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
Rose Anne (known as Rosa during her nursing career), was born in Lurgan, Co. Armagh on August 10th 18861. Following a period as a book keeper she trained as a nurse at the Mater Infirmorum, Belfast, between January 1909 and January 19131. She than trained as a District Nurse at St Lawrence’s House, Dublin, which was the training institution for Catholic nurses at that time1. She enlisted into the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service (Reserve) in June 19152, as a Staff Nurse.
Nursing Service in WWW1
Nurse McGibbon embarked on the Aquitania for Suez, leaving Southampton on the 9th November 1915 and arrived in Egypt on the 27th November. In Egypt she joined 18 Stationary Hospital. In November 2016 she joined 21 General Hospital in Alexandria, and in December 2017 she was appointed an Acting Sister. In June 1918 she was admitted to 19 General Hospital and had an appendicectomy. She appeared to recover but then became very unwell and was readmitted. After investigations she was invalided back to the UK on the Hospital Ship Wandilla. She was sent home on sick leave, and died at home on 6th March 19192.
- The Wellcome Trust; London, England; Roll of Queen’s Nurses; Volume: 20; Reference: SA/QNI/J.3/20
- The National Archives: War Office: WO/399/5187 McGibbon, Rosa
When Margery Loughnan was born in October 1888 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, her father, Alfred, was 30, and her mother, Mildred, was 31. She had three brothers and five sisters1,2. In 1911 she was a Governess at a house near her family in Croydon3. She trained as a nurse at Guy’s Hospital, London 1913-1916, joining the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) (QAIMNS(R))in April 19164.
Nursing Service in Word War One
Margery Loughnan was a Staff Nurse in the QAIMNS(R) serving mostly in hospitals in the UK, with one posting to the Hospital Ship Karylan4. Her postings are listed on a copper plate.
Two of her sisters, Kathleen and Isabel served overseas with the Red Cross as VADs5. Her brother Edmund served as a telegraphist in the Royal Navy6.
Nursing Service between the wars
Staff Nurse Loughnan transferred from the Reserve to the Regular Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service on the 2nd May 19197. She had numerous postings during this period8,9,10, being promoted to Sister in 192611. She was in India at the start of World War Two.
Nursing Service in World War Two
By 1941 she was a Matron (acting Principal Matron) and was awarded the Royal Red Cross12. She was confirmed as a Principal Matron in 194213. In 1944 she was made an Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services in India14. Her citation reads:
For her conspicuously successful administration of the Nursing Services of the Eastern Army throughout its formation and action and especially during the period (June – October 43) under review. In spite of initial shortages of personnel and of the low standard of training of many of the A.N.S., she has raised the general standard of nursing throughout the Army area to a satisfactory level. By continued personal contact she has directed and improved nursing in hard pressed outstations and always provided nursing staffs for forward units as soon as these could be posted. By her cheerfully firm handling of some 750 members she has most ably administered the Nursing Service of the Eastern Army.
She served with the 14th Army. This was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from West and East African divisions within the British Army. It was often referred to as the “Forgotten Army” because its operations in the Burma Campaign were overlooked by the contemporary press, and remained more obscure than those of the corresponding formations in Europe for long after the war.
In June 1946 she was retired from her post as Principal Matron, but was then re-employed as a Matron16. She was reconfirmed as Principal Matron, and given the honorary title Chief Principal Matron in 194717,18.
