Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service

Discussion in 'The Women of WW2' started by dbf, May 15, 2009.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Miss Nora Earls, Sister, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, was made an Associate of the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class).
    Miss Earls has been in the Middle East since December, 1939, during which period she has carried out the arduous duties of Sister in the operating theatres of several hospitals. Posted to 62 General Hospital, she was again working in one of the operating theatres while in Tobruk, and carried out valuable and meritorious service during the extreme pressure of work at the time of the Knightsbridge battle and until evacuated from Tobruk.

    Her devotion to duty was outstanding and undoubtedly helped in the alleviation of much suffering of many of the wounded.

    Miss Earls comes from Co. Monaghan.

    London Gazette:
    16 February 1943

    The Times, Saturday, Feb 20, 1943


    The King has also approved the following award in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East during the period May, 1942, to October, 1942:-

    Miss N. EARLS, Sister, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (Co. Monaghan, Eire)

    See this thread for ref:
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Miss Lilian Ellen Murphy, Sister (acting Matron), Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, was made an Associate of the Royal Red Cross.
    This lady has been for the past two years an Acting Matron, first with 58 General Hospital, and later with 43 General Hospital. This last hospital, which was sited in three separate buildings in Jerusalem, all distant from each other, was most difficult to control. By her energy, hard work and devotion to duty she has carried out with great success this difficult duty and has co-ordinated and established in the unit a highly efficient state of nursing and comfort to the numerous patients of all types treated in this hospital.

    Miss Murphy comes from Cork.

    London Gazette:
    12 October 1943

    See this thread for ref:
  3. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Just a rather pointless aside from all that, perhaps? But, this has reminded me that the Queen Alexandra Hospital, just north above Portsmouth, was originally a dedicated, Military Hospital.

    I think I have an image or two of it during that era. Bit pre WW2 though, I'd imagine?
  4. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

    Sister Catherine O'Loughlin
    a young nurse from County Clare (I have a copy of her records)
    dbf likes this.
  5. spidge


    Although a WW1 nurse, I took a photo of Nurse Dickson for Jim Strawbridge over at the GWF who collects these from all over the world.

    She died in the Military Hospital St Kilda Road Melbourne after returning from overseas and is buried at Coburg Lone Pine Cemetery near me in Melbourne.

    Nurse Dickson was the first Australian woman to be accorded full military honours.

    AWM Collection Record: P05159.001 - Portrait of Sister May Dickson, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), the first Australian woman to be buried in Australia with full military honours. Sister Dickson was a ...

    Coburg Pine Ridge Dickson_May2.JPG
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Times, Mar 24, 1945:

    Among five recipients of the George Medal is Sister Miss Sheila Margaret Greaves, Q.A.I.M.N.S. She was at a casualty clearing station and a reception camp at Anzio, Italy, on March 14, 1944, when enemy aircraft machine-gunned and bombed the area. She saw that the bombs had hit tents at the reception camp, and she at once dressed the wounded while a second wave of bombers came in. Her prompt action undoubtedly saved very much suffering and hastened the evacuation of wounded to the casualty clearing station.
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Times, May 21, 1945:


    SISTER MARY SATCHELL, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R.), was educated at Christ's Hospital, and received her nursing training at University College Hospital. She was on active service in France, narrowly escaping falling into the hand of the Germans at Le Treport, and was afterwards with the Eighth Army in Egypt and Italy. She returned to this country on leave at the end of last year, after 41/2 years' service abroad, and was looking forward to being posted to the British Liberation Army.

    She died in Lincoln Military Hospital, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas, Newport, just outside the city, with military honours.

    L.H.P. writes:
    "A section of the official history of the war should be reserved for recording the devoted services of the sisters attached to the fighting forces. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service is not well-known to the public. The original dove-grey uniform (now being displaced by khaki) with red facings, the inconspicuous badge and the military 'pips' drew puzzled looks from most civilians.

    Mary Satchell was on of that large band of State registered nurses who joined the reserve at the beginning of the war. Thousands of grateful patients - from this country, from the Dominions and from Indian - owe their lives to their care. Mary and a companion reached this country from France bereft of everything but courage. Refitted, she was sent to Egypt and then to Italy - she was the proud possesor of the Eighth ''Star' - and there were forged bonds of comradeship unique to the Eighth. Some of her friends in that Army stood silently at the salute at her open grave, in tribute to a girl of high courage, grace, and charm."
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Times, June 23, 1944

    Attached Files:

  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Times, July 19, 1941:


    Members of the Military Nursing Services, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, and Territorial Army Nursing Service have since their formation had officers' status and since 1926 relative military rank was officially recognized for them as follows:-
    Matron-in-chief, colonel;
    principal matron, lieutenant-colonel;
    matron, major;
    sister, lieutenant.

    Since the entry of so many women to the Services it has been felt that the rank markings of the nursing services should come into line with other women officers. All members of Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service and Territorial Army Nursing Service and reserves are therefore offered emergency commissions in these two Services, to be gazetted as Sisters, equivalent rank as above and with immediate acting or temporary rank held by each member at present. They will wear rank badges.

