Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
RPA Museum & Archives


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Lydia Kate King (Mrs Carter) b. 1886 at Orange d. 1972 at Turramurra
RPA trainee 1910 -1914
Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) 1914-1917


Staff Nurse King joined the AANS in November 1914 at age 29. All of her service was in Egypt and the Agean Sea, mainly aboard hospital ships. Miss King resigned from the AANS on 31 January 1917 on her marriage to Lieutenant Gordon Carter, whom she met in Egypt.

Miss King was an avid and prolific photographer. On this page we have scanned about a fifth of the loose photographs in our "King Collection". There are even more photographs in an album!

baby sun and myself
Miss King and "Baby Sun"

The photographs in our collection were donated to the RPA Museum in 1962. Miss King also donated certificates, cards and papers. However, the most significant item in the collection is the diary she kept from November 1914 to September 1915.

In it, Miss King records what it was like for the Australian contingent in Egypt during the first months of the War. They visited the sites very often, for example the Pyramids. They had dinners and dances at the Luxor Hotel, visited the Zoo, went on picnics, donkey rides and shopped. There were a few patients now and then but it was all rather quiet. This changed abruptly on 25 April 1915.

our launch at Alexandria
"Our launch at Alexandria."

"The road to Mena, Cairo."

January 19th, 1915

"Arrived Cairo about 11.30am. Walked in twos to tram them trammed to Mena House...Gould received us and showed us to our rooms."

February 1st, 1915

"Went to Cairo this afternoon. Carter and I hired a Gharry for the afternoon. Drove to the museum where we  spent a most enjoyable hour. Saw Pharaoh's mummy besides numerous others….drove to afternoon tea...then did quite a lot of shopping. I bought some very nice silk."


Letter of recommendation for Miss King from Harry Clayton, RPA Medical Superintendent.  Dr Clayton also joined the war service and served in Egypt and at Gallipoli.

the entrance to suex suppose you remember it Katie
"The entrance to the Suez Canal. Suppose you remember it.- Katie"

another view of the canal suppose it is alright sending these now they have beaten the turks back love katie
"Another view of the canal. Suppose it is alright sending these now they have beaten the Turks back.- Love Katie"  

Looking for the Turks in the Suez Canal SS Kyarra 

"Looking for Turks in the Suez Canal. SS Kyarra"

garden of heliopolis palace hospital 1915
"Garden of Heliopolis Palace Hospital, 1915"

February 24th, 1915

"We saw the two pontoons taken by the English from the Turks whilst trying to cross the canal. They were riddled with bullet holes."

8th batt band on board hmhs sicilia playing for us

"8th Battalion band on board HMAS Sicilia playing for us"
our Med Officers Xmas HMHS sicilia
"Our Medical Officers Xmas HMAS Sicilia
Queen Elizabeth at Lemnos
"Queen Elizabeth
at Lemnos"
ON board troop ship Euripides
"On the Troop ship Euripides"

"Troop ship at Lemnos, 20 May 1915"
my ward HMAS Sicilia
"My ward on the Sicilia"
pts being taken onto our Hospital ship
"Patients being taken onto our Hospital ship"

"Part of my ward on the Sicilia  - LK King"

May 23rd, 1915

"Most frantically busy day. Had to transfer 34 patients, make up their beds and receive patients in eight minutes. Hear there are five German submarines kicking about."

"On the board deck of HMAS Sicilia"


May 1st, 1915

"Arrived Alexandria 4am-along side wharf 7am. They are full of wounded and cannot take our patients so we have orders to sail to Malta. I stayed up till 1.30pm. Wanted to go ashore and see some of our Australians but no leave allowed. I believe they have also had a dreadful time and there are crowds of casualties. Quite worried me. Wish with goodness one could hear who they are. Quite upset and could not sleep. Got about 8 letters. Am heartily sick of this dreadful war. Do hope it will be finished soon."



If you would like to read a copy of Miss King's diary, visit the RPA Museum