Researching Australian military service: First World War, nurses
More than 2,000 Australian nurses served with the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) during the First World War, some of whom were assigned to Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve.
Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS)
Those who served in the AANS may be listed in
Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR)
Roll of Australian nurses who served abroad with QAIMNS, Official records AWM27 373/12. Lists surnames and initials, dates of embarkation for overseas and return name of troopship and country from which they returned.
Other sources for names
There have been numerous books published on Australian nurses, some of which include lists of names. Those held in the Research Centre can be found by searching the Books database using the terms “military nursing Australia”. The National Library of Australia’s Trove discovery database can also be searched for published material.
The Memorial holds the following records which contain lists of names:
- Australian Army Nursing Services seniority lists [various titles: copies available in the Memorial's Research Centre.] Lists are available for 1915, 1917 and 1918. These lists are arranged by rank, then date of appointment so it is not easy to search for a specific name. The lists provide surname, initials, military district and unit.
- List of Australian nurses in England, November 1915, Official record AWM27 373/13. Nurses are listed by hospital, then alphabetically.
- AIF nurses who served in India, Official record AWM27 373/25. There are several lists in this file.
- Nominal roll of war nurses 1st Military District, 1914–19 (Jan 1923), Official record AWM27 373/24. The 1st Military District covered Queensland and a small area of northern NSW. This roll includes, age, address, and details of service.
Personal service records
- Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS): those which are still in existence are held in the National Archives of Australia. For more information, see the National Archives of Australia guide Army - World War 1: 1914—1918.
- Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR): held in the National Archives, London. See their leaflet Looking for records of a British Army nurse.
Those who died while serving
The Roll of Honour records the names of service men and women who died during or as a result of service with Australian military forces. The Roll of Honour introduction provides detailed information about Roll of Honour eligibility.
The Commemorative Roll commemorates Australians who died during or as a result of wars or warlike operations in which Australians have been on active service but who were not eligible for inclusion on the Roll of Honour. The Commemorative Roll introduction provides detailed information about Commemorative Roll eligibility.
Where they served
To locate where an individual served during the war, you first need to examine the service records to find out the unit your individual was serving with and the date of service. You can then look for unit diaries to find out where the unit was serving. For more advice please refer to our information sheet Researching the history of a unit.
Medals and awards
Decorations, AANS [Australian Army Nursing Service] (June 1919 – March 1920), Official record AWM18 9954/52/41. This file lists those who qualified for the 1914–15 Star (service medal).
The Memorial’s Honours and Awards (Gazetted) database includes the names of AANS nurses who were awarded the Military Medal and the Royal Red Cross. Other useful sources include:
- Neil C. Smith, The Australian Army Nursing Service: a short history with World War One nominal roll and award citations (Gardenvale, Vic: Mostly Unsung Military History Research and Publications,1996).
- Nursing Services, Australian honours and awards RRC [Members of the Royal Red Cross] and ARRC [Associate Members of the Royal Red Cross], Official record AWM127 368/1. This resource covers the period 1915–70 and provides full name, title, and the date of the award.
Official records: those held by the Research Centre can be found by searching the National Archives of Australia RecordSearch database.
Series AWM41 includes 129 personal accounts from First World War nurses provided during research for the official histories. These accounts cover topics such as the trip overseas, where the nurses worked, their working and living conditions, and the types of cases they dealt with. Search for these on RecordSearch using either the nurse’s name or the phrase “nurses narratives”.
Private records: the Research Centre holds many personal papers of nurses from the First World War. These can be found by searching the Memorial’s Collection search. Some nurses’ records have been digitised as part of the Memorial’s Anzac Connections project and can be viewed online.