Lucas County

Lt. Helen Talboy


Lt. Helen Talboy, of Des Moines, Ia., was credited in press dispatches with organizing surviving nurses and taking charge of the surgical section of a hospital on the Anzio beachhead in Italy after it was bombed by the Germans.

Lt. Talboy Graduate of Burlington Nurses School

BURLINGTON -- Lt. Helen Talboy, praised for her courage following the bombing of a Red Cross hospital in Italy, was graduated from Mercy Hospital school of nurses training in Burlington in 1934. She has been in service since shortly after the breakout of the war.

Three other graduates of Mercy training school who have been serving as her assistants may have bee in the bombing as there has been no word that they have been transferred. They are Lillian Smith, Brooklyn, Marcella Schlemma, Clinton and Ruth Wells, Omaha.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, February 10, 1944 (photo included)

Des Moines in the Services

Lieut. Helen M. Talboy, 1106 Thirty-first st., who was an army nurse on the Anzio beachhead, has returned to the states after 18 months duty in the European theater. She now is at Stark General hospital, Charleston, S.C., awaiting orders.

"The evacuation hospital on the Anzio beachhead was attacked on Feb 7. 1944, by a terrific bombing, Lieutenant Talboy said. "We had no conception of the amount of the damage at the time and, of course no knowledge that any of our nurses had been hit." Later she learned two nurses who had lived in her tent were killed.

Lieut. Gertrude Morrow, Audubon, Ia., on duty in one of the wards, also was killed during this bombing.

The attack at Anzio was not the first time Lieutenant Talboy had been under fire.

The British hospital ship bringing the nurse from North Africa to Salerno was bombed, and they gad to abandon ship. Six British nurses and several medical men aboard were casualties, but none of the 100 American nurses was killed. They lost all their possessions and were picked up by another British ship which took them back to Africa. Five days later they were send back by troop transport to Salerno where they wet up a hospital.

The hospital of which Lieutenant Talboy became the acting chief nurse moved 17 times in 16 months. It was first set up in North Africa, and since ti was the first hospital attached to the 5th Army, moved to Italy with the invasion.

Lieutenant Talboy said, "The plasma and blood bank supplies were invaluable, and saved hundreds of lives."

She is the daughter of Dr. J.H. Maloney, Corydon, Ia., and formerly office nurse for Dr. Olin Elliottt here. She joined the army nurse corps in November, 1942. While in Rome she visited the Vatican City and had an audience before the Pope.

Source: The DesMoines Tribune, October 17, 1944 (photo included)

Helen Talboy
WWII Heroine
Dies at 62

DES MOINES (AP)—A heroine of World War II and former superintendent of the Iowa Women’s Reformatory at Rockwell City died at Veterans Hospital here Sunday at the age of 62.

She was Mrs. Helen Talboy, who was cited by the Army for heroic work in organizing her fellow nurses on the Anzio beachhead after German bombs had killed four other nurses near her.

She was superintendent of the reformatory from 1946 to 1953.  Doctors said she died of complications following chest surgery.

Source:  Iowa City Press-Citizen (Iowa City, Iowa) May 26, 1969

Chariton, Iowa
Tuesday, May 27, 1969


Helen Malony Talboy, 61, died at the Veterans Hospital in Des Moines on Sunday. She was the daughter of Dr. John Malony, a Chariton dentist for many years. She was a veteran of the Army Nurse Corps of World War II with the rank of Captain.

Funeral services were conducted today at 2 p.m. at the Miley and Brueggemann Chapel by the Rev. Father C. J. Gaul. Burial was in the Chariton Cemetery. Military rites were conducted by the Carl L. Caviness Post 102 of the American Legion.

She is survived by one sister, Ruth Thomas of Rockwell City, and one niece.

Additional information:

Moved to Chariton, Iowa, as a child with her parents and sister, Ruth. Her dad was a dentist. In 1927, she graduated from Chariton High School.