Navy nurses at work in the operating theatre, Royal Naval Hospital, Windmill Road, Chatham, Medway

Navy nurses at work in the operating theatre, Royal Naval Hospital, Windmill Road, Chatham, Medway
Photograph taken 4 March 1941 © Source: Historic England Archive ref: med01_01_1644

A view of staff working in an operating theatre at the Royal Naval Hospital. A Naval Nursing Service was introduced in 1884, after a decision in 1883 that improvements were needed in Naval medical and nursing care. The service was renamed Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS) in 1902 in honour of Alexandra of Denmark, the then President of the Nursing Staff. The Royal Naval Hospital was opened in 1905 as a replacement for the Melville Hospital, which did not have the capacity to provide treatment for the large numbers of Naval personnel moving into Chatham. In World War One and World War Two significant numbers of volunteer nurses joined QARNNS from the British Red Cross and civilian hospitals, with some being deployed abroad.

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