Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Lifetime of Dedicated Service; Empathy Spurred Healer to Brave Perils of Second World War

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Lifetime of Dedicated Service; Empathy Spurred Healer to Brave Perils of Second World War

Article excerpt

Byline: John Telfer

THE Second World War was a period in Australian history that unearthed many heroes, not just on the battlefield, but also in the hospitals that put the soldiers back into service.

One such hero was Florence Mary Peterson who served the country as a military nurse and rose to great heights for her dedication and care of our forces in the Middle East and in Australia.

This is Florence's story.

Florence was born at Maryborough, Queensland, on May 22, 1906, the daughter of Grace Ogilvie and Andrew Peterson.

She spent her early education at Wilson's Peak State School before attending St Joseph's Girls Boarding School at Tenterfield in New South Wales to complete her secondary education.

She then took up nurse training at Glen Innes Hospital.

On graduation, Florence nursed for a number of years before taking up a position at the Lady Bowen Hospital at Herston, Brisbane from 1935 until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

Florence was a very dedicated nurse and had an empathy for the young men who were enlisting into the armed forces.

She thought she too should answer the call and dedicate her service to these young men as a trained nurse.

On December 13, 1939, Florence enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service and was given the rank of Lieutenant and from February 8 until May 1, 1940, she served with the Second AIF Recruiting Depot.

On May 9 she embarked from Brisbane aboard HMS XI (Queen Mary) with the 2/3 Field Ambulance to serve in Scotland at No.3 Australian General Hospital.

From there she embarked for the Middle East to serve at 2/2 Australian General Hospital at Kantara, near the Suez Canal in Palestine.

It was a difficult time for the nurses in the Middle East as living conditions were primitive and it was not long before Florence was affected with sand fly fever, an infection from a small bloodsucking fly that carried diseases, as well as a bout of tonsillitis.

On recovery, Florence was promoted to Major on February 5, 1945, and posted to the position of Acting Matron at No.1 Australian Orthopaedic Hospital at Frankston, Victoria. …

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