Florence Ethel Spalding was born in Goulburn in 1881 to William and Mary Spalding. Her paternal uncle was Colonel Warner Wright Spalding, a prominent figure in the Australian defence forces, who had fought in the Sudan and became a WWI recruiting officer on the NSW North Coast. Her grandfather was Colonel Richard Carr Spalding of the British Royal Marines.
Florence completed her nurse’s training at Orange Base Hospital under the supervision of Matron Dooly.
Nurse Spalding was living in Manly with her mother when she enlisted in November 1914. She embarked from Sydney the following week aboard the Kyarra. She served on hospital ships in Gallipoli, Lemnos and Egypt, as well as in England. In January 1916 she was awarded the Royal Red Cross.
Nurse Spalding resigned her appointment in October 1916, due to her impending marriage to Leslie Fidler, of Ravensworth, Gordon, whom she had met whilst nursing in Cairo. The couple married on 7 November 1917 at the Presbyterian Church in Manly. They were living in Bronte when Leslie died in December 1927. Florence moved to the North Shore following her husband’s death, census records indicate that she lived in Chatswood and Manly during the 1930s and 40s, moving to North Sydney and then Chatswood in the 1950s and 60s. She was a resident of Hunters Hill in 1968.
Florence was living at Maranoa Nursing Home in Lismore when she died in June 1976, aged 95.
Sydney Morning Herald, 9 May 1916, p. 5.
Nursing Sisters Honoured
Leader, 24 November 1916, p. 1.