"JANET HELEN WELLS 1854 - 1911 "Sister Janet ~ Heroine" Second person to be awarded the Royal Red Cross,, the first being Florence Nightingale..
The Times obituary of Sister Janet
Saturday June 10, 1911
The death took place on Tuesday last at Wood View, Purley, of Mrs. George King (Sister Janet, Royal Red Cross and Imperial Cross of Russia).
Janet Helen King was the daughter of Prof. Benjamin King (sic, should be Wells), ARAM., and was born in London. When she was but 18 years of age, deeply impressed by the accounts of those suffering of those fighting in the struggle between Servian Independence and Turkish supremacy, and impelled by a high sense of duty, she entered the Protestant Deaconesses’s Institution to be trained for nursing the sick and wounded in war.
Quickly becoming proficient, she was selected as one of a party of nine sent out by that institution to assist in nursing the sick and wounded engaged in the war between Russia and Turkey in 1877-78. The party proceeded to Bukarest under orders to the Russian National Red Cross Society, and were there directed to join the army of the Tsarevitch, which was operating on the Lom. Travelling by railway as far as Fratesti, they journed thence in rough carts to Semnitza and crossed the Danube by the bridge of boats to Sistova, where they waited for an escort to Vardin. Sistova was at the time of their arrival not only crowded with wounded from Plevna, but was being ravaged by typhus, so that the sisters found plenty of work to do while they were detained there. The escort having been provided, the sisters continued their journey in rough carts, suffering on the way from much privation from the bitter cold.
At Vardin they found their services sorely needed, and throughout the winter months they worked from early morning until late at night. Sister Janet was placed in charge of 200 patients who lay in huts scattered among the hills. More than once as she passed from hut to hut on her daily mission she was attacked by the wild dogs, and twice she was attacked by Bashi-Bazook patients. Communication across the Danube was stopped, coarse black bread was the only diet, and there was no news from home. When the army of Suleiman Pasha was driven back on Rustchuk the sisters were sent there, experiencing another terrible journey. Half of them were down with typhus, and Sister Janet was so severely tried in nursing her companions that on the capitulation of Rustchuk she returned to England, having been decorated for her services with the Imperial Order of the Red Cross of Russia.
Sister Janet was appointed Superintendent of the hospital at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and was selected by the Stafford House Committee for service with Surgeon General Ross in the Zulu War. At Utrecht, 3,200 sick and wounded passed through her hands, many of her patients being Zulus. Sir Garnet Wolseley, when he visited the hospital at Utrecht, personally thanked Sister Janet for her work, and on the conclusion of the war, she was awarded the South Africa medal and received from Queen Victoria the decoration of the Royal Red Cross for ‘the special devotion and competency displayed in nursing duties with her majesty’s troops’. Sister Janet married Mr George King in 1882.
The funeral service takes place today at St. Mark’s, Purley at half past 2."