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Biographical entry Bowe, Ethel Jessie (1906 - 1961)


27 May 1906
Maldon, Victoria, Australia
13 October 1961
Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Army matron-in-chief, army nurse and Nurse educator


Ethel Jessie Bowe trained as a nurse at Melbourne Hospital during 1927-1930, completed midwifery at Queen Victoria Hospital, and then joined the Australian Army Nursing Service Reserve (A.A.N.S) in 1931. She was appointed sister in the A.A.N.S in 1939 and was called for service with the Australian Imperial Forces in 1940. She was appointed temporary matron and was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross in 1944 for her efforts in the Middle Eastern theatre. She returned to Melbourne in 1943 with a rank of major and became assistant to the matron-in-chief. In 1945, Bowe was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed principal matron based on Morotai Island. In 1946, she became matron of the 115th Military (Repatriation General)Hospital in Heidelberg. Her career continued with the military from 1946 onwards and she was awarded the Florence Nightingale medal (1953), the Royal Red Cross (1955), and was appointed honorary nursing sister to Queen Elizabeth II. She was awarded with Order of the British Empire in 1960.

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Tom Hyde