04 November 2011
The National Archives has published online more than 15,000 First World War nursing service records, in one of the largest ever c
The National Archives has published online more than 15,000 First World War nursing service records, in one of the largest ever collections of women’s records to date. With Remembrance Sunday only a little over a week away, it couldn't be a better time to remember your First World War female ancestors and to try to find out a bit more about what they did during the Great War.
These records date from 1902 to 1922 and are special in that they contain an unusually high level of detail and volume of information rarely seen in service records, with some files extending to over 600 pages of information. You can easily view and download the records at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/nursing.asp.
The files chart the nurses’ full service history including their date and place of birth, training prior to and during the war, references relating to their suitability as military nurses, the hospitals, field ambulances, casualty clearing stations and other medical units they served in, and even confidential reports containing their superiors’ assessment of their performance.
The majority of nurses found in this record series served in either the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) or QAIMNS Reserve (QAIMNSR). QAIMNS was established by royal warrant in 1902 and during the First World War there were about 10,000 regular and reserve nurses from QAIMNS serving the British Forces in countries such as France, India, East Africa, Italy, Palestine, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Salonika and Russia.
Nurses in the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) can also be found in this collection. TFNS was set up in 1908 as a dedicated nursing service to support the territorial forces following the introduction of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act.
These records and many others can be viewed on The National Archives website on a pay-per-download basis for a fee of £3.50 per copy.
We can't wait to start searching these records this weekend - let us know if you find your First World War nurse too!