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Nurses Awarded Military Medals


Nick Thornicroft
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Reading through several WW1 newspaper archives, every now & then there are reports of nurses being awarded Military Medals whilst tending to wounded soldiers on or near the battlefields. Is there an approximate total of how many of these brave ladies were honoured in this way?

Many thanks.

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Nurses being awarded Military Medals whilst tending to wounded soldiers on or near the battlefields. Is there an approximate total of how many of these brave ladies were so honoured

Approximately 128 MMs were awarded to women,the majority of which would have been to Nurses{interestingly there was no rank distinction,the MM being granted to Nurses of varying "Rank"}

An OMRS Article of the 1980s gives {If memory serves.........} a complete Roll of these awards.

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Only 8 Military Medals were awarded to Canadian Nursing Sisters. One happened to be from the area of Quebec I've been researching. Her citation can be seen here.

marc

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91 MMs were awarded to nurses according to my figures. It was the only bravery award open to women, since none had official status as officers. This was not resented, however. As the Matron-in-Chief in France wrote in her final report: 'The Nursing Service, as a whole, have considered it a great honour to be given a medal which is awarded solely for bravery in the field.'

Charles M

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I'm only 25% of the way through indexing the MMs in the Gazette but here's (some of) the MMs awarded to Nurses up to 1917:

4-9-1916

The Lady Dorothie Mary Evelyn Feilding (Monro Motor Ambulance).

Matron Miss Mabel Mary Tunley, R.R.C., Q.A.I.M.N.S.

Sister Miss Beatrice Alice Allsop, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R.).

Sister Miss Norah Easeby, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R.).

Staff Nurse Miss Ethel Hutchinson,

Staff Nurse Miss Jean Strachan Whyte, T.F., N.S.

6-1-1917

Staff Nurse Catherine M. Carruthers, T.F., Nursing Service.

22-1-1917

Sister Kate Mahony, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Res.).

Sister Ethel Kate Thompson, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Res.).

Sister Mabel Louise Evans, T.F. Nursing Service.

11-5-1917

Staff Nurse Miss Daisy Ellen Dobbs, Nursing Service.

28-5-1917

Staff Nurse A. R. Colhoun, Queen Alexandra's Imp. Mil. Nursing Serv. Res.

Staff Nurse E. Garrett, Queen Alexandra's Imp. Mil. Nursing Serv. Res.

18-7-1917

Sister L. E. James, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Nursing Service.

Actg. Sister E. Maude, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Res).

16-8-1917

Sister Miss Mary Agnes Crawford Blair, Queen Alexandra's Imp. Mil. Nursing Service (Res.), attd. R.A.M.C.

Staff Nurse Miss Christina McLean, Queen Alexandra's Imp. Mil. Nursing Service

(Res.), attd. R.A.M.C.

Staff Nurse Miss Helen Elizabeth Panton, T.F. Nursing Service.

17-9-1917

Nursing Sister Miss Linda Bowles, Q.A.I.M. N.S. (Res.).

Staff Nurse Miss Louisa Mary Gilbert, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (Res.).

Nursing Sister Miss Cissy Spence, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (Res.).

28-9-1917

AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE.

Nursing-Sister Dorothy Gwendoline Cawood,Aust. A.N.S.

Nursing-Sister Clare Deacon, Aust. A.N.S.

Staff Nurse Mary Jane Denser, Aust. A.N.S.

Nursing-Sister Alice Ross-King, Aust. A.N.S

17-10-1917

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal to the undermentioned ladies for conspicuous gallantry displayed in the performance of their duties on the occasion of hostile air raids on Casualty Clearing Stations in the Field: —

Acting Sister Ellen Byrne, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R.).

Staff Nurse Elizabeth Jane Eckett, T.F. Nursing Service.

Sister Winuieford Muriel Hawkins, T.F. Nursing Service.

Sister Alicia Mary Kelly, Aust. Army Nursing Service.

Sister Rachel Pratt, Aust. A.M. Corps.