- 1891 England Census RG12; Piece: 749; Folio: 127; Page: 57
- 1901 England Census RG13; Piece: 990; Folio: 38; Page: 23
- 1911 England Census RG14; Piece: 3388; Schedule Number: 199
- UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968
- The National Archives ADM 127/362 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Ratings Campaign Medal Rolls 1914-1920
- The London Gazette 20th February 1920 31789 p. 2151
- The Army List 1922
- The Army List 1933
- The Army List 1936
- The British Journal of Nursing, August 1926 p. 188
- The London Gazette 1st July 1941 Supplement p3751
- The London Gazette 1st December 1942 Second Supplement p.5259
- The London Gazette 19th October 1944 Supplement p.4784
- The National Archives WO 373/79 Pt.2
- The London Gazette 4th October 1946 Supplement p.4941
- The London Gazette 2th April 1947 Supplement p.1543
- The London Gazette 8th July 1947 Supplement p.3116
Indian Copper Tray bearing all of Margery Loughnan’s postings
- Brockenhurst 1916
- Sheffield 1916
- HS Kalyan 1917
- Cosham 1918
- Blandford 1918
- Reading 1918
- Aldershot 1919
- Constantinople 1922
- Gallipoli 1923
- Millbank 1923
- Colchester 1915
- Allahabad 1927
- Maymyo 1928
- Rangoon 1930
- Ranikhet 1930
- Lucknow 1931
- Jhansi 1931
- Millbank 1932
- Agra 1935
- Peshawar 1937
- Muree 1938
- Lahore 1939
- Oxford 1940
- Millbank 1940
- West Africa 1940
- N.W. Army 1942
- Eastern Army 1942
- 14th Army 1943
- C.M.F. 1944
- HS Doresetshire 1946-47
- RMA Sandhurst 1947-56
Mary Ellen DAVIS was born in Dublin in 1878. Her father was a Clerk in the Civil Service. She was educated at a private school in Dublin1. From February 1901 to November 1902 she trained as a nurse at the City of Dublin Nursing Institution1, which was associated with the City of Dublin Hospital2. After qualifying as a nurse she worked as a Ward Sister at the Infection Hospital, Skipton, Yorkshire1, which was part of the Skipton Union Workhouse3. From 1905 to 1909 she worked at the Royal Free Hospital in London, and in 1909 she applied to join Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS)1.
She was appointed to the QAIMNS in the rank of Staff Nurse (provisionally) on the 28th December 19101, which was later notified in the London Gazette4. She was posted to the Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot1, and appears there on the Census returns for 19115
Nursing Service in WW1
She was posted to the British Expeditionary Force on the 8th August 19141. Her initial posting was to the Isolation Hospital at Le Havre. She is mentioned in Staff Nurse Lilian Robinson’s diary, sharing a berth as they crossed to France on the SS Comrie Castle.
She was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ in June 19151, and then followed postings to 7 General Hospital, 2 Stationary Hospital, and 12 Stationary Hospital. She was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ again on the 4th January 19171 6.
Promoted to Sister 18th May 19171, she then served at 26 General Hospital. On the 3rd June 1918 she was awarded the Royal Red Cross (Associate)7.
In the summer of 1918, German air raids on Allied bases increased in both frequency and severity. The worst of these, as far as the nursing services were concerned, took place on 19 May at Staples, 29 May at Doullens, and 31 May – again at Staples. In fact the Étaples nurses were having a particularly rough time. The raid on the 19th lasted three hours and caused damage to several hospitals. Maud McCarthy reported that, ‘at No. 1 Canadian General Hospital, 1 sister was killed, and 2 so severely wounded that they died shortly after, and 5 were also wounded. At 26 General Hospital there were 2 minor casualties amongst the Nursing Staff, and their quarters were partly wrecked …8.
Sister Davis was awarded the Military Medal on the 30th July 19181 9. Her citation read,
For gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy air raid. When the Sisters’ quarters were wrecked and bombs were falling, she showed a fine example and assisted materially in controlling the situation and attending to the Sisters who were wounded.
Nursing Service after WW1
During 1919 she also served at 57 General Hospital and at 3 General Hospital1. She was posted as Acting Matron to the Rhine on the 15th April 19191. She served as a Sister for another 7 years with postings at the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital London, the Cambridge Military Hospital Aldershot, Egypt, Shorncliffe and Hong Kong1. In 1930 she retuned to the Cambridge Military Hospital as a Sister but including Matron’s duties. In 1931 she went as Matron to Litchfield. At a promotion board in 1932 she was considered not qualified for promotion to Matron. She resigned from the service on the 15th March 1933 after 22 years service, and went to live in Johannesburg, South Africa where she died on the 15th August 19331.
