Our final health article from Ford Park Cemetery looks at Sister Hilda Jones, who served in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, or QAs. Find out more about the Cemetery later in the festival!
Born 20th February 1886 in New Southgate, Middlesex, the daughter of Ambrose, a gold jeweller and Louise, both born in Holloway, London.
Hilda was educated at High Barnet Grammar School and trained at Kensington Infirmary, London from 1910 to 1913.
Her first appointment with Queen Alexandra’s at the beginning of WW1 was as a Staff Nurse.
Information from her medal card shows that she served in Malta for part of the war. She ended the war as Sister in Charge at Durnford Military Hospital, which was in the Royal Marine Barracks in Durnford St.
Sister Jones died 28th October 1918 at the Military Hospital, Devonport (now DHS for Boys), aged 32 years. The cause of death was Spanish Flu.
So she spent the whole of the war nursing the sick and wounded, but died just 2 weeks before the end of the war. 432 people died in Plymouth in October and November 1918 of the Spanish Flu.
The War Office officially formed the QAIMNS on the 27th March 1902 under a Royal warrant to replace the Army Nursing Service. Queen Alexandra was asked to become the president.
In 1914 there were strict rules; personnel had to be single, aged over 25 and of high social status. These restrictions had to be removed when there were so many casualties during World War 1.
QAs tended to the wounded in field hospitals, aboard ambulance trains, hospital ships and in casualty clearing stations. They had to sign an agreement to serve at home or abroad as a nurse to His Majesty’s Forces.
There were over 100,000 nurses in active service.