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Pocock, Mary Anne (Bessie) (1863 - 1946)

RRC

Born
20 July 1863
Dalby, Queensland, Australia
Died
16 July 1946
Grafton, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Nurse and Servicewoman

Summary

A member of the New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve (NSWANSR), Bessie Pocock served in the Boer War. She was awarded the Queen's and the King's South Africa medals and mentioned in despatches. Once again Pocock enlisted in the defence force at the outbreak of World War I. Serving in Cairo and Ismailia (Egypt) Pocock was later a matron on hospital ships. On 2 May 1916 Bessie Pocock was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal (2nd class) for her service with the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS).

Details

Before commencing her nursing training at Sydney Hospital in 1890, Bessie Pocock worked as a domestic. Upon completion she joined the hospital staff as a Sister. In 1899 Pocock became a member of the New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve (NSWANSR) and served in the Boer War being posted to hospitals in London, Johannesburg and Middleburg. She was mentioned in despatches and awarded the Queen's and the King's South Africa medals. After the war she returned to her position at the Sydney Hospital. From 1907 until 1911 Bessie became matron of the Newcastle Hospital and later (1911-1914) at Gladesville.

During World War I Pocock served with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in hospitals at Cairo and Ismailia (Egypt). She was then matron of the Hospital Ship Assaye before being stationed at Marseilles and Wimereux (France), followed by Trois Arbres (Belgium), and then Boulogne and England. On 2 May 1916 Sister Bessie Pocock was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal (2nd class) and she had been twice mentioned in despatches.

After the war Pocock returned to Gladesville Hospital as matron. Before retiring she set up a convalescent hospital at Chatswood called 'Ismailia.' She remained an active member of the Australasian Trained Nurses' Association of which she became a life member as well as the Australian Army Nursing Service Reserve.

Bessie Pocock never married and was looked after by her nieces until she died on 16 July 1946.

Sources used to compile this entry: Coulthard-Clark, Chris, The Diggers : makers of the Australian military tradition, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1993, 369 pp. pp. 48-50.; McCarthy, Perditta M., 'Pocock, Mary Anne (Bessie) (1863-1946)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110256b.htm; Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 May, 1916, p. 4429.

Related entries

Archival resources

Australian War Memorial Research Centre

  • Mena, Egypt, c. 1915, P01840.009; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details

National Archives of Australia, Sydney Office

  • Nominal rolls and lists of medals and clasps for New South Wales Military Forces who served in Boer War., 1899 - 1907, Series B5204; National Archives of Australia, Sydney Office. Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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