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Ruth Allardyce Steel

2nd Lieutenant/Staff Nurse

Australian Army Nursing Service


Ruth Allardyce Steel - Information

Ruth Allardyce Steel was born in Bungendore in 1880. Her father Robert Alexander Steel was a Reverend stationed to St Stephen's Church in Queanbeyan. The Steels lived in Queanbeyan for some time, before Robert was relocated to St David's Church in Campbelltown, after Ruth's mother, Amy, passed away in 1897. The Steels resided at The Manse on Lithgow St, near the church. Here, Robert remarried Elizabeth Innes Wood at St David's on the 5th of October 1898. Ruth started training, later becoming a qualified nurse. The lives of the Steels would be changed in March 1915, when Ruth's younger brother, Alexander, enlisted in the AIF. Sadly, after he left, their father became very ill and the family moved to Burwood. There, he passed away from illness on the 9th of May 1916, while Alexander was still serving overseas. Ruth was living in Burwood with the family and working as a nurse, when she decided to join the military. She enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service on the 21st of May 1917, aged 34. She was then sent overseas onboard the RMS Mooltan on the 9th of June 1917 with the 3rd Unit AANS.

Ruth arrived in Suez, and in August was transported to Salonika in Greece. There, she began taking care of wounded and sick soldiers at the 60th General Hospital. It was a harsh and arid environment. Unfortunately, Ruth like many others, came down with malaria and was subsequently admitted to the 43rd General Hospital. She was soon feeling better, and in mid November was back on duty. However, Ruth was only able to patrol the wards for a few weeks, when she was hit with further malaria symptoms. She was then transferred to the 52nd Hospital, and underwent a medical review board examination. It was believed that she would remain unfit for military service for the next six months or more. As a result, Ruth was invalided home via Egypt on the 15th of January 1918.