A corporal on the ‘seriously ill’ list married his fiancé Sister Elsie ‘Billie’ Heyne in the Yaralla Military Hospital, Sydney on 30 June 1942. Elsie was escorted behind the screen on the arm of her grandfather, while air force patients on the ward hummed ‘Here comes the bride’ as they watched the ceremony in silhouette through the screen. The groom wore blue silk pyjamas rather than striped army flannels and he was only allowed a glass of water for his wedding breakfast. There was drama when the ring couldn’t be found, but a friend soon came forward with it.1
Elsie Heyne was born near Culcairn, NSW.2 After training and passing her nursing exams in Albury, she transferred to Manning River District Hospital where presumably she met her future husband Ernest William Bacon of Taree.3
Son of long-time Taree residents, builder Ernest Clarence and Frances Ellen Bacon, Ernest William served in the Citizen Military Forces during WWII.4 In February 1942 the couple was engaged and the wedding date set for June 1942 in Sydney.5 Ernest obtained five days special leave from his battle station for the wedding, but half an hour after arriving in Sydney he became seriously ill and was admitted to hospital. Since the bride and both families had travelled from Taree and Culcairn to attend the wedding it was decided to proceed.6
After their marriage, Ernest recovered from his illness. The couple lived in Sydney but continued to return to Taree to visit family and to take regular holidays at Harrington.7 Elsie died in 1971, while Ernest lived until 1988.8
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Daily Telegraph, 1 July 1942, 6.
2 NSW BDM, Birth index Elsie L Heyne, 1915, No. 37613.
3 Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 12 October 1934, 40; Daily Advertiser, 16 December 1938, 4; Singleton Argus, 1 July 1942, 1.
4 Ancestry.com.au, World War II Military Service Records; Electoral Rolls, Taree, Cowper, 1943.
5 Daily Advertiser, 25 February 1942, 4.
6 Daily Telegraph, 1 July 1942, 6.
7 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 21 December 1944, 2.
8 Ryerson Index, Elsie Billie Bacon, 2 March 1971; Ernest William Bacon, 10 October 1988.