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.
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.
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.
- The National Archives: War Office 399/ 5554
- Black and White Budget January 6th, 1900 pp. 22-23
- London Gazette May 26th, 1903 p.3365
Anna Gardiner CAMERON was born on March 25th, 1855. She enlisted in the Army Nursing Service on June 13th, 1891.
Nursing Service in Victorian Wars
Sister Cameron served in Egypt during the campaign there 1.
Nursing Service in the Boer War
Sister Cameron served as a member of the Army Nursing Service during the Boer War, and was based at Ladysmith 2.
- Army List 1898
- The National Archives: War Office WO 100/229 QSA Medal Roll p152 created at General Hospital, Ladysmith; February 8, 1903
Adela Catherine Letitia ANDERSON (known as Catherine) was born on September 18, 1864 in Bloomsbury, Middlesex1. She was trained at the Children’s Hospital, Nottingham, and served for a considerable time as staff nurse’ at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital2. She joined the Army Nursing Service on April 20, 18913, served at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley2, and was serving at the Military Hospital Rochester Row, at the start of the Boer War4, 5.
Nursing Service in the Boer War
Sister Anderson went South Africa in the Braemar Castle, as one of the first group of nurses to go5. She served in the Boer War at No. 1 General Hospital, Wynberg6; No. 4 General Hospital, Mooi River; No. 16 General Hospital, Bloemfontein7;and, at No. 15 General Hospital, Elandsfontein8. She was Mentioned in Dispatches by Lord Kitchener in 19029, 10. She had a letter published in The Nursing Record & Hospital World:
No. 1 General Hospital, Wynberg, S. Africa.
Dec 11th, 1899.
We had a great reception at the Cape when we arrived. The people cheered and our troops cheered back, and it was wonderful altogether. We landed next day and were sent out here, only about nine miles from Cape Town, where the huts were ready for us. Such a lovely place it is, with that wondrous Table Mountain at the back, and Simon’s Bay in the distance in front. A pine wood surrounds us – and it is summer! The Camp is now one huge hospital all up the hill and in the wood. There are 620 beds, and already 500 have been filled. The men from Belmont were brought in on the 26th, such a number and such terrible cases. I never saw anything so awful and sad as some of them, and they are so patient and good. Many had to have operations at once. It is a grand place for them, so fresh and nice, and a large number are doing well. I have net a good many old patients from the Guards already, so awfully altered I scarcely knew them … One realises now what war means and the utter horror of it; and this they say is only the beginning. I am very glad to be here, and can do a great deal to make them more comfortable, poor brave fellows, but there is so much that we can’t do. The rush of work for the first few days after the wounded arrive is tremendous. I just long for several pairs of hands and feet, to run a few different ways at once! No words can describe how heart-rending it is to see them coming in on stretchers, one after another, many of them such utter wrecks. There is one Gordon Highlander in one of my wards with spinal wounds, paralysed all but his arms, and he is as cheery as if he were well, and with such a store of quaint humour. All are wonderfully patient. People are very good in sending fruit, jellies, and all sorts of nice things for them, and they do appreciate them … We have four Canadian nurses who came over with the Canadian troops, they are helping us and are most charming women … We are all hoping to get up country in the hospital train by turns; two have to go each journey to collect the wounded from the Field Hospitals and bring them here … A.C.L.A11.
She returned home on the Bavarian, arriving back in Southampton on September 8, 190212.
After the Boer War
She was appointed to Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) as Sister 17th February 190313. By the 1911 Census she had married Ewan McPherson, an Army Chaplain, and had two children14.
- The England Census 1871 RG 12/ 237/ 95/ 27
- Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue 132, 12 January 1899, Page 2 (Wellington, New Zealand)
- War Office (1900) The Army List for March 1900
- War Office (1898) The Army List for September 1898
- An Aerial Steamship. (1899). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (Western Australia) December 28, 1899, p. 24
- The National Archives: War Office WO 100/229 Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll p11 created at No1 General Hospital, Wynberg; dated July 14, 1901
- The National Archives: War Office WO 100/229 Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll p41 created at No4 General Hospital, Mooi River; dated October 10, 1901
- The National Archives: War Office WO 100/229 Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll p85 created at No15 General Hospital, Elandsfontein; dated September 23, 1901
- The London Gazette, July 29, 1902, page 4853
- London Standard, July 30, 1902, page 8
- The Nursing Record & Hospital World, January 13, 1900, p.34
- British Journal of Nursing, August 30th, 1902: p178
- The London Gazette, May 26 1903, p3365
- The England Census RG14 34996 11
Superintendent Miss Florence Ellen ADDAMS-WILLIAMS was born on April 18, 1859. She trained as a nurse at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh1.
Nursing Service in the Victorian Wars
She joined the Army Nursing Service on October 1st 1885, and in 1898 was serving at the Military Hospital in Canterbury2.
Nursing Service in the Boer War
The following is the nursing staff of the Seventh General Hospital, who will leave for South Africa shortly. Superintendent: Miss F. E. Addams- Williams Army Nursing Service; Nursing Sisters: Miss L. Basan, Miss; S. C. Chown, Miss A. N. Ferguson, Miss L. M. Fletcher, Miss E. M. Gardner, Miss M. L. Gordon, Miss M. 0. McNeill, and Miss E. H. Wilson, of the Army Nursing Reserve3.
She went to South Africa on the Norman, sailing on February 10, 19004, serving at No. 7 General Hospital, Escourt5 and in Pretoria6.
She is mentioned in some of the letters of Kate Luard.
After the Boer War
She was appointed to Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) as Matron 17th February 19037. She was Matron at Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, where “she did valuable work in reorganising the nursing … after the institution of QAIMNS”1. In 1905 she was awarded the Royal Red Cross:
… in recognition of her special devotion and competency in the nursing of the sick and wounded of His Majesty’s Army, and of her highly successful efforts in inaugurating the new Nursing System at Netley8.
She succeeded Miss Kerr as Principal Matron in South Africa1:
The position involves the general supervision and inspection of all military hospitals in the country, including the hospitals of women and children at the various military stations1.
She resigned as a Principal Matron in 19089.
- Tooley, SA. (1906) The History of Nursing in The British Empire. London: S.H. Bousfield & Co. Ltd.
- The War Office (1898) The Army List September 1898
- Nursing Record & Hospital World, February 3, 1900, p93
- The Times, February 22, 1900 p5e
- The National Archives WO 100/229 QSA Medal Roll p51 created at No. 7 General Hospital, Escourt; dated July 23, 1901
- The National Archives WO 100/353 KSA Medal Roll p1 created at Pretoria March 19, 1903 Jump up
- The London Gazette, May 26 1903, p3364
- The London Gazette, 18 August, 1905; Issue 27828, Page 5695
- British Journal of Nursing, January 25, 1908, p.68