Admiralty Nursing records

Admiralty Nursing records

On from the nursing connection of last week, and persevering with The National Archives, here is some more exploration of the records and information you might find. I’m taking a bit of time to transcribe the records I’m accessing, with the hope of making them part of a nurse archive for genealogy.

While lockdown persists and the records are accessible online, I will outline some details you could find on your relation.

Before that, an interesting aside, we have a family story about my maternal grandmother in Ireland who continued to work as a nurse at Letterkenny Asylum after her marriage in 1916, the story goes she was ‘grassed up’ by a relation for working after she had married, and then as married women working was frowned upon she had to finish. The expectation was that if married, “…most women stayed at home to look after the children while their husband worked and brought in a weekly wage. The majority of working women were unmarried, and they were limited to roles in teaching, nursing or domestic work. For most, the expectation was that they would get married and have children…”[1]. Any other families have this type of memory passed down?

Back to the details you might find in the records in discovery[2].

ADM 104. Nursing Sisters Service Register[3] usually between about 1890 and 1929 in here will be:

The full name.

Date of birth.

Dates appointed to positions such as Nursing Sister and Head Sister.

Training Qualifications, the place they qualified with the length of time taken.

Date of appointment to specific positions:

              Noting the rank (Nursing sister or Head sister)

              Hospital (naval hospital) appointed to with date of arrival and date of discharge.

              Place (hospital) discharged to.

              Reason for discharge if appropriate often naming the nurse they were to replace.

Annual report produced in April or May noting:



              Tact in dealing with staff and patients.


              Sympathy with patients.


              General remarks including efficiency in:

                             Medical nursing

                             Surgical nursing.

                             Physical fitness.

                             Administrative capacity.

              Special notations. Such as details of promotions or demotions, transgressions, reports etc.

If appropriate a date of death also (if death in service).

Sometimes a home address with father’s name.

These records which were kept with true imperial precision were, in essence for pension and monitoring purposes, not to give the likes of me a telling insight into the person detailed and the person detailing, but they do.

An extract from the special remarks to illustrate…

Date circa 1915.

Miss B***t “Asks to be removed on account of discomfort in quarters caused by the unreasonable and ungovernable temper of Miss *******e, head sister states that in some instances latter was to blame but Miss B***t shows little tact with reserve sisters and she has no control over a very excitable temper, and it is not helpful. It would add to the efficiency of the hospital if a sister of tact and experience was appointed.”

The same year her report stated. Conduct: satisfactory, Ability: above average, Tact in dealing with staff: average, Zeal: above average, (Tact and) Sympathy with patients: above average, Temperament: Impetuous, quick tempered, very kind to patients. Medical nursing: above average, Surgical nursing: exceptional, Physical fitness: average, Administrative capacity: above average.

There is a lot of reading to be done between the lines, this however is exciting detail for any relative of this lady. Many of these nurses would have no direct descendants as they remained nursing and unmarried until at least late middle age but surely will have nieces, nephews, cousins etc.


If you need an assistance check my website out.

[1] Women in 1900. : accessed 08 April 2021

[2] The National Archives. Discovery. : accessed 07 April 2021.

[3] War Office (Great Britain). Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. ADM 104. National Archives (Great Britain), Kew, England. Collection: Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies. : accessed 07 April 2021.

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