Gertrude Evelyn Munro (1882-1918)

Posted on: 15 April, 2024

To mark ANZAC Day this year, we honour the ANZAC servicewomen of the Australian Army Nursing Service and its New Zealand equivalent. The story of Sr. Gertrude Evelyn Munro, a nurse from Ballarat, forms the basis for this post, to represent the service of nurses during World War I and the conflicts which followed. 

Gertrude Munro was born in Ballarat on 16 August 1882, the eldest daughter of Alexander Munro and Emma Munro (nee Jenkins), who resided at 5 Gillies Street, Alfredton. She attended Queens College in Ballarat. (1) Following her formal education, Gertrude commenced training at Ballarat Hospital where she graduated as a nurse. She worked at the hospital for two years before enlisting in the Australian Army Nursing Service in Melbourne on 16 August 1916, on her 34th birthday. (2) Her enlistment papers described her as “5’5’ inches tall, 136lb or 9 stone 10lbs, a medium fresh complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair”. (3) She was also listed as ‘single’ as was the requirement for women joining the nursing service. 

Gertrude embarked from Melbourne aboard the RMS Moultan on 22 August 1916 bound for Bombay, now Mumbai, in India, arriving on the 13 September 1916. (4) For the next eighteen months she worked as a nursing Sister at Army Hospitals in Bombay and Poona. In July 1917 she left India bound for Alexandra, Egypt, arriving on 4 August 1917. Her stay in Egypt was brief as she sailed for Salonika, now Thessaloniki, in Greece on 24 August, 1917. (5) 

In Greece, Gertrude was posted to several General Hospitals as a senior nurse. On 1 October 1918, she was admitted to the 43rd General Hospital, Salonika, with pneumonia and malaria, and succumbed to her illness on 10 October 1918. She was 36 years old. In her Red Cross file, a report from the Principal Matron notes, “...she was only ill for 10 days from the outset”. The report continued stating, “...she got the best medical care possible...and in addition to the Special Nurses one of her friends was constantly with her when I was not there”. (6)  

In an article in 'The Weekly Times' newspaper, one of Gertrude's colleagues "...payed tribute to her character" saying, "I heard a matron of the British Regular Army say that Sister Munro was the type of nurse who would be a comfort to any nursing administrator. She was skilled in her profession, a reliable domestic manager and a lovable woman.” (7) 

Gertrude Munro is buried in the Mikra British Cemetry, Kalamaria, Greece; Grave No 591. She is the only Australian serviceperson buried there. (8) She has a tree in the Ballarat Avenue of Honour; tree number 977. (9) Munro Street in Alfredton is named in her honour. 

Gertrude Munro was representative of the brave and enterprising women who enlisted to serve during World War I. These skilled nurses served honorably and with courage during an extraordinary historical moment.

Lest We Forget 

Simon Jacks
Australiana Research Librarian


Further reading: 

An article about Gertrude’ Munro's death in 'The Weekly Times’, 26 October 1918, p.42: 
Gertrude’s World War 1 Service Record: 

Gertrude’s Australian Red Cross Missing and Wounded Bureau File: 


(1) Virtual War Memorial Australia. Accessed 9 April 2024

(2) 'Gallant Service Ended' in the 'The Weekly Times', 26 October 1918, p.42. Accessed 9 April 2024

(3) Virtual War Memorial 

(4) Virtual War Memorial 

(5) Virtual War Memorial 

(6) Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Files 1914-1918. Accessed 9 April 2024 

(7) 'Gallant Service Ended' in the 'The Weekly Times', p42.

(8) British War Graves Commission. Accessed 9 April 2024 

(9) 'Lucas’s staff appreciation of brave men', Lithio and Printing Co., Ballarat, Victoria, 1919. P.26



Photo of Sisters Gertude Evelyn Munro and Amy Christie, Salonika Greece 1918. Virtual War Memorial Australia: Accession No H3100
Photo of Sisters Gertude Evelyn Munro and Amy Christie, Salonika Greece 1918. Virtual War Memorial Australia: Accession No H3100