The QARANC Association Heritage & Chattels Committee recently purchased a walking stick which had the name of a nurse carved into it. She was Sister Mary Lea, Territorial Army Nursing Service. It also had Geneifa Egypt and 1941 carved into it. At the time we didn’t realise that this nurse died when the Hospital Ship Newfoundland was bombed on 13 September 1943 off Salerno, Italy.
While browsing through copies of the Black and White Budget from 1900 I came across some photographs of the nurses on the Hospital Ship Spartan. Unusually the nurses are named. One of them, Sister Mary Ridley Makepeace was a nurse in my Boer War database who was also one of the Boer War veterans to serve in WW1, retiring in 1917 because of ill-health, having served over 22 years as an Army nurse.
We have added a video showing the pages from Lilian Robinson’s autograph book. We have started to do the transcription and notes and that will be available soon.
We have now started to publish a transcription of the Boer War diary of Sister Emily Jane Wood. Emily Jane Wood trained at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. She joined Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) in May 1900 as part of the Scottish Red Cross Hospital forming up to go to South Africa. As well as serving with the Scottish Red Cross Hospital she served in Kroonstad, Pretoria and Kimberley. At the end of the war she stayed on in South Africa in Government service. She kept a journal of the early part of her experiences in South Africa. This is in The Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine: Accession 333131; MS. 6034
She was a keen photographer and many of her entries deal with the intricacies of camera shots, and the supplies needed for photography at that time.
We were recently asked about the sinking of the Hospital Ship HMHS Anglia, which was requisitioned and refitted for use as a hospital ship and put to use ferrying the injured from France to England.The HMHS Anglia was carrying 13 officers and 372 other ranks when, just after midday on the 17th November 1915 about a mile east of Folkestone Gate, it struck a mine that had been laid by the German U-boat, UC-5. The ship was holed on the port side forward of the bridge and immediately began to sink bow first.
The question we were asked was whether the 4 nurses mentioned in the accounts of the sinking were all that there were. Would this have been the normal number of nurses for this type of ship? We looked into all the accounts we could find. The contemporaneous nursing journals covered the story very well, and it was clear that indeed the 4 nurses mentioned: Staff Nurse Mary Rodwell of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service who was lost that day, and Matron Mrs Mitchell, Sister Alice Meldrum, and Miss E. A. Walton were the only nurses on board.
We will write up the story of these 4 nurses and the HMHS Anglia here on the site.