• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0476

Penman, Alice Maud

(1918 – 2008) Corporal Alice Penman with Private H. E. (Emily) Lewis
  • Born 17 March, 1918, Rockhampton Queensland Australia
  • Died 2 July, 2008
  • Occupation Community worker, Servicewoman


President of the Women’s Services Sub-Branch of the RSL, Alice Penman served with the Australian Army during World War II. She served in the Middle East as a Voluntary Aid Detachment member and then in Far North Queensland. Penman later served with the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS) after the Government of the time decided to distinguish between military and non-military Voluntary Aids.

During the ‘Australia Remembers, 1945-1995’ celebrations Penman participated in a number of functions emphasizing the work carried out by the Voluntary Aid Detachment Red Cross members.

On 13 June 1993 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to veterans particularly through the Returned & Services League New South Wales and to the Friends of the Northcott Neurological Centre.


  • 1937 - 1937

    Foundation member of the Bathurst Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD)

  • 1939 - 1939

    An Army Camp established at Bathurst and VADs worked in canteens, sewed a garment a week for the Red Cross, sold buttons and worked in local and camp hospitals

  • 1941 - 1941

    Selected to join the Australian Infantry Force (AIF) for service overseas

  • 1945 - 1945

    War ended

  • 1941 - 1943

    Served with the 2/6 Australian General Hospital at Gaza, Palestine

  • 1943 - 1945

    Served in Atherton, North Queensland

  • 1946 - 1946

    Joined Women’s Services Sub-Branch RSL, and has served in a number of offices including being Women’s State Councillor on State Council for 2 years

  • 1995 - 1995

    President of the Women’s Services Sub-Branch RSL

  • 1947 - 1947

    Assistant Commandant at Haberfield VAD

  • 1952 - 1952

    Brown Owl of the 2nd Beecroft Brownies

  • 1993 - 1993

    Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia

  • 1995 - 1995

    Organised, with the help of Girl Guides, a memorabilia display at St Ives Shopping Centre as part of the ‘Australia Remembers, 1945-1995’ celebrations

  • 1962 - 1962

    Family moved to Gilgandra, NSW. Joined the Red Cross and Country Women’s Association

  • 1987 - 1987

    Volunteer at the National Artillery Museum at North Fort. Has dressed two static models, one representing the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS), whose members served at the Fort during World War II and the other wearing a VAD uniform

  • 1995 - 1995

    Along with a number of other Voluntary Aids from World War II, Alice Penman spoke about her wartime experiences at a commemorative luncheon as part of the ‘Australia Remembers, 1945-1995’ celebrations

Published resources

Archival resources

  • National Archives of Australia, National Office, Canberra
    • PENMAN ALICE MAUD : Service Number - NX76505 : Date of birth - 17 Mar 1918 : Place of birth - ROCKHAMPTON QLD : Place of enlistment - Unknown : Next of Kin - BURNS ARTHUR
  • Australian War Memorial, Research Centre
    • Alice Maud Penman née Burns, as a corporal, served Gaza Ridge, Palestine and 2/6th Australia General Hospital, Atherton QLD; interviewed by Edward Stokes for The Keith Murdoch Sound Archive of Australia in the War of 1939-45
    • Corporal Alice Penman, with Private H. E. (Emily) Lewis
    • Group portrait of members of the first VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) contingent to travel overseas.
    • Kilo 89 Camp, Gaza Ridge, Palestine. c. December 1941. The four Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) occupants of Tent No. 9 stand in front of their quarters.
    • Studio portrait of NX76505 Alice Burns, Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD)

Digital resources

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Australian Army Medical Women's Service (AAMWS) (1942 - 1951)
    • Voluntary Aid Detachments (VAD) (1914 - )
  • Presided
    • Women's Services, Sub Branch RSL (NSW)