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Ellen Elizabeth Watts was born in Wanganui on the 6 September 1911, the daughter of Arthur and Millie Graydon nee Bevage.  Later she moved to Marton attending the Marton Junction school until the age of 13.


While in Marton, Ellen joined the St John Ambulance Nursing Division and in 1941, along with other members of the division she volunteered for overseas service with the Women's War Service Association.  Selected, she attended Trentham military training camp and finally sailed for the Middle East on December 22nd in the hospital ship Manganui with the first draft of voluntary aids to go overseas.


She arrived in the Suez Canal on the 23 January 1942 and was posted to No 1 New Zealand General Hospital at Helwan, Egypt. After serving there for some months she was transferred to No 2 New Zealand General Hospital at Nazareth in Palestine (Israel).  Ellen then did a tour of duty on the Dutch hospital ship Oranji before returning to civilian life.


In 1944 she married Gordon Stirling Graydon at Marton and in 1945 they came to live in Normanby.  Ellen immediately became interested in the RSA.  She held office as secretary-treasurer of the Normanby-Okaiawa sub-branch for twenty years since its formation in 1952, and also represented the South Taranaki RSA at dominion council meetings.


When the Normanby-Okaiawa sub-branch disbanded, Ellen joined the Hawera branch and she was secretary of the social committee for 12 years.  In 1963 she was elected a life member of the club.  Ellen was the only woman member of the Normanby Town Council.


For 14 years Mrs Graydon was caretaker at the Normanby Primary School and she was also a member of the Normanby Country Womens Institute, for 30 years.


Ellen Elizabeth Graydon No 72156 Nursing Corps died on the 28 February 1979 at Normanby and is buried at the Hawera Cemetery.



Obituary "Hawera Star" March 1979