- The National Archves: War Office 399/2099
- Fealy, G.M. (2006) A History of Apprenticeship Nurse Training in Ireland. Abingdon: Routledge
- The Skipton Workhouse [www] http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Skipton/
- The London Gazette, 13 January 1911, p321
- The National Archives: England Census 1911 RG14 Piece:3123 McGregor Barracks, Aldershot
- The London Gazette, 4 January 1917, p250
- The London Gazette, 3 June 1918, p6475
- Hallett, C. (2014) Veiled Warriors: Allied Nurses of the First World War. Oxford: Oxford University Press
- The London Gazette, 30 July 1918, p9000
Florence May CURRIER was born in St Georges, Wellington in Shropshire, 14 May 18891 2 3. Her father was an Engineer’s Clerk1. By the 1911 Census she was employed as a domestic servant near to home2.
She trained as a nurse at the Oldham Royal Infirmary may 1913 – May 1916, and was employed there before volunteering for service with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve)3.
Nursing Service in WW1
After joining the QAIMNSR in February 1917, Staff Nurse Florence May CURRIER was posted to the Military Hospital, Kinmal Park Camp (Kinmel Park Camp was built in 1914 as a training camp for Lord Kitchener’s Army in preparation for serving in the First World War. It had its own branch railway line connecting to the main line at Foryd Station in Rhyl, North Wales)3. Her report in September 1918 stated:
Staff Nurse F. Currier Q.A.I.M.N.S.R. has worked at this hospital for one year and six months. She is kind and willing but lacks experience in ward management and needs to work under supervision3.
She was posted to the BEF in France in September 1918, working mainly at 2 General Hospital in Le Havre. Her report from this hospital stated:
S/N Currier has served in this hospital since 12.9.18 as S/Nurse Medical Section and Night Duty. Her professional ability is up to the average. Administrative capacity good. Temper good. Tact and judgement good. Energetic, reliable and punctual in all her duties. S/N Currier has not done any charge duty since coming to France. With experience she will make a good Sister3.
She was demobilised in July 19193. Whilst she was in Le Havre, Sir John Lavery painted a picture of her along with a VAD. This picture is in the Imperial War Museum – “Le Havre, 1919: Nurse Billam and Sister Currier” (wrongly titled as Sister Currier)4.
- The National Archives: England Census 1901 RG13; 2523/ 63 /66
- The National Archives: England Census 1911 RG14; 16005; 193
- The National Archives: War Office 399/1968 Currier, Florence May
Mrs Theodosia Agnes COBBOLD (neé Sinclair) who was the great granddaughter of Lord Chief Justice Denman, trained at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. On the 1891 census she was listed as a Lady Nurse on the Isle of Wight 1. She married Charles Augustus Cobbold in Ontario, Canada.
Nursing Service in the Boer War
She volunteered for service with the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital and when accepted was taken into the Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) 2. She served with the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein 3.
Her husband – Charles Augusts Cobbold served in WW1 with the Suffolk Regiment and died at Loos in 1915. It was not known if he served in South Africa.
- The National Archives: The England Census RG12 15/951/98/19
- War Office (1900) Nominal Roll of the Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) as at 30th September 1900
- The National Archives: War Office WO 100/130: p228
Dorothy Maud Chandler was born in Epsom on 2nd January 18861,2. She contracted Rheumatic Fever as a child which damaged her heart2. She trained as a nurse at the Epsom Union Workhouse Infirmary2,3, 1910-1914. She was accepted into the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) on the 14th January 19152.
Nursing Service in WW1
Most of her military service was at the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Millbank, London2. In April -May of 1917 she was sent on temporary duty to France. First to 26 General Hospital and then to 1 BRC Hospital to learn about a new way of dealing with wounds, the Carrel-Dakin method. On 15th November 1917 she died of a cerebral embolism at the Hospital for QAIMNS Sisters, Vincent Square, London2. Her death was linked to a damaged mitral valve caused by Rheumatic Fever she had as a child2.
- England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
- The National Archives, War Office 399 Chandler, Dorothy
- 1911 England Census, RG14; Piece: 2965, Epsom Surrey
Note: A prominent French surgeon, Dr. Alexis Carrel, was working in a temporary field hospital and lab near the forest of Compiegne in France, just six and a half miles from the front. Carrel realized that the greatest surgical need was a better method of sterilising wounds, so he and English chemist Henry D. Dakin developed a system that would irrigate wounds with a sterilising solution – saving soldiers’ lives and limbs. Dakin developed the solution, while Carrel developed an apparatus to deliver it.
