2nd Australian General Hospital

From Our Contribution

2nd AGH.jpg
Colour Patch for 2nd AGH
2nd Australian General Hospital Mena camp.jpeg
2nd Australian General Hospital - Mena camp near Pyramids
2nd Australian General Hospital Ghezirah.jpeg
Ghezirah annex of 2nd AGH
Name 2nd Australian General Hospital
Where formed New South Wales
Date formed August 1914
Capacity 1,500 in Egypt
Locations Cairo, Egypt
Wimereux, France

General Information

The first matron of 2AGH was a Boer War nurse. On 27 Sep 1914 Miss Ellen Julia (Nellie) Gould enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was appointed Matron of No.2 Australian General Hospital.

With six other nurses she left Australia on 20 October, disembarking at Alexandria, Egypt, on 4 Dec 1914. The hospital unit's main body departed Australia aboard HMAT A55 Kyarra on 28 Nov 1914 and on its arrival, Matron Gould took up her duties as Matron on 21 Jan 1915. The staff were established at Mena House when, a few months later, casualties from Gallipoli made necessary the preparation of a second hospital at Ghezireh Palace. The two hospitals had a total of 1500 beds. In March 1916 the hospital was ordered to close and to follow 1 ANZAC Corps and the 2nd Division to France.

In April 1916 the 2nd Australian General Hospital was transferred to France aboard the Braemar Castle and after a brief period as an isolation hospital at Moussot near Marseilles screening for infectious cases from Egypt, it established itself at Wimereux near Boulogne, arriving on 30 Jun 1916, the eve of the advance on the Somme. Its nursing staff numbered 115 at this time. Sister Norma Heritage was left at Moussot with 19 Sisters and Staff Nurses, and she re-joined the unit on 18 Aug 1916.

They took over the partly completed facility left by the departure of the 5th British Convalescent Hospital, and accepted their first patients on 2 Jul 1916. Initially patients were accommodated in tents, but later 17 huts and one line of tents were provided. Although hospitals alongside treated Australian wounded, they seldom received the Australian casualties, but received them from other Commonwealth nations.

The hospital was the target of several enemy actions in late September, early October 1917, from both artillery shell fire and aerial bombing. Two horses were killed and the tents were riddled with shrapnel, while one orderly suffered shell shock. The hospital came to specialise in the treatment of fractures, and following the cessation of hostilities it was over run by patients with influenza.

The 2nd Australian General Hospital closed at Wimereux on 7 Feb 1919, with nursing staff released in groups of 10 between 12 Mar and 19 Mar 1919 to begin the return journey to Australia via England.

  • 2nd AGH Wimereux
  • Tent lines during 1916-17 winter
  • Ward at Wimereux
  • Plan of 2AGH Wimereux


See for a list of all personnel who served in 2nd AGH overseas. Six staff died on active service and one other shortly after their return to Australia.

Individual Honours

  • 1 Companion of the Order of St Michael and St John
  • 1 Royal red Cross (2nd Class)
  • 10 Mentioned in Despatches
  • 1 foreign award

Soldier Patients by date admitted