Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Sister
Last Unit: New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve
Born: Not yet discovered
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Nurse
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Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Sister, New South Wales Army Nursing Service Reserve

Help us honour Nancy Newton's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Nancy Newton of New Zealand trained at the Sydney Hospital before sailing for South Africa with the nursing contingent from New South Wales. 

Sister Nancy Newton, in a letter describing the reception accorded in South Africa to the nurses from New South Wales,
writes:— '"Sterkstroom, 25th February 1900.--
At last we find ourselves settled amongst the African hills, for a time at least. We heard that Olive Schreiner and Rudyard Kipling were both at Capetown, but ave did not see those celebrities. Lord Roberts had left there only two days before we arrived. We sailed for East London at 5 o'clock next morning, and arrived in the roadstend three days after. Then the trying work of landing the horses began. They were slung over the side in a sort of ear into lighters. Only five were sent ashore the first day. The swell was tremendous, and the animals were getting knocked about. Next day there were real white-crested waves, but we did not roll so much, and the horses were all landed easily. All-the nurses but Sister Johnstone and myself left the ship in the morning. We did not land until 3.30. We had a novel experience in e method of reaching the tug alongside. 

We got into a large basket and were swung over upon the deck below with a fearful bump. In crossing the bar we shipped great waves. Passing into the Buffalo River, we were in calm waters amongst a great deal of shipping. A war ship manned her yardarms, and gave us a hearty cheer. Landing at the wharf, a gentleman took charge of us, put us into a cab, and we drove to a hotel, where the others were having lunch. From there we went to the town hall, where we had tea, and were generally 'petted' by the townsfolk of East London. After this was all over, we returned to Deal's Hotel, where we dined at the expense of the Imperial Government. Four sisters remained a the military hospital, East London. Miss Gould, Sister Johnstone, Sister Frater and I went on to Sterkstroom. It is just a hamlet, situated 40 miles from Stormberg, so that we do not even hear the guns. We had a most flattering reception at Est London. The journey to Sterkstroom was very interesting. We travelled the first part of the way by night. The seats in the carriage were adaptable to sleeping berths - two upper and two lower. We went to bed about 9 o'clock. On the way there were many little incidents which served to show that we were welcome and really wanted. At one stopping place a woman put in some lovely boxes of 'bon-bons'. Further on a little girl put a bunch of sweet pea through the window; and late in the evening a large square box, containing covers for feeders, & c., was thrown in, with many expressions of goodwill. The covers are made of mosquito net with a range of beads. They are excellent for keeping flies out of the milk &c. We were awakened about 5 in the morning for breakfast at a place called Loise River. There was a terrible hurry to get into clothes and hair smooth. An excellent breakfast had been prepared - you may not know that the Imperial people have treated us most beautifully, and that any dinner or special feast has been ordered beforehand by them. We had an hour wait, so we washed in a creek among the hills. The morning was perfect. We visited a Kaffir hut; it looked just like a haystack, only that the walls are mud. We travelled through beautiful country, and stopped for dinner at a place called Isvani, thence my post card. We dined there - an excellent dinner it was. The Queens town, such a pretty place. The ladies of the district had tea and grapes waiting at the station for us. There they were holding high holiday. It was rumored that Lady Smith had been relieved. We arrived in Sterkstroom about 6 o'clock in the evening. Before us was a picture in reality to which hitherto we had seen only amongst war scenes in the 'Graphic' and the 'Sketch' - a village or hamlet, surrounded by green hills of beautiful outline, and studded all over with white tents and peopled by soldiers. We were met by an Imperial officer and taken to the hospital, which was composed of a red brick building (school house), tow long huts of corrugated iron and five or six marquees and tents. A man received us , and told us that we should have our lodgings in various houses in the neighbourhood. Miss Gould and Sister Johnstone were carried off to an English house, Sister Frater was to go to the Dutch clergyman, and I to another Dutch household. We felt rather miserable at being separated the first night. However, on the way to our various homes, Sister Frater and myself were met by Major Harris. He asked if we had taken tea. Upon our answering the negative he asked us to return to the marquee with him. We did so, and the nurses made some tea. Poor things, I am sure they regarded us as a special design against their comfort; at the moment they were so busy. To make a long story short we came to our homes. The people were very Dutch, supposed loyal Boers, and they were very bitter against the English. After I went to bed I heard the sound of voices singing a mournful strain. It was the household at their evening devotion possibly praying for the success of the Dutch armies. I spent a fearful night. Do you remember our experience at A.....? Well, it was much worse that that. Millions of 'em, big and little, long, short and thin. I could not kill them quick enough. Next morning I told Miss Gould. Sister Frater had a like story to tell. A number of officers were in the marquee at the time. It was very amusing then. Arrangements were made, and we came to the English house. We are so comfortable. Beautifully clean beds and very good food and nice kind people. The Dutch were very kind, but they are not English. I am on night duty. I like it under present conditions. Is is all typhoid, about 60 cases. They have had a very hard time here. In six weeks there were about 18 deaths. We have been here a week today, and as yet have had only one fatal case. The cemetery (Ditch and English) is on the hill, about 10 minutes walk from here. I visited it this morning and counted a row of 18 graves the wreaths and bushes still green on them. The nurses who were here first (two of them) worked fearfully hard. You know work in a military hospital is done by orderlies, and at night I have so many to superintend. The men do 24 hours' duty. There is another sister on with me, so that it is not lonely. I am in perfect health. We get excellent food and the climate is perfect. Sterkstroom is 3000 feet above sea level. General Gatacre comes frequently down to the camp, he will be here on Sunday. The country is under martial law, so that we are bounded by a mile. We cannot go beyond the line of pickets without a passport. We are perfectly safe here, the Boers are driven beyond Molteno now. The railway line is guarded all the way from East London. We are certainly not enduring the hardships we anticipated, though we shall have to work hard, but that is to be desired.

Leader (Melbourne) Saturday 14 April 1900 page 38