AANS Uniform & Service Requirements

WW1 - Australian Army Nursing Service                         

Uniform & Service requirements

The Australian Army Nursing Service, which was actually a reserve, was established on 1 July 1903.

The Service was staffed by volunteer civilian nurses who would be available for duty during times of national emergency. Members of the Service served in both the World Wars, staffing medical facilities in Australia and overseas.

The pledge made by AANS nurses.

I pledge myself loyally to serve my King and Countryand to maintain the honour and efficiency of the Australian Army Nursing Service.I will do all in my power to alleviate the suffering of the sick and wounded, sparing no effort to bring them comfort of body and peace of mind. I will work in unity and comradeship with my fellow nurses. I will be ready to give assistance to those in need of my help, and will abstain from any action which may bring sorrow and suffering to others. At all times I will endeavour to uphold the highest traditions of Womanhood and of the Profession of which I am Part.


Syllabus of Qualifications necessary to become Members

of the Australian Army Nursing Service

Qualifications of candidates. 198. A candidate for enrolment as a Sister must be between twenty-one and forty years of age, single, or a widow, and have not less than three years' training and service in Medical and Surgical nursing in a duly recognized civil General Hospital. She must be of British parentage or a naturalized British subject. The candidate will be required to fill in the declaration Form (C.M. Form 1). II.), which will be supplied to candidate by the District P.M.O., and to produce the following documents:-

(a) Certificate of registration of birth, or, if this be not obtainable, a declaration made before a magistrate giving the date of her birth.

(b) Certificate of training (in the original).

(c) A recommendation from the Matron of the civil hospital at which she was trained.

(d) A certificate from a duly qualified and registered medical practitioner that she is in good health and physically fit for duty in the Australian Army Nursing Service.

Age of retirement. 200. Members of the Australian Army Nursing Service will be retired on reaching the age of fifty five years, but in special cases the age for retirement may be extended for a period not exceeding two years.
‘Efficient’ and ‘non efficient’ 201. Members will be classified as ‘efficient’ or ‘non efficient,’ to be reckoned from lst July each year until 30th June following.
RequirementsEfficiency. 202. In order to be classified as efficient, each member will be required to

(1). Qualify in first aid.

(2.) Attend annually three out of the four lectures on Organization of Military Hospital, Hygiene, and Military Surgery.

Certificates. 203. Certificates of efficiency will be issued by the District P.M.O.
Discharge. 204. District Principal Medical Officers are required to bring forward for discharge such Sisters as they may consider to be medically or otherwise unfit for service.
Pay and allowance 205. Rates of pay and allowance for members of the Australian Army Nursing Service, when called up for duty, will be as laid down in Financial and Allowance Regulations.
Uniforms. 206. Uniform, in accordance with Standing Orders for Dress and Clothing (Citizen Forces), will be worn upon all military duty, and for which a capitation allowance of £1 per annum may be granted to each ‘efficient’ during the financial year in which payment is made, subject to provision being made by Parliament.
I.iabilities for service. 207. The Australian Army Nursing Service, or any portion thereof, may be called up for duty in case of emergency, and shall thereupon become subject to the like conditions as those prescribed for the Australian Military Forces, and remain subject to those conditions so long as they continue on active military service.
Supernumerary list. 208. Members of the Australian Army Nursing Service who are unable to comply with the requirements for ‘efficiency’ through residence in the country, but who have previously complied with the Standing Orders, may, if they so wish, be placed on a supernumerary list as supernumerary to the Establishment. Vacancies so caused to be filled up by Nurses residing in the Metropolitan Area.

The following Orders are issued for the Australian Army Nursing Service, First Military District, in extension of Standing Orders for the Australian Army Medical Service, 1914:

Adrnission. (l.) Candidates for admission will be medically examined by the P.M.O. or a medical officer duly appointed by him. No standard of height or weight is required, but applicants must be of sound health and capable of doing hard work and undergoing fatigue.
Duly recognised hospital. (2.) A duly recognized civil General Hospital will be taken to mean a hospital of eighty or more beds, in which lectures are systematically given to the Nurses.
Change of address and position. (5.) Every Sister shall notify the Principal Matron of any permanent change of address position.
Leave. (6.) No Sister of the Active or Supernumerary List shall leave the District without obtaining leave.


