Focus On... Women in Uniform
* Nurses in the British Army. - Sources  
Nurses in the Crimea
Nurses in the British Army

1. Introduction

2. Profile

3. Sources

4. Further Reading

Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps
Scottish Women's Hospitals
Women's Royal Naval Service
Women in WWII

Background Information

The National Archives has produced a general research guide on the subject of Army Nurses, which gives an overview of the subject of military nursing, along with a list of records held both at The National Archives and elsewhere. You may also find our in depth guide to British Army nurses' service records 1914-1918 useful.

The National Archives holds various sets of records for nurses who served in the British Army.

These include:

  • QAIMNS: First World War Service. May contain details of service, enrolment and discharge papers, and correspondence relating to the period of service. List gives forename and surname. (1902-1922) WO 399National Archives' Catalogue
  • QAIMNS: Professional qualifications and recommendations for appointment of staff nurses (1903 - 1926) WO 25/3956National Archives' Catalogue
  • Territorial Force Nursing Service (some only): may contain details of service, enrolement and discharge papers, and correspondence relating to the period of service (1914-18) WO 399National Archives' Catalogue
  • National Aid Society. Name and seniority rolls; service records (1869 - 1901) WO 25/3462National Archives' Catalogue

The catalogue reference for the service record of Mary Ann Brown is WO 399/1023National Archives' Catalogue. A search on Discovery, our catalogue using just her name did not produce any results. The series that lists the service records for QAIMNS nurses is WO 399 and it contains 15792 individual files. Even if you are able to visit Kew is too many files to order and search by hand.

The records are in alphabetical order so it is possible to make repeat searches and narrow the number range to work out where the B, then the Br, records will be.

For example: WO 399/1 is the service history of ABBOTT Ada, WO 399/2 ABBOT, Alice, 399/3 ABBOTT, Caroline etc.

If you are able to visit the National Archives you can order and view the original records.

To obtain copies of documents held at the National Archives if you are not able to visit in person you can search Discovery and then order copies of documents.

Medal Rolls

Mary Ann Brown was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross medal. The National Archives houses medal rolls that give information about awards. Army nurses were eligible for the Royal Red Cross Medal, from 1883, and bars, from 1917.

1869-1891 Royal Red Cross: award to nursing sisters of the NAS WO 25/3955National Archives' Catalogue
1883-1994 Royal Red Cross Medal roll WO 145/1Discovery, our catalogue, WO 145/2Discovery, our catalogue and WO 145/3National Archives' Catalogue
1899-1902 Queen’s South Africa Medal roll for nurses WO 100/229National Archives' Catalogue
1899-1902 King’s South Africa Medal roll for nurses WO 100/353National Archives' Catalogue
1914-1918 Campaign medals for First World War. There is a microfiche index for nurses. WO 329National Archives' Catalogue

The document WO145/1 which covers the period Brown served is very difficult to obtain as it is in high demand.

Mary Brown's Diaries. Imperial War Museum, Department of Documents. Ref: 88/7/1Mary Brown's Diaries. Imperial War Museum, Department of Documents. Ref: 88/7/1
View Mary Brown's Diary. Opens in a new window - 43kSee more

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Formed in 1907 the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) are the oldest uniformed women's organisation in the world. We are also the most decorated and the only women only uniformed group in the UK.

Search Discovery for records held by more than 2,500 archives across the country.

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