Alicia Mary KELLY ARRC, MM

KELLY, Alicia Mary

Service Number: Nurse
Enlisted: 29 March 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Sister
Last Unit: 1st Australian General Hospital
Born: Galway, Ireland , 16 September 1874
Home Town: Mount Dandenong, Yarra Ranges, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Nurse
Died: Pneumonia , Midland, Perth, Western Australia, 16 April 1942, aged 67 years
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery & Crematorium
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World War 1 Service

29 Mar 1915: Enlisted Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Staff Nurse, SN Nurse, 1st Australian General Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria
13 Apr 1915: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Staff Nurse, 1st Australian General Hospital, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
13 Apr 1915: Embarked Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Staff Nurse, 1st Australian General Hospital, HMAT Kyarra, Sydney
3 Apr 1917: Promoted Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Sister, Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), 32nd Casualty Clearing Station
24 Aug 1917: Transferred Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Sister, 3rd Australian General Hospital
17 Oct 1917: Honoured Military Medal, ...for Bravery in the field
1 Jan 1918: Honoured Royal Red Cross (2nd Class)
9 May 1918: Discharged Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Sister, 1st Australian General Hospital



The death of Mrs. Arthur Chipper, of Bullaring (W.A.) recently recalls that she wes a well-known nursing sister in the Great War. As Sister Kelly, she was decorated by King George V at Buckingham Palace with the royal Red Cross, and she also gained the Croix de Guerre and the Military Medal—an unusual decoration for a nurse. The official account of how she won the M.M. is that Sister Kelly was on duty at one of the casualty clearing stations which was in danger at being demolished by the enemy. All the staff had been ordered to evacuate, but Sister Kelly insisted on remaining. I could not leave my patients, she said, when remonstrated with for remaining behind.

Mrs. Chipper trained at Melbourne Hospital and followed her profession for several years. She sailed from Melbourne when she went overseas with the First A.I.F.

Western Star and Roma Advertiser Friday 22 May 1942 page 3

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Biography contributed by Graham Kevin Jackson

"Alicia Mary Kelly (1874-1942), nurse, was born on 16 September 1874 at Galway, Ireland, daughter of Richard Kelly, farmer, and his wife Bridget Jane, née Bell. Nothing is known of her childhood or migration. She completed nursing training at the (Royal) Melbourne Hospital in 1910, nursed at the Eye and Ear Hospital, then worked at a private hospital run by Dr Kent Hughes.

On 29 March 1915, aged 29, Alicia Kelly enlisted as a staff nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service, Australian Imperial Force, giving her mother, who lived at Mount Dandenong, as next-of-kin. In April she embarked from Sydney with reinforcements for the 1st Australian General Hospital and reached Egypt in time to receive the thousands of wounded who poured into the hospital after the landing at Gallipoli. From 28 August until the evacuation of Gallipoli she made at least two trips on Euripides, transporting severely wounded men home to Australia. Her feelings about this sudden introduction to mass human destruction remain unknown, Alicia having been quiet and retiring by nature. In April 1916 she was posted to France with the 1st A.G.H. and served with it until December when she joined the 29th Casualty Clearing Station, Rouen. On 3 April 1917 she was promoted sister, and on 31 July was transferred to the 3rd Australian C.C.S.; while there she became one of only seven Australian nurses to win the Military Medal..." - READ MORE LINK (


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From State Library of WA.

Alicia Mary Kelly was born in Ireland in 1885 (?) and moved to Victoria aboard the Oroya in October 1891. She completed nursing training at the (Royal) Melbourne Hospital in 1910. At the age of 29 in 1915, Alicia enlisted as a staff nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service in the Australian Imperial Force. She served with distinction, being awarded the Military Medal (awarded for ‘conspicuous gallantry under fire’) and the Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class (A.R.R.C.). She was one of only seven Australian nurses to win the Military Medal. She served in Egypt, France & Belgium, and on ships returning to Australia with wounded military. Soon after discharge in 1918, she married Arthur Rupert Chipper, a Corporal in the 10th Light Horse AIF, and lived in Bullaring, Western Australia on their farm. Despite poor health resulting from her World War 1 experiences, she returned to nursing at the outbreak of World War II and was appointed matron of the Old Women's Home, Woodbridge, Guildford. She died of pneumonia on 16 April 1942 at Midland and was buried in Karrrakatta Cemetery.