Acting Sister Catherine Murray Roy Q.A.I.M.N.S.

Sister Minnie Wood, Q.A.I.M.N.S.

26-11-1917

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal to the undermentioned Lady: —

Sister, Julia Ashbourne Herbert, T.F. Nursing Service.

For conspicuous devotion to duty when, after being wounded in the head by an

aerial bomb, she came on duty in the operating theatre, and continued to work there the whole night and all the next day.

18-12-1917

His Majesty the KING has been pleased to confer the Military Medal for bravery in the Field on the undermentioned Ladies of the Nursing Service for bravery and conspicuous devotion in tbe performance of their duties whilst exposed to enemy shell fire or bombs dropped by enemy aircraft: —

Miss Elizabeth Mountford Humphries,. Matron, T.F.N.S.

Miss Gladys Victoria King, Queen Alexandra. Hpl. (V.A.D.).

Miss Helena Kate Reptoh, Queen Alexandra Hpl., R.R.C.S.

Miss Ethel Isabella Devenish Meares, Sister, Q.A.I.M.N.S. ®.

Miss Annie Weir, Nurse, R.R.C.S. (V.A.D.).

Miss Lelia Helen Ann Thomson, Sister, T.F.N.S.

Miss Annie Alexander, Nursing Sister, Queen-Alexandra Hpl., R.R.C.S.

11-1-1918

His Majesty the KING-has been pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal to the undermentioned Ladies for coolness and gallantry displayed in the performance of their duties when a casualty clearing station was heavily shelled:—

Sister, Miss Mary Gladys Connie Foley, R.R.C.,Q.A.I.M.N.S.

Sister, Miss Mabel Jennings, A.R.R.C., T.F.N.S.

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173
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Name: CREWDSON, DOROTHEA MARY LYNETTE

Initials: D M L

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Nursing Sister

Regiment: Voluntary Aid Detachment

Secondary Regiment: British Red Cross Society

Age: 32

Date of Death: 12/03/1919

Awards: MM, ARRC

Additional information: Daughter of Henry and Margaret Croom Crewdson, of Nottingham.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: XLV. C. 13.

Cemetery: ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY

Another lady for the list

Chris

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From the London Gazette 4th June 1918:

His Majesty the KING has been pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal to the undermentioned Ladies for distinguished services in the Field as recorded:—

Sister-in-Charge Kate Maxey, T.F.N.S.

For gallantry and conspicuous devotion to duty displayed during a recent hostile bombing raid on a Casualty Clearing Station. Although severely wounded herself, she went to the aid of another Sister, who was fatally wounded, and did all she could for her. Later, although suffering severe pain, she showed an example of pluck and endurance

which was inspiring to all.

Sister Dorothy Penrose Foster, R.R.C., T.F.N.S.-

For conspicuous coolness and devotion to duty when supervising the transfer of patients from a Casualty Clearing Station to an Ambulance Train while the locality of the Casualty Clearing Station was being steadily shelled. She set a splendid example of calmness and composure.

A./Sister Mary Agatha Brown, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R.)

For bravery and devotion to duty during an hostile bombing raid when in company with the Matron who was severely wounded and a Sister who was killed. She remained with them and tended them till help arrived. Subsequently she returned to the Casualty Clearing Station and worked devotedly for many hours, under conditions of great

danger.

A./Sister Marie Daw Lutwick, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R-.) (Can.).

For bravery and devotion to duty during an hostile bombing raid when in company with the Matron who was severely wounded and-a Sister who was killed. She crossed the open bomb-swept ground alone in order

to procure help. Subsequently she returned to the Casualty Clearing Station and continued to work for many hours, under conditions of great danger.

Miss Lilian Audrey Forse, V.A.D.

For courage and devotion to duty displayed when during an hostile air raid a bomb fell on the hospital marquee of which she was in charge. Although great damage was done and many patients injured, she showed admirable coolness in the performance of her duties throughout, and carried on as if nothing had happened.