    Members will be allowed to serve on after marriage. Relegation to the unemployed list will be possible on compassionate grounds.
  10. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron


    R R C

    206468, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service
    who died age 44
    on 20 January 1945
    Daughter of Alfred Arthur and Helen Frances Augusta Smith. Her brother Bombardier Robert Laurence Smith, R.F.A. (died 1st December, 1919), is also buried here.
    Remembered with honour

    Attached Files:

  11. Sue Light

    Sue Light Member

    206468, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service
    who died age 44
    on 20 January 1945
    Daughter of Alfred Arthur and Helen Frances Augusta Smith.

    Dorothy Smith was born on September 11th 1900, her father a 'pianoforte finisher.' She went to school at Albert Street School, North Finchley, and then trained as a nurse at Wellhouse Hospital, Barnet between 1921 and 1924. After training as a midwife she joined Queen Alexandra's Military Families' Nursing Service (QAMFNS) in 1925, and then became a member of QAIMNS when the services amalgamated the following year.

    CL1 likes this.
  12. Tonym

    Tonym WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Clive and Sue


  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Sister In Charge Marjorie Birdstall OBE, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service.

    Previous Awards: ARRC - 11.6.42

    Awarded OBE. (Possibly Changed to RRC)

    Miss Mary Birdstall was Sister-in-Charge 11 (British) Mobile CCS when the unit replaced 84 General Hospital at Brindiai (sp) on 3 April 1944. She remained in the appointment until 25 Aug '44, a period of nearly five months.

    The General Hospital had 22 Nursing Officers, the establishment of a CCS was 8 Nursing Officers including Sister-In-Charge. (This number was later increased to ten).

    The daily number of patients during the first two months averaged 400, slowly reduced to 200 towards the end of this period. The Surgical Division was always particularly busy, including a number of DI and SI cases.

    During this period Miss Birdstall carried out her duties in a most capable and untiring manner. The work required a great deal of skill and energy, which she supplied.

    Apart from the shortage of Nursing Officers, the orderlies lacked nursing experience and the equipment of a CCS was poor compared to that of a General Hospital.

    More Nursing Officers might have been obtained, but Miss Birdstall preferred to carry on, realising that the Nursing Services, would, at this particular time, be fully engaged.

    Miss Birdstall overcame all difficulties with great diligence and resourcefulness, and all the patients had reason to be grateful for the treatment they had with this unit.

    I, as Officer Commanding 11 (Br) Mobile CCS during this period, am of the opinion that her excellent work should be recognised.

    Signed Lt. Col. W R Sprunt, RAMC.

    LG 19.4.45
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Sister Acting Matron Doreen Wilhamina Douglas RRC, 54 (BR) Hospital, QAIMNS

    Awarded Royal Red Cross, 1st Class.

    The above named Nursing Officer acted as a Matron of the Hospital during the period 1 May 44 - 31 August 44. The Hospital worked constantly at 300 bed level with a War Establishment of personnel for 200 beds. Movement took place from Trinitapoli to Rome Medical Area and then to Perugia. Acting Matron Miss Douglas set a constant example of cheerfulness and energy which was reflected throughout the work of her Junior Sisters and Nursing Orderlies.

    Her internal administration was likewise excellent resulting in a high standard of care of many seriously and dangerously ill patients.

    LG 19.4.45
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Senior Matron Daisy Clemintine Tanny Roberts RRC, attached to 102 (SA) Combined General Hospital, QAIMNS.

    Awarded RRC.

    In the performance of her duty as Senior Matron, this lady has displayed zeal and ability considering the average. Nothing is too much for the ware and comfort of an average of 600 patients of all nationalities, and the many high praises bestowed on this hospital have, in no small measure, been due to constant devotion to duty, high standard of efficiency and administration and her careful supervisionof the Nursing Services.

  16. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

    from the Blair collection, Ulster Folk Museum

    Nursing Sister working in Musgrave Park Hospital - in the Nissan Huts
  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi All,

    For your possible interest, I have just finished reading 'Quiet Heroines' by Brenda McBryde. A simply written and touching account of the wonderful work that these women carried out in WW2.

  18. Sue Light

    Sue Light Member

    That's the second of two books that she wrote, the first being 'A Nurse's War,' which covers her training at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, from 1939, and then her service with QAIMNS Reserve from September 1943. She's a good writer, clear and interesting, without over-egging the dramatic.
  19. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Sue,

    I really enjoyed the book, as you say she gets her story across simply but effectively. The book was a bit of a diversion for me, although still with some relevance to my research.
    I am interested in everything to do with the 1943 Chindit operation named 'Longcloth'.

    When these men came back out of the Burmese jungle they were nursed back to some health by Matron Agnes McGeary at the 19th Casualty Clearing station, Imphal. She was a marvel for them and they all improved gradually as a consequence of her work.

    She was awarded the MBE for her efforts. If you come across her on your research journey, then I would be grateful for any information on her, or any of her staff. I am searching for a photograph of her at the moment, but with little success.

    Best wishes.

  20. Sue Light

    Sue Light Member

    I'll file her name away in my brain for the future - it's often the case that people pop up when you're least expecting them.

    Regards --- Sue

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