Remuera Women Who Served in World War One

NZ Stationary Hospital and Pop Inn. Wisques, France. 1918.

Remuera Women Who Served in World War One

First sisters to leave NZ with AANS.

Remuera Women Who Served in World War One

NZ Nurses aboard RMS Athenic. Dec 1916.

Nurses with a piper on Mudros.

Sister Kate Wright, 2nd from left back row. First NZANS nurses leave New Zealand on SS Rotorua April 1915, (Ministry for Culture & Heritage, updated 20-Oct-2015)

NZ Nurses aboard RMS Athenic Dec 1916. E E Beattie. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 7-A15887

Sister Elsie Greig Queenslanders on No.3AGH Mudros

Catherine Amelia Williams in front and soldiers

MaxfieldB.GroupOfMatronAndNurses on HS Maheno 4thCommission.30Oct1917.AWMM.Mildred Jackson

MacLennan Isobel PAColl-7080-2

Jessie Law

Hilda and brother Montague Steele in Egypt in 1915. Barbara Gallagher Collection.

Hilda Steele and Elsie Cooke in their Australian Army Nursing Service uniform. S McNabb Collection

NZ Hospital matrons Cora Anderson 3rd from left AWWM413114


DeCourcyGraceNeeRussellin graduation gownphotographed in Brussels in 1898. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries1050-2.

WAAC Dinneen poster Imperial War Museum, London

Portrait of Gladys Sandford. Gladys Sandford papers, ca. 1891-1925. State Library of New South Wales collection of World War I papers.

This year’s 2021 RSA Poppy Day Appeal is themed ‘Service and Sacrifice’ and saluting women and the military. The campaign specifically highlights and acknowledges the service of women, who have played a large and often unsung role in the military, including acts of heroism and peacekeeping in overseas territories and conflicts.

Remuera women played significant roles overseas in WW1. Sister Elsie Greig (awarded the Royal Red Cross), Staff Nurse/ Masseuse Catherine Williams, Sister Bessie Maxfield and Nurse Isobel MacLennan who were Mentioned in Despatches, and Nurse Jessie Law. Hilda Steele and Elsie Cooke (Associate Royal Red Cross), both of Victoria Avenue, were two of the first twelve nurses selected to become part of the Australian Army Nursing Service.


Matron Cora Beattie Anderson (Royal Red Cross) & Kate Wright (ARRC) were one of the first selected for the contingent of 50 N Z nurses to be sent for service under the direction of the British War Office. Cora became Matron of most of the major New Zealand hospitals in England. In December 1916, she was made Matron of the No. 3 New Zealand General Hospital No.3 at Codford on the Salisbury Plains, England and then in April 1917 Matron of the Hornchurch Convalescent Hospital, known as Grey Towers, in Essex near London.


Dr Grace De Courcy (nee Russell) had graduated in 1898 in England as one of New Zealand’s first women doctors and worked in Egypt during WW1 in hospitals treating men from Gallipoli and refugees.


The New Zealand wounded and sick arriving in England were taken to the No. 1 New Zealand General Hospital at Brockenhurst and the No. 2 New Zealand General Hospital, Walton-on-Thames. As the men recovered, they went to Hornchurch to convalesce and then to Codford to be ‘rendered fit again for service’. Many, of course, never fought again and were sent home to New Zealand on the hospital ships. Although armistice was declared on 11 November 1918, nursing continued as there was an outbreak of influenza. The nurses were deeply distressed as men died of influenza after surviving years in the trenches. Many nurses went on to have distinguished nursing carers in New Zealand.


Sister Kate Evelyn Wright, Assoc. Royal Red Cross (1875-1953)

Kate Wright was one of the first party of New Zealand army nurses who had left New Zealand in 1915 on the ship ‘Rotorua’.


See WW1 Kate Evelyn Wright (22/11) »

Matron Emily Edwina (Beattie) Ross (1877-1971)

Emily began service with the NZ Army Nursing Service (NZANS) as a Staff Nurse, with the 20th Reinforcements, NZ Expeditionary Force. She was later promoted to a Matron.


