Sunday 27 May 2012

Edith Hope, Naval Nursing Sister

I've always rather ignored Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service in favour of the Army, but earlier this month wrote about their service records which are at The National Archives.  I've now decided to index them, and although brief and scrappy at times, with none of the correspondence contained within the QAIMNS records, there are real gems to be found there. As I've previously transcribed the Royal Red Cross Register,* some of the names are familiar to me, but it's interesting to read additions in the service records which are not included in the RRC Register or London Gazette. One naval nursing sister, Edith Hope, joined in 1913, worked continuously until December 1929 when she retired from the service at the age of 49, and she received the RRC (2nd Class) in 1920 while working in the Royal Naval Sick Quarters, Shotley.  As soon as the Second World War started she decided to rejoin, and served from early 1940 until May 1946, by which time she was 66 years of age. Her ARRC was upgraded to the First Class award on 2nd June 1943, but no citation or details exist in the RRC Register - it just appears to be a general award for wartime service.  However, her naval service record is more forthcoming, stating:

To be a member of the Royal Red Cross for outstanding zeal, patience and cheerfulness and for courage and whole-hearted devotion to duty 

which is a very good addition to the other available information, and gives a much fuller picture of the woman herself.  The number of QARNNS service records is relatively small, but they add a great deal to the knowledge of military nurses of the last century. 

*Just to add a reminder that these records are now searchable on FindMyPast 

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