Acting P.M.O., lst M.D.


Conditions for enlistment AANS 1914.

Source: Our War Nurses; The History of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps 1902 – 1988 by Rupert Goodman ISBN 0 86439 040 8 - The Foundation Years Prior to 1914, p15

AANS Uniforms Information 
PDF Booklets for Re-actors Living Historians 

Patterns for the uniform can be obtained from The Tailor's Apprentice
Their Website     Their Facebook Page 

AANS Sleeve Badge can be brought from Lukus Productions
Their Website   ( It the last one at the bottom of the page )

1912 Australian Standing orders for dress. The AANS starts on page 9      Link to PDF

Uniform Details:

The Australian Military nurses had red capes (like the Regular British nurses in 1914 -1915).
As they didn't have Reserve and Regulars, there was no difference 
Nurses prior to boarding HMAT Orsova (A67). Identified are (left to right): Sister Mary Florence Kitson; Staff Nurse Victoria Dorothy Christenson; unidentified; possibly Staff Nurse Annie McHardy; unidentified.
Sister Kitson served with the Hospital Transport Corps while Staff Nurses Christenson and McHardy served with the Convalescent Depot, Harefield Park, London.

Arrival of first detachment of Sisters on Lemnos Island. They marched to the hospital headed by a piper. [AW Savage, photo album, PXE 698, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales]                                         The 3rd Australian General Hospital 7th Aug 1915     - wearing the 1914 outdoor dress

P04233.001The 1914 Outdoor Dress
An ankle length grey serge dress with a long sleeved, loose fitting blouson bodice, a six gore skirt ( its more likely to be a 5 gore skirt) and a self fabric belt. ( noted that there are 3 horizontal tucks at mid cafl level on the skirt)
The bodice had a yoke at the back but not at the front.
This was fastened with 5 buttons (in front) from the neck to the waist and the belt had two buttons.
The stand collar and cuffs were edged with narrow, linen liners.
On the right sleeve, just above the elbow there was a raised embroidered AANS Badge.
AWM P04233.001 - Studio group portrait of Australian Army Nurses, identified: left to right, seated: Sister (Sr) Bertha Mary Williams; Sr Eunice Muriel Harriett Paten; standing: Sr Constance Mabel Keys; Sr Julia May Hore. All of these four nurses sailed on HMAT Omrah from Brisbane on 24 September 1914 as part of 5 Company Australian Service Corps (ASC) and all returned to Australia.
Brisbane, Queensland. 1914

A silver version of the Australian “Rising Sun” Collar badge was worn at the throat of the dress.
The buttons were the raised Australia map buttons in silver. These were quickly changed to the same oxidized copper buttons worn by AIF/Australian Military Forces Officers. (Silver or copper buttons are correct for any AANS uniform, however all the buttons on a uniform need to match.) Many nurses tried to keep their silver buttons throughout the war

The Outdoor Dress was complimented by a grey serge cloak. This is what we would call an overcoat
today. It was loose fitting, beltless and had long sleeves. This was similar to the motorists dust coat
of the period.
Photo -
Twelve nurses from Victoria from the hospital ship HMAT Kanowna (A61).
wearing both the Cloak overcoat and Cape

