Sister Minnie Isabel ‘Belle’ CRAWFORD, 1889 – 1974

Belle Crawford before the War.
Photo: Courtesy Jean May Crawford

Connection to the Hunter Valley – born at Millfield, Sister Crawford came from a large farming family at Mount Pleasant near Ellalong in the Cessnock area. Her war service is commemorated on Ellalong Public School memorial gates.  She had, in the words of a descendant, “escaped to Sydney” to train as a nurse.

Training and experience – Belle graduated Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and qualified for the Australian Trained Nurses’ Association in 1915.

Ellalong Public School memorial.  Sister Crawford's name appears on the left-hand pillar of the gates.Photo:  A John Bramble

Ellalong Public School memorial and inset detail. Sister Crawford’s name appears on the left-hand pillar of the gates.
Photo: A John Bramble 2010

Service – Australian  Army Nursing Service (AANS)

Service location – Egypt

Medals – British War Medal and Victory Medal


National Archives of Australia B2455 CRAWFORD M I

Nominal Roll of the First AIF Australian War Memorial (AWM)  AWM133,12-018 (Incorrectly listed as ‘Muriel Isobel’)

Embarkation Roll of the First AIF AWM Nurses (July 1915 – November 1918)

AWM4, 26/97/1 Part1 Australian Army Nursing Service in Egypt June 1916 – April 1918, [p.8,10,16, 20, 25]

Sydney Morning Herald 8 October 1915, p.10, retrieved from Trove 12 August 2011

Also notes provided to the author by a descendant and see comments below.

Do you know more?

© Christine Bramble 2013

3 thoughts on “Sister Minnie Isabel ‘Belle’ CRAWFORD, 1889 – 1974

  1. penny bristol-jones

    Belle Crawford appears in the wartime letters of my great grandmother, Edith Digby, as her friend and confidant from the beginning of the war until Belle went to Egypt. She tells of Belle’s attempts to serve overseas, her leaving the Prince Alfred and going to the Military camp at Cootamundra to increase her chances. Belle was also, it seems, fond of Edith’s son, John Lloyd Digby, who served as a doctor after his graduation in 1915. It was throughout this relationship that Belle and Edith became so close and Edith held hopes it would develop further, but it did not. Edith gives many details of their time together, and of Belle’s movements before she left Australia. I would love to contact her descendants so I could pass the pertinent information on.

    1. Great War Nurses from Newcastle & the Hunter Region Post author

      Thank you Penny, that’s interesting additional information. I will talk to my contact in the family and get back to you. Cheers, Christine

  2. Richard

    This is facinating for me as i have just been referred to your site by the Goulburn War Memorial Museum. Minnie is my Grandmother who resided in Goulburn and in later years at a nursing home in Pymble, Sydney. My father William Woods residing in Sydney (being one of 3 sons) will be interested in this background comemorating his mother…



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