Elizabeth Mabel Bickerdike was born about 1873 in Bombay, India. Her father was an East India merchant. The 1881 Census showed her living with her family in Surrey, England1 as did the census for 18912 and she was educated at the Girls High School, Croydon. She trained as a nurse at the Infirmary in Bolton, Lancashire, and then worked at the Borough Fever Hospital, Croydon. She enlisted in the Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) on the 13th October, 18993.
Nursing Service in the Boer War
The Queen’s South Africa Medal Rolls show her as having served at No.2 General Hospital, Pretoria4; at No.5 General Hospital, Wynberg5; at No.8 General Hospital, Bloemfontein6, and at No.19 General Hospital, Pretoria7, arriving home to Southampton on the Targus on April 30th, 1901.
Nursing service after the Boer War
She joined the QAIMNS in 19038 and in February 1903 was in the list of the first 12 nurses to be posted as “Staff Nurses” to the Herbert Hospital, Woolwich. In February 1904 she was posted to the troopship Plassy for “Indian troopship duty” and returned to Woolwich in April 1904. She was posted to Alton and in January 1906 to the Military Hospital, Portsmouth. She resigned in July 1906 and became a private nurse with the Registered Nurses Society. The 1911 Census showed her working as a hospital nurse at the Mount Vernon Hospital for Consumption, London9.
Nursing service in WW1
She rejoined the QAIMNS at the start of WW1 becoming an Assistant Matron. She saw service in a number of places. In Egypt, she was at the engagement at Agadir on the 26th February, 1916. She was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross (ARRC) in 191810.
- The National Archives: England Census 1881 RG11 823/39/11
- The National Archives: England Census 1891 RG12 590/132/4
- The War Office: Nominal Roll for the Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) as at September 30th 1900
- War Office: Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll WO100/229:p24
- War Office: Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll WO100/229:p45
- War Office: Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll WO100/229:p55
- War Office: Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll WO100/229:p173
- London Gazette, 1903: p3365
- The National Archives: England Census 1911 RG14 651
- London Gazette, 1918: p6490
Katy Beaufoy was born in Aston, Birmingham on the 20th December, 1868. Her father was the Superintendent of the Birmingham Post Office. She trained at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital in Devon starting on the 16th October, 1893. After qualifying she was Sister of the Operating Theatres for eighteen months, then Sister of the Male Wards for six months. She was Matron of the Exeter Sanatorium from 11th July, 1888 until she joined Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) in July 1900 1.
Nursing Service in the Boer War
She served at Elandsfontein until she was invalided back to the UK 2. She then returned to civil nursing practice until returning to military nursing in 1914 as an Acting Matron in the QAIMNS(R) 1.
Nursing Service in WW1
Katy Beaufoy was posted to the Military Hospital at Devonport on the 17th August 1914 and then to Egypt on the 10th May, 1915 for service at No. 15 General Hospital at Alexandria. She was transferred to Ras el Fin on the 4th June, 1916, and then moved as Acting Matron to HMHS Dover Castle. She boarded the Dover Castle in Salonika on May 7th, 1917. When she arrived in Malta she was given leave to return home on the death of her father 1.
While in England she was admitted to hospital in July 1917 for an operation. After a medical board to make sure she was fit to return to duty she was sent instructions on the 24th October to report to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, although these orders were then cancelled 1.
On the 1st November, 1917 she was sent a telegram “Prepare to embark on Hospital Ship as Matron” from the Matron-in-Chief. She was then sent instructions to report to Liverpool to embark in the HMHS Glenart Castle. Her record contained letters back and forth between her and the Matron-in-Chief organising the nominal roll of staff for the HMHS Glenart Castle. The next entry in her record was a letter from the War Office to her next of kin informing them that Katy Beaufoy was missing believed drowned after the loss of the Glenart Castle by torpedo. Further letters confirmed that there no hope of finding survivors and that Katy Beaufoy had died at sea. HMHS Glenart Castle left Cardiff on 25th February, 1918, bound for Brest to load wounded. At 03:47 the next day a torpedo struck her, she went down quickly, and only 38 survived from 206 on board 1.
- The National Archives: WO/399/494 Personal Record
- The National Archives: WO 100/229 QSA Medal Roll p91 created at No.20 General Hospital, Elandsfontein; dated July 15, 1901