The last major uniform article was a grey serge hip-length cape with a broad scarlet stand and fall collar This was worn over the cloak or over the dress if the cloak was not worn. The cape and cloak remained in service throughout the war.
The 1914 headwear was a close fitting bonnet with a brown silk velvet turn-back brim, a flat grey silk bow behind the brim and a grey silk veil extending from the bow to the small of the back. It was tied under the chin with grey silk ribbons.  This hat lasted only a few months and proved completely impractical in Egypt and the Sisters unofficially replaced the bonnet with straw hats, grey veils and/or Woolsey Helmets. Not only was the bonnet impractical but the nurses considered it old fashioned and unstylish and worked as hard as they could to “lose” it.
The nurses wore black stockings, black boots and grey gloves.
Studio portrait of Staff Nurse (SN) Elsie Rose Grant, Australian Army Nursing Service.
SN Grant enlisted on 12 August 1915 and returned to Australia on 11 March 1918. She served in Egypt, France and England with the Australian Army Nursing Service
The nurses had no military rank in 1914 and nursing proficiency was indicated by dark chocolate colored stripes on the cuff of the dress.
  • A Staff Nurse had a plain grey cuff,
  • a Sister two brown stripes
  • and a Matron had a solid brown cuff.
Matron Grace Wilson, No 3 Australian General Hospital at Lemnos
Photo c.1915, from an album at the Portianou folkloric museum, Lemnos
The 1914 Outdoor Dress could be converted into a mess dress by wearing a scarlet shoulder cape, which was also known as a Tippet, fastened with a silver “Rising Sun” badge over the dress, and a white silk raised cap and veil.

The Tippet was not suppost to be a Scarlet one - which had been reserved only for the use by the QAIMNS nurses and was to cause quiet a storm about the use of them by AANS.
At No. 4 British General Hospital at Etaples, in 1916, certain Australian Staff Nurses (attached for duty) shared in labours that they recall as among the heaviest in their experience. Time off duty was scanty; but Australian soldiers at Etaples let no chance pass of seeing these women from Home-and knew them at sight by their Red Capes. On a certain dark autumn evening, the British Matron of this great hospital, in company with an Australian Staff Nurse both in red capes passing to the nurses’ quarters was hailed by one as a compatiot. The Australian soldier and the Staff Nurse were saved embarrassment by the Matron’s prompt reply,
“I’m not an Australian nurse, I am British, but we wear their uniform.”

Photographs seen also indicate that the cotton working dress, with scarlet cape and without the white apron was used as an outdoor dress in hot climates.


Working Dress for the entire war

The Working Dress remained the same for the entire war, except for a slight shortening of the skirt to keep in line with the current fashion.

This was a grey zephyr cotton dress similar in pattern to the 1914 Outdoor Dress, with a detachable starched white collar (photos show both stand and stand-and-fall collars,) and cuffs.

 A Red Cross arm band was sometimes worn on the left arm.
White cotton armband with a red felt Geneva cross sewn in the centre. The armband is curved - wider at the centre and tapering to either end, forming straps. The band is fastened by a two-clawed metal buckle sewn into one end of the armband. 'A. [broad arrow symbol] S' is stamped on the back of the armband.
There was a starched white apron with a bib front and cross over straps at the back (this could also be unstarched grey zephyr for extremely dirty work). The apron sometimes had a cotton embroidered Red Cross center top.


AWM P07989.003 - Studio portrait of Lalah Mary Burke in her AIF nurse's uniform. A nurse at the Royal Childrens' Hospital in Melbourne prior to enlistment in the Australian Army Nursing Service aged 27 in May 1915
The nurse wore a scarlet cape fastened with a silver “Rising Sun” badge. The cape also had shoulder straps with “AUSTRALIA” shoulder titles. These could be the curved oxidized copper titles or the more rare straight silver titles.


In the working environment, the nurse wore a one yard square white organza veil,
black stockings and black boots or shoes.
At Sea. 1916. Three staff nurses of the Australian Army Nursing Service on board the transport ship Afric (A19) en route from Australia to England.

The nurses are, from the left, Williams, R.C. Everard and E. Hoyle.


 P03253.004 The 1916 Outdoor Dress

In 1916 the AANS Outdoor Dress was changed and army officer’s rank was given to all nurses. The outdoor uniform itself changed to a grey serge suit consisting of a Norfolk jacket and a 5 gore skirt.


Oxidized rank insignia and “AUSTRALIA” titles were worn on the shoulder straps of the jacket.

Army unit color patches were worn on the upper sleeves.


In working dress rank insignia was worn on shoulder straps of the red cape. Nurses who served in the forward hospitals on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign were awarded the Anzac “A” like other AIF veterans of the Dardanelles


On the 1916 Outdoor Jacket the shoulder straps were most commonly detachable and chocolate colored. On some photos the shoulder straps are clearly grey.

