Biography

Mary Ridley Makepeace was born on the 7th January 1860, in Newcastle-on-Tyne. She was privately educated and entered nurse training at the London Hospital in August 1890. She completed a two-ryear certificate and then had a short spell as a staff nurse at the Throat Hospital, before moving to a post at Croydon General Hospital1.

Nursing in the Victorian Wars

Mary Ridley Makepeace joined the Army Nursing Service in October 1894. She was posted to the Royal Victoria Hospital Netley and then moved to the Shorncliffe Military Hospital in March 18971.

Nursing service in the Boer War

In October 1899 she was posted to the Hospital Ship Spartan, and then to the Hospital Ship Avoca from February 1900 to October 1901. She then had several postings in the Orange River Colony1.

The crew, Medical Officers and Sisters on the Hospital Ship Spartan.
The crew, Medical Officers and Sisters on the Hospital Ship Spartan. Mary Ridley Makepeace is numbered ‘5’2.
A ward on the Hospital Ship Spartan, Sister Makepeace in charge
A ward on the Hospital Ship Spartan, Sister Makepeace in charge2.

Nursing service after the Boer War

In February 1903 she was accepted into the newly formed Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service as a Sister3. She came back from South Africa in 1905 and returned to the RVH Netley for a short while before being posted to the Military Hospital Cork. During her time in Cork she passed her examinations to become a Matron.

She was next posted to the Military Hospital Devonport in November 1909, where she remained until being sent to Malta as Matron in June 1914.

Nursing service in WW1

Matron Makepeace was serving in Malta at the outbreak of war and remained their until being invalided home in July 1916. She was placed on retired pay on account of her ill health on the 21st April 1917, having served over 22 years as an Army nurse1.

References

  1. The National Archives: War Office 399/ 5554
  2. Black and White Budget January 6th, 1900 pp. 22-23
  3. London Gazette May 26th, 1903 p.3365