Jane Charlotte Child was born on July 1st 1864, in Brighton, Sussex. Her father was a ‘flyman’ (a flyman drove a two-wheeled, single horse cart – a fly)1 2. Her father died when she was young and the 1871 Census 3, shows her at home with her widowed mother, and her brother George. By 18814 at the age of 16 she had entered domestic service.

Miss Child, who was trained at St. Thomas Hospital from 1888-1886, was subsequently Sister for five years at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton. She dates her interest in the organisation of the Nursing Profession from an address given in Brighton in 1888 by Mrs Bedford Fenwick on the aims of the British Nurses’ Association, which she forthwith joined 5 6.

She had a varied and interesting professional experience both of private nursing and in institutions, and it was in 1897 while on the sraff of the Registered Nurses’ Society that she gained her first experience of war nursing as a Nursing Sister in the Greco-Turkish War, and it was at this time that she first met Dr. Moffat, with whom she was to be so closely associated in professional work and in friendship in South Africa5.

The nurses who went to Athens to provide nursing care to the sick and wounded Greek soldiers sent a letter to the nursing press protesting over the treatment of Mrs Bedford Fenwick by the Royal British Nurses Association (RBNA)7.

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  1. Birth Certificate (General Register Office)
  2. England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915
  3. The National Archives: 1871 England Census RG10, 1074, 6, 9
  4. The National Archives: 1881 England Census, RG11 1063, 47, 40
  5. British Journal of Nursing (1924) Nurses of Note: Makers of the International Council of Nurses. British Journal of Nursing, May 1924, p.97
  6. The National Archives: 1891 England Census, RG12, 1905, 45, 3
  7. Farnswirth, SB; Flanagan, C; Child, JC; hill, C; Fawkes, L. Stollard, K; Dobson, E; Tillott, EJ; and Warriner, L. (1897) A Public Protest The Nursing Record & Hospital World, July 17, p.42