Australian Army Nursing Service
Date of Birth: 27 June 1881 Place of birth: St Marys, NSW
Biographical details: Mary Rosa Harford was born in 1881, at Penrith NSW, the daughter of Thomas and Eliza Harford. After leaving school, Mary Rosa completed her nursing training.
Military Service with AANS: On 8 October 1915, Mary enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) and was assigned to the Quarterly General Reinforcements, No 2 Australian General Hospital as a Staff Nurse. She left Sydney aboard the A 67 HMAT Orsova on 19 October 1915. After arriving in Egypt on 9 December 1915, Mary was assigned to the Ghezireh Hospital for a brief period before being reassigned to the Western Front. Mary left Alexandria on 26 March 1916 arriving in Marseilles on 4 April 1916. On arrival at Etaples, Mary was assigned to the 23rd General Hospital and then No 2 Australian General Hospital at Wimereux. In January and August 1917, Mary went on leave to England for two weeks. On 24 August 1917, Mary was declared medically unfit for further service to the British Expeditionary Force and was transferred to England. From August 1917 until April 1918, Mary was assigned to No 2 Australian Auxiliary Hospital Southall and No 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital Dartford. In April 1918, Matron Bessie Pocock recorded an incident in which Mary Harford refused to do night duty. She was reported to the Commanding Officer for this serious breach of discipline. When the Commanding Officer ordered her to do night duty she again refused. Matron-in-Chief Evelyn Conyers and the Director of Medical Services (AIF) both interviewed the staff nurse about her refusal to undertake night duty shifts. Harford’s response that she hated night duty resulted in Harford being placed under virtual arrest at Dartford. Harford was not allowed to leave the hospital for more than one hour as she awaited transport back to Australia. On 24 April 1918, Rosa returned to Australia aboard A29 HMAT Suevic as a passenger and was discharged from the AIF on 21 June 1918.
After the war Mary Harford and another nurse, Kathleen Adaway nursed in the North American region including a military hospital at Vancouver, and hospitals at Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. No other details are known.
NAA: B2455, HARFORD M R
Barker, M (1989) Nightingales in the Mud: The Digger Sisters of the Great War 1914-1918. Allen & Unwin: North Sydney, p 166.