Parents: Robert Hynam Sevier and Elizabeth Schlusser. Her father was a banker and merchant and the family were of British extraction but went to Russia in the time of Catherine the Great as Imperial clock and watch makers. Her siblings were Lilian, Edward, Mary, Olga, Robert, Frederick, William and Richard.
Alice's paternal uncle returned to England and was a doctor in Barnard Castle. His sister married the local solicitor Hanby Holmes and Alice and her siblings visited to improve their English. Alice met and later married Roy Helmer. Alice and her sister studied at Bedford College, London and recalled going on a Suffragette march. In 1914 Alice and Mary joined the Russian Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detatchment and were deployed to the Russian Front. Alice administered anaesthetics and Mary became a theatre sister. Their unit was under the command of Dr Butz and they travelled by horse and cart. They were both awarded the Russian Order of St George by Tsar Nicholas. By October 1917 it was obvious that they had to leave Russia and a group crossed the winter ice to the Aland Islands heading for Finland. However, they were captured by the Germans and interned. The men were sent Ruhleben and the women to Holzminden. Alice and Olga were repatriated to England in exchange for German prisoners but the men remained captive until peace was declared.