WW1 Jessie Rachel Law

Law Jessie Rachel

Jessie Rachel Law lived many years in Remuera but was born in Wellington on 15 May 1891, the second daughter and third child of George Law and Ellen Law nee Williams.

The family lived at 22 Nikau Street, Muritai (now Eastbourne) where they grew flowers for the Wellington Markets. Jessie was educated at the newly opened Muritai School in Eastbourne, and trained as a nurse at Wellington Hospital.

Jessie’s only brother George Eckford Law, a farmer at Tokirima near Ohura, enlisted in the Army in 1916 and served in France before being wounded on 20 December 1917 at Ypres. He was transferred to No 1 NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst, Hampshire on 3 January 1918 where he died the next day. Jessie, profoundly affected by her brother’s death, enlisted in the New Zealand Army Nursing Service Corps, NZEF, 41st Reinforcements, Service Number 22/544, leaving Wellington on 27 Jul 1918 on the Ulimaroa with Capt. A.W. Scott, travelling via Cape of Good Hope and arriving in London on 4 October 1918.

On 14 October she was posted to duty at 1st NZGH Brockenhurst, Hampshire. Brockenhurst Hospital had been taken over by the New Zealand authorities from the War Office in June, 1916. Although there were only a few hundreds in the hospital during the earlier months it proved its efficiency when, after the first big push, the wards were completely filled up. During 1918 there were occasions when nearly 1,600 patients were accommodated there. Armistice Day came on 11 November 1918.

Jessie carried on nursing at Brockenhurst until she was transferred on 3 February 1919 to No. 3 NZGH, Codford Hospital on the Salisbury Plains, not far from the training camps where the New Zealand Depot of 2,500 men had been stationed. This hospital originally held 330 beds but was expanded to 1000 and was closed in July 1919. Jessie returned to New Zealand in August 1919. She married Arthur Revell Thompson in 1924, living in Christchurch and Auckland, at 55 Arney Road and 14 Norana Avenue, Remuera. Jessie Thompson died in 1983.