London Gazette 23-8-1918

His Majesty the KING has been pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal to the undermentioned Lady for distinguished service in the Field, as recorded: —

Staff Nurse Pearl Elizabeth Corkhill, Aust. A.N.S.

For courage and devotion on the occasion of an enemy air-raid. She continued to

attend to the wounded without any regard to her own safety, though enemy aircraft were overhead. Her example was of the greatest value in allaying the alarm of the patients.

Steve.

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I'm only 25% of the way through indexing the MMs in the Gazette....

Hey Steve,

You don't do things by half do you?! What a project, as well as helping out on the forum, working, etc. Where do you find the time? Have you given up on this eating and sleeping lark? :P

Stuart

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Sleep?! Work?!

I knew I was forgetting something...

Eating and drinking still on the menu. So to speak...

Just under 30,000 MMs entered on so far (June 1916 to July 1917). Then I've got to sort them by units... :wacko:

Steve.

P.S. Did I mention my RE numbers database?

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I could save you some effort on MMs to the MGC, AUS/CAN/NZ MGCs..

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Sister-in-Charge Kate Maxey, T.F.N.S.

For gallantry and conspicuous devotion to duty displayed during a recent hostile bombing raid on a Casualty Clearing Station. Although severely wounded herself, she went to the aid of another Sister, who was fatally wounded, and did all she could for her. Later, although suffering severe pain, she showed an example of pluck and endurance

which was inspiring to all.

Kate Maxey nearly lost her life as well that night. Her injuries were reported as:

'... she sustained multiple bomb wounds in the following regions. Right forehead, right side of neck, right forearm, right thigh upper and lower, left thigh and right foot. The lower part of the right radius was fractured. The right spinal accessory nerve was injured causing pain and limitation of movement of the scapula. The right membrana tympani was perforated.'

A report from the Officer Commanding 58 Casualty Clearing Station concluded:

'... Miss Maxey's tact, zeal for work, and influence for good are of the highest. On the night of 21.3.18 when lying wounded, she still directed nurses, orderlies and stretcher bearers and refused aid until others were seen to first. I have the greatest pleasure in giving this testimony to one of the finest Nursing Sisters I have ever met.'

Kate Maxey returned to work on 8th August 1918, and continued to serve in the Territorial Force Nursing Service until April 1931.

Sue

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And one that I don't think Steve has mentioned above ( :) )

Dorothy Ann Laughton, Territorial Force Nursing Service

On the night of 19th August 1917, the Asylum at St. Venant was hit by bombs from enemy aeroplanes. The Asylum was at the time occupied partly by civilian insanes, mostly old and helpless women, and partly by No.57 British Casualty Clearing Station. A large number of insane patients were badly wounded and some killed; the buildings were ruined; all lights went out, and the lunatics scattered in their terror in all directions within the grounds. If it had not been for the good work of the civil female attendants and the Nursing Sisters of the Casualty Clearing Station, a scene of absolute chaos would have arisen. Many patients, poor helpless insane females, were buried under the ruins of the buildings and had to be dug out. All the injured were operated on and otherwise attended to in C.C.S.

The following Sisters deserve special mention for the help which they rendered: Sister D. A. Laughton, (Sister in Charge), Sister M. Pickburn and Sister M. Lambert. Miss Laughton’s conduct was specially noticeable; she was herself knocked down by the blast of a bursting bomb, and yet is was mainly by her calm but firm manner that order was restored and the treatment of the injured was begun so rapidly. For her action that night she was rewarded with the Military Medal.

Sue

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I just hadn't got there yet!

Thought you'd drop in Sue, being the expert and all that...

I'm sure you can give us the details of the exploits of most of these brave ladies.

Steve.

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I find it really extraordinary that, in the rank- and class-conscious world of 14-18, a decoration specifically for Other Ranks was awarded to nurses who were clearly 'officer equivalent'.

By contrast, awards such as MBE OBE CBE were always 'streamed' by rank AND BY EQUIVALENT RANK. Thus, a Civil Servant's gong was determined by his grade.

