Courtesy of Faithe Jones / RSL Virtual Memorial.
Sister Muriel Instone
Born: 1878 - Otago, New Zealand
Enlisted: 10 May 1915 aged 36
Unit: Australian Army Nursing Service (SERN: N/A )
Served: England, At sea (transports), Western Front & Germany
Died: 11 October 1932 - Melbourne, Victoria
Muriel was the daughter of Matthew and Emily Instone of Dunedin New Zealand (1). She trained as a nurse and by 1903 had moved to Melbourne where she nursed variously at the Homeopathic (later Prince Henry), Royal Women’s and private hospitals; and for private patients in their own homes (2). Around 1914, Muriel was working as a nurse for the Staughton family on part of the famous IYU Estate in Pakenham. The Staughtons had four children aged between three and ten years old (3).
Muriel enlisted for the Australian Army Nursing Service on 10 May 1915 aged 36. She embarked for overseas a few days later. Initially, Muriel was appointed as a staff nurse. She subsequently served in several different hospitals in England, including the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital (AAH), the Croydon War Hospital and the 3 AAH at Dartford. In early 1916, Muriel was posted as a nurse on the HMAT Star of Victoria, which was transporting sick and wounded soldiers back to Australia, and returned to England on the same ship. In May 1918, Muriel was appointed to the rank of Sister. From August 1918, she was posted to the 2nd Australian General Hospital (2AGH) at Wimereux, France (4). Towards the end of the War, there were many cases of influenza amongst the Australians on the Western Front and it is said that when the Armistice arrived, the staff of 2AGH had little time to celebrate as they were so busy treating the patients (5). In March and April 1919, Muriel was posted with the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, which was supporting the Allied Army of Occupation in the Rhineland area of western Germany (6). In May 1919, she returned to England and was granted three months leave for non-military employment. During this time, Muriel undertook a motor driving, mechanical and repair course (7). Perhaps she thought these skills would be useful to her as a nurse back in Australia? She departed England in December 1919 and arrived back in Melbourne in early 1920 (8). Like most members of the nursing profession in those days, Muriel never married. She died in Melbourne in October 1932, aged only 54 years old.
The assistance of Faithe Jones of the RSL Virtual Memorial is gratefully acknowledged.
(1) “Australian Nurses in World War 1” - http://ww1nurses.gravesecrets.net/i.html
(2) (4) (6) (7) & (8) NAA B2455 INSTONE MURIEL
(3) Casey-Cardinia Commemorating the Great War: 1914-1918: http://caseycardinia1914-1918.blogspot.com/2014/07/sister-muriel-instone-army-nurse.html
(5) Jenny Baker “Australian Army Nursing Service” Hospital Units”: https://sites.google.com/site/archoevidence/home/ww1australianwomen/aans/aans---hospitals-units