Mary Lyneham Tanyer BABB was born in Dittisham, Totnes, Devon on August 19th, 1863. She trained at St Thomas’ Hospital, London before enlisting in Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) on April 22nd, 1897. She was given the service number 721.

Nursing Service in the Boer War

She left for South Africa on the German from Southampton on October 28th, 18992. During the Boer War she served at the Base Hospital outside CapeTown3. She returned to England on the Orotavia on April 5th, 1901 for a period of sick leave following enteric fever. She was struck off the South Africa strength and posted to the Military Hospital in Devonport4. She returned to South Africa on the Assaye5. She stayed on as a military nurse in South Africa until 1905, when she returned on the Braemar Castle. She was given leave from the 7th May until the 19th August as she had none in South Africa5.

After the Boer War

After the Boer War she was employed as a trained nurse at the Military Hospital, Dover. On November 22nd, 1908 she was accepted into Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) and continued working at Dover5.

Nursing Service in WW1

Sister Babb served in WW1 after volunteering to serve abroad from her post in Dover. She was posted to the Hospital Ship Valdovia as Sister QAIMNSR. On board ship she had a period of bronchitis and pleurisy and had to return to the UK for treatment and sick leave5. It is not clear where she then served, but in December 1919 there was the following Confidential Report, from the Military Hospital, Dover:

Sister MLT Babb joined this unit from Ambulance Train duty during which time her work has been most satisfactory. She shows great tact and self-reliance and is capable in every way, and gets on well with those around her and I consider her quite suitable for future employment in a military hospital. Signed: MB Williams Matron QAIMNS5.

She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (RRC) on February 23, 19176 7. She was demobilised at Dover on the 17th December 1919.


  1. War Office (1900) Nominal Roll of Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) as at 30th September
  2. The Times, October 28, 1899 p12a&12b
  3. The National Archives:WO 100/229 Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll p166 created at Base Hospital, Cape Town; August 2, 1901
  4. The Times, April 11, 1901 p8b
  5. The National Archives: War Office WO 399/254
  6. The London Gazette, February 23, 1917; 29959 p.1947
  7. The British Journal of Nursing, March 3, 1917, p.148