This may indicate the rank of Staff Nurse versus a Sister or Matron. More research in this area is needed.

Studio portrait of Staff Nurse Dorothy Sevilla White, Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS), wearing her Army Nursing uniform.

She served in the AANS for four years, between 1914 and 1918

P07989.004For a shirt, the nurse wore a tailored grey blouse or a grey serge dickey front with a stand collar. Matrons wore a chocolate collar on the dickey.


The headgear situation was fixed with a grey felt Panama hat with a broad chocolate band.


The nurses continued to wear black stockings, black boots or shoes and grey gloves.
AWM P07989.004 Studio portrait of Lalah Mary Burke in her nurse's uniform. A nurse at the Royal Childrens' Hospital in Melbourne prior to enlistment in the Australian Army Nursing Service aged 27 in May 1915, Burke served with the 1st Australian General Hospital (1AGH) in Alexandria, and from April 1916, in France. She was promoted to Sister in October 1918, returned to Australia in 1919 and was discharged in July of that year.

The above represents the norm, but there was considerable variation. Since the Nurses were nominally, and after 1916 in fact, officers they provided their own uniforms.
Nursing uniforms were not centrally manufactured or issued. Nurses were given a uniform allowance to equip themselves and were allowed to make their own uniforms if they chose.

So, there is a considerable variety in the uniforms as can be seen in the period photographs. Patterns used for collars, dress skirts, footwear and headgear show the greatest variety.

Nurses were often allowed considerable freedom over the wearing of uniform items to help combat local conditions as the use of hats instead of bonnets in Egypt in 1915 demonstrates.
Photographs also show nurses in Salonika wearing balaclavas, army greatcoats, puttees and boots with shortened skirts. In France, the nurses are seen in greatcoats and rubber boots.



Informal portrait of Sister Evelyn Davies dressed in wet weather clothing, carrying a lantern. AWM A05374 Lemnos Island 1915
The British Nursing Journal - 20 Oct 1917 page 253 
The rank badges to be worn by members of the Australian Army Nursing Service are clearly defined in Orders published by the Commonwealth Military Authorities as under.
Matron-in-Chief : Crown on each shoulder
Principal Matron or Matron : Three stars on each shoulder.
Sister : Two stars on each shoulder.
Staff Nurse : One. star on each, shoulder.

The members of the Service do not hold military rank, but are entitled to courtesies extended to an officer, including first-class accommodations


Continued opposition to the use of military rank in the AANS caused it to be abandoned in the 1920s, when chocolate stripes on the sleeve of the Norfolk jacket were introduced.

Rank was reintroduced in 1940, strangely echoing the WW1 situation.


Australian soldiers could wear their AIF uniform with pride after the war but AANS nurses were not permitted to do so until an amendment was made for nurses who had been members of the AANS for at least ten years. Therefore four years of continuous service in the First World War meant a nurse could not wear the AANS uniform in an Anzac Day march or any other commemorative ceremony. This injustice was keenly felt by many nurses.

( Armstrong, p. 143; Goodman, p. 117.)

Undated Order Sent By The Matron In Chief Of The AANS, A.I.F.:


At some point during the war, the AANS uniform situation must have gotten out of hand. What follows is an extract of an undated order sent by the Matron in Chief of the AANS, A.I.F.:



(1) Attention is drawn to Para.72. of Orders for Australian Imperial Force, Prescribing uniform for Members of the

Nursing Service as follows;




Grey Serge Dress (without chocolate markings)

Bonnet and Veil.

Grey Serge Cape.

Grey Cloak.

Commonwealth Brooch.

Scarlet cashmere shoulder cape.

Pair of grey gloves.

Additional. (Grey Serge coat with grey collar and shoulder straps.

(Grey Felt hat or Panama hat with grey ribbon and flare,

(or Grey helmet and flare. Black or Brown boots or shoes.

(Grey Gossamer may also be worn in Summer.

N.B1/2 Nurses who now have Khaki helmets may continue to wear them.



Grey Zephir dress.

Grey Zephir apron, or preferably white linen faced

sheeting apron.

Scarlet shoulder cape.

