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.
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.
We're pleased that people are using this website as a source for locations, quotes and other primary source material. It's why we published our notes on the web. But we'd very much appreciate a footnote or credit. Much of the hospital (and other) location information for Lemnos and the Western Front is original research -- thank you, from Bernard & Cheryl