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Anzac Girl: The War Diaries of Alice Ross-King

There is not a lot written about the many women who went to war, particularly those who went to World War 1, during a time in society when women were frowned upon for being different.

Alice Ross-King was a woman who love Nursing: it was her passion, the one thing she had always wanted to do was to become a Nurse. In 1914 when War broke out, she felt she had to go as her country needed her to try and help the men wounded in battle.

Her parents did not want her to go, but realised she was not going to be stopped and so bravely waved her off on the ship that was to eventually take her to Cairo, Egypt in 1915. She found out that no matter what she had thought, war and the injured soldiers was far worse than anything she could have ever imagined.

Anzac Girl is her story; the story of a brave young woman who went to War to do what she could to help the wounded.

She spent time in Egypt, before being moved with her hospital to Rouen, France, where she was told her young man, Harry Moffitt had been killed in action. This made her terribly sad, as they had talked of getting married after the War had ended. She then went to Armentieres, now known as the Battle of Fromelles, one of the bloodiest battles to be waged on French soil, before moving to Rouen in 1918, where she remained until the ceasefire in November 1918.

Based on her diaries, her story has been wonderfully told, along with simple, powerful illustrations from Jess Racklyeft and photographs taken during her years away, which allows children of all ages a glimpse into what the world was once like more than one hundred years ago.

Alice Ross-King died in 1968, a woman who was much lauded, and considered by the Australian Department of Defence to be the most decorated woman in Australia. It is fitting that Kate Simpson has told her great grandmothers’ story, the story of a woman who ‘marched to the beat’ of her own drum and by doing so helped to change the world for women.

If you would like to know more about Alice Ross-King and her life during her War years, her diaries are available on the Australian War Memorial website.

Author Kate Simpson, illustrated by Jess Racklyeft
Publisher A&U Children's
ISBN 9781760637019
Distributor A&U Children's
Released March 2020