Black or brown boots or shoes

Collar, straight pattern, to be worn inside collar of


Pair of straight cuffs, to be worn inside dress cuff.

Cap, White, French Organdy Muslin, One Yard Square,

Hemstiched by machine.

Where necessary black cloth gaiters may be worn

Additional (Ambulance collar and cuffs may be worn outside collar

(of dress and dress cuffs respectively,

(In summer, muslin collars and cuffs (regulation pattern)

(with scarlet cotton cape may be worn.



As for Staff Nurse with following distinctions:

Chocolate markings on serge dress.

Two chocolate bands one inch wide on cuffs (see standing

Orders 40 Dress and Clothing Citizens Forces 1912)

One badge A.A.N.S., removeable, similar to that on outdoor serge dress.

Also chocolate markings on hatband, and chocolate shoulders Straps, on coat



As for Sisters with scarlet collar in addition to cloak

Coat, or cape. Pointed cuff to indoor dress,

Chocolate pointed cuff on sleeve of outdoor dress,

Matrons Badge. Chocolate hatband with flare,



As for Matrons with addition of, Blouse to be faced down the front each side of pleat, with two stripes of chocolate cloth one inch wide.

Stand up collar and pointed cuffs of similar material.

Grey serge or Alpaca dress may be worn.

Grey Bonnet with black velvet band. Plain black ribbon hatband.


(1) Uniform is to be worn on all occasions.

(2) Veils (except in summer) jewelry, fancy hatpins, and belt buckles, are not to be worn.

Canes are not to be carried.

(3) Nurses are expected to maintain a uniform and smart appearance at all times, Matrons in

Charge of Hospitals are to see that these instructions are carried out.


Signed E. A. Conyers.

Matron in Chief,

A.A.N.S, A.I.F

(AWM File AWM 27 373/52)





Extant Uniform
Ward dress

Nurses one-piece full-length white plain weave cotton ward dress with a high rounded narrow band with detachable heavily starched collar. The back of the bodice has a placketed opening secured by eight large white plastic buttons and a white metal hook and eye. The bodice is plain and is gathered into the waist. The set-in sleeves are gathered and the lower edge of the sleeves are also gathered into the straight cuffs, fastening with a white plastic button. Each cuff is also fastened with a button.  The skirt is made from six panels and has a deep 80 mm hem.

Ref: AWM http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/REL/00033.001

Heavily starched collar for nurse's ward dress 
White cotton detachable collar with rounded ends and a single stud closure designed to be worn with an Australian Army Nursing Service ward dress.
Ref: AWM
Norfolk jacket
Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) (India) nurses dark grey woollen Norfolk jacket. The jacket has an open collar and is fastened along the single-breasted front with five oxidised brass 'AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES' buttons. The shoulder straps are brown wool twill and are secured by a small AMF button. There is a second lieutenant's (staff nurse's) rank star and curved 'AUSTRALIA' shoulder title. Sewn onto both sleeve shoulders is a hand-made silk diamond shaped brown colour patch of the AANS (India). It has a narrow yellow silk ribbon sewn vertically in the centre. 'E. Rowan' is embroidered in red on a white cotton name tape that is sewn inside the back of the collar. The jacket and belt tongues are fully lined with grey cotton sateen.
Dickie front
Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) (India) nurses dark grey woollen dickie front. A white cotton lawn collar liner with a decorative drawn threadwork edge has been loosely hand-sewn onto the stand collar. The collar is fastened with three small black metal hooks and thread eyes and the inside of the collar is lined with grey silk. The Australian Army general service collar badge, which is pinned to the right side of the collar, and the three small buttons on the front opening, are all oxidised brass. There is a buttonhole in the back of the collar at the top, and a press stud is securing the two short back fabric panels. A pair of khaki cotton twill tape loops have been sewn onto the back of the collar and there is a pair of long tapes sewn to the outermost bottom corners of the front panels to secure it around the wearer's waist.
Nurses cape - Cotton Drill
Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) nurses scarlet cotton drill cape. The body of the cape is made out of one panel of fabric with a wide (approximately 75 mm) mitred hem stitched to the outside. The cape is fastened at the collar with a small brass hook and black thread eye.
Lieutenant's (Sister's) rank stars and curved 'AUSTRALIA' shoulder titles are fitted to the shoulder straps. The button and outermost rank star on the right shoulder strap are blackened silver. The innermost star on the left shoulder strap appears to have been painted black. All the remaining badges, titles and button are oxidised brass. Most of the badges have been stitched in place, with only the 'Australia' title and right brass star having a brass split pin for fastening.
An AANS embroidered cloth badge has been sewn onto the middle of the hem on the left side of the opening at the front. It is grey with white and red embroidery. The badge is a wreath with a crown at the top. In the centre is a red cross that has white rays in the quadrants between the arms of the cross, around which is a garter with 'AUSTRALIAN / ARMY NURSING SERVICE'. The stitching forming the last two words is mostly missing. This badge was normally worn on the right sleeve of the pre 1916 nurse's ward dress.
Nurses cape - Wool
Australian Army Nursing Service scarlet superfine wool ward dress cape. The body of the cape is made out of one panel of fabric with a wide (approximately 70 mm) mitred hem double-stitched to the outside. The cape is fastened at the collar with a small brass hook and eye. There are slits on the shoulder straps, suggesting two oxidised brass Sister's rank stars were originally fitted to them. A small oxidised brass Australian Military Forces button secures the shoulder straps. The rear of the cape has a small vent with a looped tab behind. An embroidered label has been hand-stitched to the inside collar with 'E. HOILE' in red thread.

