Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR)

About This Unit


The British military nursing service known as Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) was formed in 1902, and a small ‘Reserve’ service to augment the ‘Regular’ QAIMNS was established in 1908.  The grey uniform of the ‘Regular’ nurses was topped with a scarlet cape on which their service badge was worn.  To distinguish the ‘Reserve’ from the ‘Regulars’, a grey cape with scarlet trim was introduced, and their service badge contained a large ‘R’ at its centre.

With the outbreak of the Great War, fully trained nurses in Britain flocked to join Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR), and it’s estimated that over 10,000 were enrolled between 1914 and the armistice.  Upon acceptance into the service the nurses didn’t sign on for the duration of the war, but instead were engaged on yearly contracts, or until their services were no longer required.

Australians in the QAIMNSR

In the early days of the war, there were far more Australian nurses wishing to serve overseas than vacancies existed in the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS).  Some, unprepared to wait, paid their own way to England to join the various services including the QAIMNSR, while those who were already overseas did the same.

During 1915 there was also a group of 130 nurses sent by the Commonwealth Government, following a request from the British War Office to supply nurses for the QAIMNSR.  These nurses were sent from Australia in four contingents, two contingents were sent in April 1915 on the RMS Malwa and the RMS Orontes, followed by a third on the RMS Mooltan in May, and the fourth and final quota was sent in December 1915 on the HS Karoola.

By wars end over 260 Australian nurses had served overseas in the QAIMNSR.

Courtesy of Frev Ford