Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Alice Margaret Betheras - Locating a World War I nurse (part 2)

The website Australian Nurses in World War I provides brief details about Staff Nurse Alice Margaret Betheras in the Australian Army Nursing Service. Alice had trained at the Alfred Hospital for three years. On 5 November 1915 she enlisted as an army nurse and left Australia on 12 November 1915. Alice was a nurse in Egypt and France and returned to Australia on 30 December 1917. Alice was discharged as Medically Unfit on 27 June 1918.

Discovering Anzacs provides the service and medical records for Alice - 19 pages.
A Google search for "Alice Margaret Betheras" provide other websites providing information about Alice's service in the Army as a nurse including:
First World War Embarkation Rolls showing that Alice left Australia on 12 November 1915 aboard the HMAT Orsova. Alice was 27 when she left Australia and she had been living in Camberwell when she enlisted. She was attached to the First Australian General Hospital Special Reinforcements. Her religion is given as Methodist.
The AIF Project provides similar information as well as a list of the names of the men and women aboard the Orsova.
HMAT Orsova 1915 - HMAT ships
Alice returned to Australia aboard the HMAT Berrima on 30 December 1917.
HMAT Berrima - 1917 - HMAT ships
The medical record for Alice Margaret Betheras shows that she had a number of stays in hospital while overseas including on one occasion, mumps, and finally a gastric ulcer. Most of her service was in Egypt but in early 1917 she embarked for France to work at the 5th General Hospital. On 9 August 1917 she returned to England and left England on 31 October to return to Australia.

The Australian War Memorial has a diary containing French language exercises that belonged to Alice. The diary contains entries from 14 November 1916 until 12 January 1917. There is also a card advertising The Modern School of Languages.  Alice was obviously practising French when she was in Egypt to help her when she was transferred to France.

Alice Margaret Betheras was awarded three medals - the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

An article in Trove shows that Alice Betheras was working at the Methodist Home for Children at Cheltenham in 1940.
Argus Monday 11 November 1940
The website Find and Connect provides information about these homes. Sister Alice Betheras had been working at the homes for some time when she took over the position of Matron from 1939 until 1943.
In 1968, in the electoral rolls, Alice Margaret Betheras was living at 238 Wattletree Road, Malvern.

Victorian Birth Death and Marriage record - Ancestry.com.au
Sister Alice Margaret Betheras died in Malvern in 1972. She was 85.

A selection of websites with information about Nurses in World War I:

Australians in World War I – Researching Australian Nurses
Researching Australian Military Service: First World War, Nurses
Great War Nurses – AWM
Anzac Day – The Nurses
The nurses’ experience of Gallipoli from their letters – Gallipoli and the Anzacs
Looking for evidence - WWI – Australian Army Nursing Service
Women in action - nurses and serving women

A Google search for 'Australian nurses in World War I' will provide other useful sites. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Alice Margaret Betheras - Locating a World War I nurse (part 1)

Recently the library where I work was provided with a digital copy of the Roll of Honour for Templestowe Primary School. This publication included information about former students who served during the First World War. Some pages contain detailed information about the soldier while others contain only a name. The name on one of the pages simply reads: Betheras Alice (nurse).
As Alice was the first nurse that we had encountered on the Diggers of Whitehorse and Manningham database I thought we should investigate to locate information about her.

A quick Google search for Alice Betheras brought up some sites with family information which was worth investigating further. Fortunately Betheras is not a common name which made searching easier. The person that I found was Alice Margaret Betheras
Victorian Birth Death and Marriage record - Ancestry.com.au
The next step was to establish if this Alice Betheras had any proven links with the school in Templestowe,  a long way from Castlemaine where she was born. I started searching Trove for the terms "Alice Betheras" and Betheras Templestowe and found a short article mentioning the school and Alice.
Argus Thursday 23 December 1897
Other articles in Trove had shown that Alice's father was a school teacher in different schools in country Victoria. Articles also showed the results of exams he had taken at the University of Melbourne for a Bachelor of Arts degree. The following article in the Bendigo Advertiser provided additional information including that Mr J Betheras was head teacher at the Templestowe School and at the end of 1899 was appointed as an Inspector of State Schools.
Bendigo Advertiser Wednesday 20 December 1899

The Evelyn Observer and South and East Bourke Record Friday 15 October 1897 provides additional information about Mr J H Betheras and his connection with the Methodist Church.
After attending Templestowe State School, Alice was a student at the Methodist Ladies College. A report of a MLC Speech Day held at the Melbourne Town Hall on Monday 15 December 1902 mentions Alice.
Argus Tuesday 16 December 1902
So, from articles in Trove we know that Alice's family lived in Templestowe at the end of the 1890s and that her father was head teacher at the Templestowe State School where Alice was a pupil. We can then conclude that the Alice Margaret Betheras, born in 1887, is the Alice Betheras, nurse, mentioned in the Roll of Honor for Templestowe State School No 1395.