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By contrast, awards such as MBE OBE CBE were always 'streamed' by rank AND BY EQUIVALENT RANK.  Thus, a Civil Servant's gong was determined by his grade.

They still are, but tend to be out of whack - for 'Gulf War 1' in 1991 a branch chief in my Ministry (ranking as a senior Colonel/almost Brigadier) got an OBE when RAF Group Captains were getting CBEs.

I do not intend to enter into debates over 'safe behind a desk' !!

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I'm sure you can give us the details of the exploits of most of these brave ladies.

Unfortunately not! I actually research the services and not the individuals, although I go through a lot of nurses' files while I'm doing it. So along the way I do look at some MM winners, but I don't seek them out. And the files have been so well weeded that many of them have very little information about the awards - often none at all.

A while ago I looked at the file of Harriet Fraser [later Harriet Barry], who was awarded the Albert Medal for her actions at 36 Casualty Clearing Station in October 1918. An internet search will immediately turn up lots of information, but her file made no reference to it at all. Now the Territorial Force Nursing Service guarded the nurses service badges like the Crown Jewels - this is the nurses' equivalent of the soldiers cap badge, and if they lost their badges they had to pay 2/9d for another one! Anyway, Harriet Fraser must have lost her badge during the incident, and later wrote a very apologetic letter to the matron-in-chief:

Dear Madam

I regret to say that during a fire which took place at 36 C.C.S. B.E.F. last October my T.F.N.S. badge was burned. I should be very much obliged if you would supply me with another one

I am, Yours obediently, Harriet E. Fraser

And the reply from the War Office:

‘under the circumstances it will not be necessary for you to pay for a new T.F.N.S. badge…’

The only reference in the file!

Sue

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Julia Ashbourne (Daisy) Herbert M.M. 26/11/1917 mentioned by Steve above.

There is a file on her in King's College Archives.

Born 26th March 1881.

Trained to be a nurse at King's College Hospital

Joined TFNS in 1912.

Employed at Royal Free Hosp[ital Gray's Inn.

Joined her TFND unit at the outbreak of war - 4th Northern General Hosp. Lincoln until March 1917.

Volunteered for service in the field - No 35 gen. Hosp. Calais

Mar. 1917 - Aug. 1918 No 1 Cas. Clear. near Arras & Mons.

Mentioned in despatches 7th Nov. 1917 & awarded M.M. after being wounded in the head by an aerial bomb.

3 blue service chevrons, BWM 14-19 & Vic. Medal with Oak Leaf.

Later joined the Soc. of St. Margaret, E. Grinstead - a C. of E. religious community where she was known as Sister Julian.

Her file contains 20 letters, dance card for PPCLI soiree dansante Mons 5th Dec. 1918, and a black & white photo of Herbert in Nursing uniform.

Quite a lot of information coming from a google search on 4th Northern General Hosp. Lincoln.

Kate

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Just complete some research on a nursing sister who was awarded the MM, I do not think she has been mentioned yet.

Ethel Francis Watkins QAIMNS®

"For gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy air raid which lasted for four hours. Sister Watkins behaved with th utmost coolness. When wounded by a piece of shrapnel she made light of her injury and set a magnificent example to those who were with her". Gazette 19 October 1918

Ethel had first served overseas on the 6 October 1914 with the No5 Paris Unit of the Red Cross before transferring to the QAIMNS in April 1915.

Does anyone know how many 1914 Stars were issued to Nurses?, few of them must also have been awarded the MM.

Clive

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The Military Medal to Women.

1914-18

127 to British and Commonwealth

11 to other nationalities not published in the London Gazette

1939-45 - 6 all to WAAF

Post 1945 - 2 both to WRAC.

I published a complete listing of all the 1914-18 awards in the Journal of the Orders & Medals Research Society in 1984.

Norman

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Sleep?! Work?!

I knew I was forgetting something...

Eating and drinking still on the menu. So to speak...