Veil                                                                                                                                                   Australian Army Nursing Service silk mess dress veil. The veil has a drawn threadwork hem and there are a number of markings on the fabric

AWM: http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/REL33622

Inventory of the possessions of Sister Hilda Mary Knox

This list of Knox's final possessions – the five lists of personal effects that were returned to her father – is a stark record of the tragic news that greeted many families in Australia during World War I (1914–18). While all four children in the Knox family enlisted in the army, only two siblings survived the war.

  • The list gives an insight into the range of practical and personal items required by Australian nurses serving in World War I. These include items of underwear, such as vests and knickers, nightdresses, gloves, chiffon scarves and muslin collars. Cold-weather clothing included a woollen jacket, woollen helmets and bed socks. Equipment included a flask, a clothes brush and water bottles. The trunk also contained 48 handkerchiefs

  • Inventory of the cabin trunk of Sister Hilda Mary Knox

    14 March 1917

    ONE CABIN TRUNK (sealed)

    4 Sheets, 2 Pillow Slips, 1 Pr Slippers, Flask, Clothes Brush, Body Belt, 2 Woollen Helmets, 2 Water Bootles [sic] & Covers, 2 Hair Brushes in Bag, Collapsible cup in case (marked Amy King), Box cotg:– Surgical Instruments and Hair Combs; box cotg:– Belts & Ribbons, 2 Suits Pyjamas, Bag of Powder, 12 Books,  Small Wallet, 2 Photograph Albums, Snapshots, Photos, 2 Victorian State Saving Bank Books (7.766 & 232,198), Correspondence, 8 Prs Knickers, 5 Vests, 9 Night Dresses, 4 Pieces of Wearing Apparel,  Woollen Jacket, 2 Prs Bed Socks, 8 Prs Gloves, 6 Chiffon Scarves, 20 Muslin Collars, 48 Handkerchiefs,     3 Handbags, Mosquito Netting.

    Inventory of the canvas Bag of Sister Hilda Mary Knox

  • One Large Canvas Bag ( Sealed)
  • Eiderdown, Mattress, Sou'Wester, 2 Prs Gaiters, Dressing Gown, Cushion, Top Coat, 1 Canvas Bag ctg: 1 Rug, 2 Prs Black Boots, 1 Pr Golloshers, 7 Prs Shoes, 2 Prs Slippers, 2 Coats Hangers, 1 Flask, 1 Hot Water Bottle & Cover, Enamel Cup Saucer & Plate, Aluminium Cup, Sewing Basket & Material, 2 Grey Frocks, Tweed-Overcoat.

