New Zealand Military Nursing
New Zealand Army Nursing Service - Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps

1899 - 1902

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With the declaration of war against South Africa, there was an enormous patriotic response and the nurses of New Zealand were no exception.  Offers came from many trained nurses.  Initially the offer to send nurses from New Zealand to the war in South Africa was declined but the vocal insistence of the nurses and pressure from the New Zealand Government resulted in permission being granted by the Imperial War Department.  

Nurses had to be first class nurses (this meant a nurse had to have trained in a reputable hospital for at least 2-3 years) and be aged between 25 years and 45 years.  Also, they had to be prepared to serve in any military hospital. They were not issued with any distinctive uniform, were paid by public subscription. On arrival in South Africa, nurses were attached to the Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service Reserve.

A group of six nurses was approved and were the first to represent New Zealand in a military campaign, becoming  the forerunners of the NZANS.  They were not issued with any distinctive uniform, were paid by public subscription and in South Africa were attached to the Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service Reserve.

Another group to leave New Zealand was announced in the newspaper, the Otago Witness, January 18, 1900.

Nurses for South Africa

The following nurses have been chosen for service, and must be ready to start in the Lincolnshire on Saturday, provided that their services are accepted by the Imperial Government:-  Nurses Peter , Webster, Littlecott, and Hiatt; dresser, Mr. Pierson.

They duly sailed aboard the steamer Lincolnshire from Christchurch and arrived safely in Durban early in March 1900.  Their safe arrival was announced in the Otago Witness, March 14, 1900. It is interesting to note that the produce had priority.

THE NURSES - Durban, March 5,
The steamer "Lincolnshire", with New Zealand produce and nurses from Christchurch has arrived here.

Each nurse who served during the Boer War was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal without clasps. The King's South Africa medal was awarded for an additional year of military service in South Africa and was given to 587 nurses of whom 6 were New Zealanders. Two New Zealand nurses were decorated by the British Government for their services.

Janet Wyse Mackie Williamson: Royal Red Cross (RRC), 27 September 1901; Mentioned in Dispatches - Lord Roberts,
4 Sept 1901.

Dora Peiper: Mentioned in Despatches - Lord Kitchener, 23 June 1902.

Twentyseven NZ Nurses confirmed to have served in the Boer war, were:
  Surname (Married Name) First Name(s)   Surname (Married Name) First Name(s)
    (Name) = Name known as     (Name) = Name known as
  Brooke-Smith (Younghusband)  Mabel Ethelind   Peiper (Oliphant) Agnes Dora (Dora)
  Campbell Isabella   Peter Jane Emily (Emily)
  Carston Margaret Elizabeth   Redstone (Wilcox) Ellen Dean (Nellie)
  Clarke Jessie Ann   Ross (Noonan) Sarah Jane
  Eagle Maud Campbell   Rowley (Handyside) Emily Marianne
  Godfray Eva Florence   Speed (Gillies) Janet
  Griffiths Helen Frances   Stevens (Dalrymple) Nora
  Harris  (MacGregor) Dora Louisa   Teape (McMurtrie/Rattray) Elizabeth Persis Barter (Bessie)
  Hay (McKenzie) Elizabeth Rennie   Vere-Hodge Leila C
  Hiatt Annie Hickman   Warmington (Thomson) Mary Elizabeth
  Jeffreys Geraldine Constance   Webster (Morley) Grace Henderson
  Littlecott Gertrude   Williamson Janet Wyse Mackie
  Monson Ellen Maria (Nellie)   Woolcombe    Laura Russell
  Morris (Retemery) Winifred Grace      
This photo was taken prior to leaving NZ. The group was led by Janet Williamson seated 2nd from left who was decorated for her services.
Back row: (l-r)Nurses Harris, Peiper & Hay. Front row: (l-r) Nurses Monson,Williamson (in charge) Ross & Campell

Sherayl McNabb:
100 YEARS - NEW ZEALAND MILITARY NURSING: New Zealand Army Nursing Service - Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps: 1915 - 2015. Published 2015.
Sheila Grey – The South African War 1899-1902 -  Service Records of British and Colonial Women  -  published 1993

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