Temporary Nurse, Royal Military Hospital, Duntroon, and Staff Nurse, Australian Army Nursing Service
Alma McKnight served overseas with the Australian Army Nursing Service in Egypt from 1917 to 1919. Before enlisting she had nursed briefly at Duntroon Military College Hospital Canberra after training at Dubbo Hospital.
Alma McKnight was born in 1886 at Jerry’s Plains near Singleton NSW, a daughter of Thomas and Marion McKnight. She attended Warkworth Public School near Jerry’s Plains and trained as a nurse at Dubbo District Hospital. She was employed as a temporary nurse in May-June 1917 at Duntroon Military Hospital. Like some other nurses she probably chose to gain experience in a military hospital in Australia while waiting to enlist.
Alma Alberta McKnight enlisted in Sydney on 15 June 1917. She was then nearly 31, her religion was Church of England and she named her sister Mrs Clara Redman of Jerry’s Plains as her next of kin. She spent her war service in Egypt although he route to the Middle East was more roundabout than most. She embarked in Melbourne on the Runic on 13 September 1917and travelled to Durban in South Africa where she waited nearly a month for a ship to Egypt via Bombay. By late 1917 nurses were in short supply in Egypt to nurse casualties light horse casualties following the battles at Beersheba, Gaza and Jerusalem.
In January 1918 she was posted to 44th British Stationary Hospital at Kantara south of Suez, a main supply depot and hospital centre for British, Australian and New Zealand troops. In June she was sent to the 31st British General Hospital at Abbassia where she remained nursing until well after the war ended, apart from a spell in hospital as a patient in August 1918.
On 20 July 1919 she was repatriated to Australia on HMT Morvada on duty and was discharged in Sydney in September. Her final rank was staff nurse; she was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
In 1928 she at Randwick she married Frank H. Hargreave. She is listed on the Honour Roll of Warkworth Public School, the Singleton Citizens’ Memorial and the ACT Memorial. She died in Sydney in 1967.
DR PATRICIA CLARKE OAM FAHA
Explore further resources about Alma McKnight in the Australian Women's Register.