    Inventory of the parcle of Sister Hilda Mary Knox

  • 1 Paper Parcle ( Sealed)

    1 Identity Disc, 1 Cloth Bag, 1Ring, 2 Metal Wrist Watches and straps, 1 Traveling Cloack in case,
    1 Broach ? Badge, 3 Charms, 1 Hat Pin, 1 Railway Warrent, 2 Purces, 7 Coins.
  • Inventory of the suitcases of Sister Hilda Mary Knox
  • One Small Suit Case ( Sealed)
    6 Red Capes, 3 Towels, 2 Dressing Gowns, 2 Underskirts, Attache Case, 2 Grey Uniform Blouses,       Brunch of Keys attached.
    One Large Suit Case ( Sealed)
    15 White Aprons, 4 Combinations, 3 Prs Corsests, 10 Pieces of Wearing Apparel, Woollen Helmet,           12 Prs Stockings.
  • Inventory of the Trunk of Sister Hilda Mary Knox
    One Trunk ( Sealed)
    Quantity of Ladies Wearing Apparel, 22 Pieces of Oriental Metal Work. 6 Ebony Elephants, Writing Material, 2 Photo Frames, Quantity of Photos, 7 Ivory Elephants, Various Curios, Gold Bangle, Toilet ? Outfit, 4 Books, 4 Strings of Beads, 7 Pieces of China, Presentation Purse, Bangle, Cross, Hangbag, V.P. Camera, Miscellantous Toilet Articles, Handkerchiefs, Portonrde ?, Correspondence.
  • This inventory details the  belonging of Sister Hilda Mary Knox, a nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service, at the time of her death from suspected cerebrospinal meningitis in France in 1917. The contents were later forwarded to her father, James B Knox, in Benalla, Victoria. The list includes her nurse's surgical instruments, mosquito netting, clothing and personal items such as hairbrushes, books and photograph albums. This is an image of a page in her First Australian Imperial Force (First AIF) personnel dossier.
  • Hilda Mary Knox (1883–1917) was one of more than 2000 nurses who joined the Australian Army Nursing Service during World War I, 25 of whom died. She joined the No. 14 Australian General Hospital Corps as a trained nurse on 21 November 1914, leaving Melbourne for Egypt a fortnight later. She served most of the next two years treating Australian soldiers wounded while fighting against Turkish and German forces.

  • Knox spent much of her time nursing on hospital ships, which were fitted out to treat hundreds of wounded or ill soldiers at a time. These included the SS Kyarra, one of several large Australian coastal liners requisitioned by the federal government for use as hospital ships during World War I, and the SS Argyllshire, another ship used by the Australian government to take soldiers to Gallipoli to fight Turkish forces.

  • When Knox arrived in Egypt, Australian troops were undergoing training there for the Gallipoli campaigns, which lasted from April to December 1915. That campaign resulted in about 26,700 Australian casualties, including about 8,700 deaths. Knox served for a time at the 14th Australian General Hospital in Cairo, where the conditions were extremely poor. Hospital wards were overcrowded and nursing staff and medical supplies were very limited.

  • ref: http://vrroom.naa.gov.au/print/?ID=19502
  • Her service File View digital copy

  •  Mentions of the Unit in the British Nursing Journals

    Volume 32, 23rd April 1904 (p334)  and Volume 32, 23rd April 1904 (p335)  

    Australian Army Nursing Service Constitution & service requirements

    Volume 55, 11th September 1915 (p211)  arrival in England - mentions uniform details

    Volume 56, 29th April 1916 (p377)  cost of equipment and poem about Tippet cape

    Volume 57, 07th October 1916 (p290)

    The Australian military authorities have decided to recognise the work that women have done

    during the war in the capacity of nurses. The nurses have to face hardships as well as the men in the trenches; they, too, have left the comfort and safety of their homes, and in many cases have displayed bravery only equaled by the best of the men in the fighting ranks. The authorities have decided that nurses who have been discharged shall be permitted to wear the official discharged soldier’s badge, to prove that they were worthy followers of Florence Nightingale.




    Uniforms of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) 1914-1919

    By Guy Gormley

    Through These Lines
    Australian War Memorial