Medals Of The Month – February 2020: Staff Nurse Una Evelyn WillansBy The Cove February 5, 2020
This month we are featuring the medals of Staff Nurse Una Evelyn Willans.
Una Evelyn Willans was born in 1888 at Narrandera, NSW to John Fleming Willans (1856 – 1904) and his wife Eleanor Matilda, nee Blunt (1862 – 1902). A nurse in civilian life, Una enlisted at Liverpool, NSW on 8th October 1915 at the age of 27 years as a staff nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service.
Una embarked on 11th November 1915 at Sydney, NSW on HMAT A67 “Orsova” among Special Reinforcements for No. 2 Australian General Hospital (AGH) which was already overseas. Four months later she embarked on HMHS “Braemar Castle” on 26th March 1916 at Alexandria, Egypt and disembarked at Marseilles, joining a section of No. 2 AGH in that city. On the 20th December 1916, her brother George William Willans, a private soldier in the 9th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery, was killed in action near Armentieres, northern France.
Una was detached for duty on 19th December 1917 with No.1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, Middlesex in the United Kingdom, where she worked until she marched out on the 8th of October 1918 to sail back to Australia.
Una Willans discharged on the 14th February 1919 from the Australian Imperial Force. She Passed away on 29th April 1942, aged 69 at Manly, NSW.
Una Willans is also mentioned in the book More Than Bombs and Bandages: Australian Army Nurses at Work in World War I.
Another good read about female doctors in the Great War is Women to the Front.