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Remembered Today:

Sister Helen Emily Barnes


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Hi all,

I have had an enquiry relating to Sister Helen Emily Barnes who supposedly served with the Australian Army Nursing Service in WW1. I have no record of her by either her maiden or married name Cross either for overseas service or home service. She is not listed in the medal index cards.

According to a funeral notice in The Times on 3 December 1942 she was ‘formerly Sister H.E. Barnes of the AIF 1914-1918’. The notice was placed by the local RSSILA (returned services organisation). An obituary in The Times of 2 December 1942 says that she was 59 years of age (so born about 1883) served in France and then returned to England and became attached to a voluntary women’s organisation.

I did find online, that she was born in Norfolk (see below) - it says USA but may be Norfolk England.

Helen Emily Cross Nee Barnes
Died in Canberra in 1942 aged 59 years
Place of Birth Norfolk, USA
Her parents are listed as Arthur Barnes and Harriet Barnes nee Govet

John Thomas Cross
Died in Canberra in 1962 aged 79 years
Place of Birth Balmain, NSW
His parents are listed as John Cross and Hestia Cross

They were married in the UK on her certificate in says Norwich and on his London and moved to Canberra Australia in 1911.

Would appreciate any help with information on either her nurse training hospital and qualifications, or war service.

many thanks


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Apologies, it's not THE TIMES, but the Canberra Times newspaper in Australia, 2 Dec 1942, p 3.


The death occurred yesterday morning at the Canberra Community Hospital of Mrs. Helen Cross, of Cox Street, Ainslie, at the age of 59 years. Mrs. Cross had been ailing for some time but her death was sudden and came as a shock.

The deceased arrived in the A.C.T. in 1911 when her husband was appointed as riding master to Duntroon College, and remained here ever since, with the exception of the period when she and her husband were away at the last war.

Mrs. Cross enlisted as a nurse and did service for some time in France. Later she returned to England and became attached to a voluntary women's organisation.

Upon their return to Australia Mr. and Mrs. Cross settled in Canberra. Throughout the remaining years of her life Mrs. Cross devoted her activities to the service of many public organisations She was a well known member of the Women's Auxiliary of the Canberra R.S.L.

She is survived by her husband, Cpl. John Cross, who is at present attached to a garrison somewhere in New South Wales and by five children, Cpl. Terence, of the A.I.F., Pte. Nora, of the A.W.A.S.. Pat, Denis and Rosemary.

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Her birth as Helen Emily Barnes was registered in the fourth quarter 1882 in the Norwich registration district. Their marriage was registered in the first quarter 1912 in the Norwich registration district. Can only assume that the marriage took place late December 1911.

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