Mary Anne (Bessie) POCOCK ARRC, MID

POCOCK, Mary Anne (Bessie)

Service Number: Matron
Enlisted: 11 March 1914
Last Rank: Nursing Sister
Last Unit: 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF
Born: Dalby, Queensland, 20 July 1863
Home Town: Gladesville, Hunters Hill, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Matron
Died: NSW, Australia, 16 July 1946, aged 82 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Grafton Cemetery, NSW
Memorials: Gladesville Hospital WWI Roll of Honour
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Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Sister, New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve
29 Jul 1902: Honoured Mention in Dispatches

World War 1 Service

11 Mar 1914: Enlisted Australian Army Nursing Service, Matron, SN Matron, Australian Army Nursing Service
18 Oct 1914: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service, Nursing Sister, SN Matron, 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF
18 Oct 1914: Embarked Australian Army Nursing Service, Nursing Sister, SN Matron, 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF, HMAT Argyllshire, Sydney
28 Nov 1914: Embarked Australian Army Nursing Service, 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF, HMAT Kyarra, Sydney
28 Nov 1914: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service, 2nd Australian General Hospital: AIF
2 May 1916: Honoured Royal Red Cross (2nd Class)
5 May 1916: Honoured Mention in Dispatches

Help us honour Mary Anne (Bessie) Pocock's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography

Daughter of George POCOCK and Mary Ann nee O'TOOLE
From Clarence River

Mary Ann Pocock initially trained at the Sydney Hospital before volunteering to serve with the newly formed New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve bound for South Africa.

When she enlisted again during World War One, Mary Ann served as Matron in the 2nd Australian General Hospital.

SERVED IN TWO WARS.
In the days of the Boer War, when England was fighting her Empire policy against Krujer's Republic, and the Kaiser was a keenly interested onlooker, Australia was devotedly helping the Motherland in the fight, with her brave soldiers and her equally notable nurses, first pioneered for war hospital work by Sister Gould and her little nursing squad, who accompanied the New South Wales Contingent ("Dalley's Own") to the Soudan, years before. All this comes readily to mind when one is brought face to face with the dear old lady whose picture adorns this paragraph, Matron
A. B. Pocock, of Beaconsfleld Road, Chatswood. As a young sister, she did splendid work in the Boer War, nursing Boer and Britisher with equal tenderness, and for which she was awarded two medals. In that historic campaign, she was brought in touch with many great soldiers, including the in comparable warriors, Roberts and Kitchener. Of the Boer Generals, she was most impressed with Louis Botha, for whose soldierly bearing she had a positive admiration!
Coming down to the German-Allies' fight, she did hospital and field work at Ismailia and Alexandria, in the Egyptian campaign, and, at the western front France, she was twice mentioned in despatches. Her record for duty as a Digger-Matron in England was recognised with the bestowal of numerous medals, including one from the Royal Red Cross. Matron Pocock's breast is one blaze of decorative military honors and medals for campaign nursing.

The World's News Saturday 13 March 1926 page

MATRON A. B. POCOCK, who now lives in retirement at Chatswood,has had a most interesting career andhas done wonderful work, both in the Great War and in the Boer War. As a young nurse she went to the Boer War, gained two medals and was mentioned in despatches by Lord Kitchener.
Early in the Great War Matron Pocock was in charge of the hospital ship "Assaye" which conveyed the wounded from Gallipoli to Egypt and Malta. She was in charge of Mena House Hospital, Marseilles, and hospitals at Boulogne, Wimmereaux, and Armentieres before she took control of several convalescent hospitals in England. Matron Pocock was twice mentioned in despatches and was decorated by the King at Buckingham Palace with the Royal Red Cross.

The Australian Women's Weekly Saturday 16 September 1933 page 3

OBITUARY
Matron A. B. Pocock, 83, who died recently at Punchbowl, near Grafton, was born at Dalby, and served in the Boer War and the First World War. As a nurse in the Boer War she was awarded two medals, and was mentioned in despatches by Lord Kitchener. In the World War she was in charge of the hospital ship Assaye, which took wounded from Gallipoli. She was also in charge of hospitals in France and England. She was
decorated by the King at Buckingham Palace with the Royal Red Cross.

The Courier Mail Monday 29 July 1946 page 4

MATRON BESSIE POCOCK

The death took place at her brother's home, near Grafton, on July 16, of Matron Bessie Pocock one of the first Australian women ever to go to a war as a nursing sister. Reared on the Upper Clarence, Matron Pocock was a young nurse when the Boer War started and served throughout the South African Campaign. She was several times mentioned in dispatches, twice by Kitchener. October 1914 found her in charge of the Hospital ship'"Assaye", conveying the wounded from Gallipoli to Lemnos. A period as matron of a hospital at Ismalia, then Alexandria was followed by duty on the Western Front. Later on Lady Darnley's home for Australian Soldiers was in her charge and she stayed in England until all the wounded were repatriated. Resuming civilian life Matron Pocock was for many years matron of Gladesville Mental Hospital but in later years had lived privately at her home "Ismalia" Beaconsfield Road, Chatswood. In addition to a brother and two sisters Matron Pocock is survived by several nieces and nephews. Among them are Mrs. A. M. Munro of Simmons Street, Lismore, Miss Jean Pocock of Kyogle Intermediate High School and Mr.Fred Pocock, formerly C.P.S. at Murwillumbah. For her work on the Western Front in the 1914-18 war Matron Pocock was awarded the Royal Red Cross medal.

Northern Star Thursday 18 July 1946 page 4

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