Pte Edna McAlister (Keeling)
In 1943, as the war in the Middle East and New Guinea was escalating – the Australian Army began recruiting more young women for Nursing and Hospital Duties in overseas theatres of conflict.
On 20 October 1940, the first contingent of 2/5 AGH Personnel had sailed out of Sydney Harbour, bound for overseas duty.
On the 17 May 1943 Edna answered this call and was attached to the 2/5 Australian General Hospital
But by this time the Unit had already seen service in Greece and Crete, had been overrun by advancing German Forces, and 167 Personnel were taken as Prisoners Of War.
Edna was posted to Ingleburn to commence her initial training -- and from there to the 113 Military Hospital.
Later Edna was assigned to the Hospital Ship Manunda. The ship was on transit to Lae, but was turned back because of the Japanese occupation of the Island.
Next stop for Edna was the Island of Morotai – where she worked in the hospital, and later witnessed the Surrender of the Commander of the Japanese Forces to the Allied Commander on the Island.
Edna continued giving her services to the returning wounded diggers, and was finally discharged on 13 December 1946.
This story and photos was a contribution from Edna McAlister (Keeling) with her permission to copy and reproduce this material on the 2/5 AGH Website