See WW1 Matron Emily Edwina (Beattie) Ross (22/401) »

Sister Elsie Stewart Greig, Royal Red Cross (1886-1966)

Elsie enlisted for service in WW1 on 26 April 1915 aged 29 years. She embarked from Sydney on the RMS Mooltan in May 1915, deployed to Mudros, on the Greek island of Lemnos, where she would nurse the sick and injured troops fighting in the Gallipoli campaign.


See WW1 Sister Elsie Stewart Greig RRC »

Catherine Amelia Williams (1885-1960)

Catherine was posted as a Staff Nurse/Masseuse on the Marama, HM Hospital Ship No. 2, 6th Voyage from NZ, departing from Wellington on 1 June 1918, returning on 27 September 1918 and again on the 7th Voyage, departing Wellington on 19 October 1918 and returning on 27 January 1919.


See WW1 Catherine Amelia Williams »

Sister Bessie Maxfield (1887-1974)

Bessie was made a sister and sailed on the 4th commission, 6th voyage, of the NZHS Maheno in October 1917, travelling to England and back twice.


Nurse Isobel Maclennan (1890-1970)

Also on the Tahiti with Bessie Maxfield was Staff Nurse Isobel MacLennan from Cluanie, 48 Victoria Avenue, Remuera.


See WW1 Sister Bessie Maxfield (22/421) and Staff Nurse Isobel MacLennan (22/449) – Mentioned in Despatches »

Jessie Rachel Law (1891-1983)

Jessie enlisted in the NZ Army Nursing Service Corps, NZEF, 41st Reinforcements, Service Number 22/544, leaving Wellington on 27 July 1918 on the Ulimaroa with Capt. A.W. Scott, travelling via Cape of Good Hope, and arriving in London on 4 October 1918.


See WW1 Jessie Rachel Law »

Hilda Mary Steele

Hilda Steele, a nurse in World War One, was included as the only Kiwi nurse in an Australian television programme, ANZAC Girls, in 2014.


See WW1 Hilda Mary Steele »

Sister Elsie Mary Emily Cooke, Royal Red Cross (1885-1970)

Elsie was chosen as a qualified Auckland nurse, along with Hilda Steele, as part of the “Chosen Twelve” and embarked aboard the HMATS Kyarra on 13 April 1915 headed for Egypt.


See WW1 Sister Elsie Mary Emily Cooke ARRC 22/53 »

Cora Beattie Anderson, Royal Red Cross (1881-1962)

After war broke out in August 1914, Cora was one of the first selected for the contingent of 50 nurses to be sent for service under the direction of the British War Office. She joined the NZ Army Nursing Service and was age 34 when she set sail on the steamer Rotorua on 8th April 1915 for London.


See WW1 Matron Cora Beattie Anderson »

Dr Grace De Courcy (1874-1967)

Grace de Courcy of Remuera was amongst the first New Zealand women to qualify as a doctor. During World War I she was involved with the care of soldiers returning from Gallipoli and then with the Armenian refugees, for which she was awarded the Order of the Nile and a certificate from the British Red Cross.


See Dr Grace de Courcy LRCP LRCS Edinburgh, MD (with Distinction) Brussels »

Charlotte Kate Dalton Dinneen (c.1881-1968)

Charlotte took up work for the YMCA canteens at Edinburgh and was later appointed manager to the YMCA, being the second woman in Great Britain to be in this position.


See WW1 Charlotte Dinneen YMCA and YWCA »

Gladys Coates (Henning, Sandford) M.B.E. (1891-1971)

Gladys was the first woman in New Zealand to work as a car sales representative and to attain her pilot’s licence.


See WW1 Gladys Sandford ( Henning, nee Coates) MBE (87100) »

First sisters to leave NZ with AANS. AWMM PH-ALB-398-p5-1.