Just under 30,000 MMs entered on so far (June 1916 to July 1917). Then I've got to sort them by units... :wacko:

Steve.

P.S. Did I mention my RE numbers database?

30000 so far! I cant quite find the right word to describe the devotion to such a cause! Im pulling my hair out looking for 1 DSM. Good luck for the other 70 odd thousand.Gareth

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thanks Norman, I cant find a reference to how many 1914 Stars were awarded to Women anywhere, have now located the service records for Ethel and will collect them from Kew Tuesday, looking forward to seeing what is in them

thanks once more, Clive

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Just complete some research on a nursing sister who was awarded the MM, I do not think she has been mentioned yet.

Ethel Francis Watkins QAIMNS®

"For gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy air raid which lasted for four hours. Sister Watkins behaved with th utmost coolness. When wounded by a piece of shrapnel she made light of her injury and set a magnificent example to those who were with her". Gazette 19 October 1918

Ethel had first served overseas on the 6 October 1914 with the No5 Paris Unit of the Red Cross before transferring to the QAIMNS in April 1915.

Does anyone know how many 1914 Stars were issued to Nurses?, few of them must also have been awarded the MM.

Clive

Hello Clive , what fun .....

Some figures for British awards to the QAIMNS only. (1914-18)

RRC .. 138

RRC & CLASP.. 39 The Bar came later what is the difference between the two i know not.

MM .. 8

The MM was recommended by an individual soldiers C.O, in the case of Q.A.I.M.N.S the MM had to be recommended by the Army council and approved by the King. so a very rare award to the above.

By the end of 1914 2.223 Nurse had enroled in the QAIMNS,

Blue flag flying old chum

Tom.......

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Hi Steve, ok got to ask how on earth can you sort the MM in the LG? are you doing it online. I was thinking of doing the same for the DSM theres only 4000 of these and it took me half an hour to find a hundred and got bored so went for a drink. Your either

1) very clever

2) patient

3) mad

or all 3

all I can say is good luck to get anywhere near 100 000

best wishes Gareth

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All of the above!

Except for the first one... especially if you ask my boss!

First- Search for Military Medal. Strangely enough it picks out nearly all of the issues with MMs in.

Second - Spreadsheet, muti-tabs. Copy and paste. Acrobat Reader 7.0, allows me to pick most of them out ok.

Third - The difficult bit. A combination of commands: LEN(), RIGHT(), LEFT(), CONCATENATE() allows me to split out the component parts of the entry - Number, rank, initials, surname, battalion, regiment, location.

Fourth - Sort by Regiment.

Easy, huh?

Except for the Gazette search converting Rs to either Es or Bs.

And some of the pages looking like they've got measles!

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/archiveVi...&selHonourType=

T560228 Spr. F. J. • Hatley, R.E:' (=Ke;n:tish

•'.Town):'" .':;; ! "„ •'•"- •" ' '', " ' '* *'"'*v

'B9fif29-3\6pl, T. "E. Hatib,LQnd..:R.-(S<Suthend).

•2Q45a-;Pte,;:A1'. H

*f fMeineririghani)'."

Spr... .(A../(

' ' '

R. . Hawke, .R.-E,

:5iq3^Pte..J. % Hawken, R.A.M-C. :(Pim-

45812. P£e. E,. Q. Haw.kes, Yse,o* (Bermpnd-:

Which of course is:

560228 Spr. F. J. Hatley, R.E. (Kentish Town)

590293 Cpl. T. E. Hatt, Lond. R. (Southend).

20458 Pte. A. Hawbrook, N. & Derby. R. (Metheringham)

266872 Spr. (A./Cpl.) R. Hawke, R.E. (Truro)

510220 Pte. J. Hawken, R.A.M.C. (Pimlico)

45812 Pte. E. C. Hawkes, Yeo. (Bermondsey)

This is the worst page I've seen.... Sort that one out!

And we wonder why we can't find stuff in the Gazette.

Steve.

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