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Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps

The history of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps which became the QMAAC and served in frontline hospitals in France during the First World War with members war graves pictures

The Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps was formed on 9 April 1918 with Her Majesty as Commander-in-Chief of the Corps. It was formerly named the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps which was formed in 1917 as a result of Lieutenant General H M Lawson's report of 16 January 1917. This recommended that the army employ women in France and at home to free up more men, doing non combative work, for frontline duties. Their Chief Controller was Mrs Chalmers Watson and recruiting began in March 1917.

queen marys army auxiliary corps

During the Great War years over 57,000 women served, including the 10,000 women employed at Royal Flying Corps air stations and transferred to the Women's Royal Air Force when they formed in April 1918. They were first sent to the front line on 31 March 1917. This was fourteen cooks and waitresses to the battlefields of France where they cooked in hospitals and camps. Their most senior officer was Helen Gwynne-Vaughan and Florence Leach was the controller of the cooks. As the First World War progressed they served in other countries like Belgium, Greece and Italy.

No rank was held, though they were known as officials (controllers and administrators) and members (workers) and divided into four sections of cookery, mechanical, clerical and miscellaneous and later included an auxiliary corps of the Royal Army Medical Corps to administer to their own personnel. Roles of the WAAC and QMAAC included telephonists, mechanics.

Their uniform was the khaki coloured uniforms of male soldiers. They wore a small cap, jacket and skirt, which was no more than twelve inches from the ground.

Five members of the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps were awarded the Military Medal during the Great War. Honours and Awards to Women: The Military Medal has details of these along with why they were awarded the MM.

Demobilisation began upon Armistice in November 1918 and the QMAAC was no longer formally in existence on the 1 May 1920 although a small unit was attached to the Graves Registrations Commission at St Pol and was disbanded on 27 September 1921.

A German air raid during World War Two saw much of their records lost, though the National Archives have now added those that did survive online. See our Service and Genealogy Records page for further details.

Ivy Lillian Campany was the last WAAC veteran. She died in 2008.

Their collection of historical photos and diaries were held in the Women's Royal Army Corps Museum in Guildford until this closed. They can now be found at the National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HT.

Below are photographs and information of their war graves. We think that 8 officials and 75 members died in service during WWI.

Worker Doris Quane

Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps History War Grave

Worker Quane was attached to the Reserve Battalion Cheshire Regiment. Her grave is located at St Margarets Churchyard, Bodelwyddan. The headstone reads:

10515 Worker D. Quane Q.M.Army Aux. Corps 19th April 1918.

More War Graves of Nurses.

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The Drummer Boy The Drummer Boy continues the adventures of QARANC nurse, Scott Grey, who has the special gift of seeing military ghosts. In this novel he is haunted by the ghost of a Gordon Highlander Drummer Boy from the Battle of Waterloo. It is based on the legends of the Tidworth Military Hospital Drummer Boy.

Chapters take place in modern day Aberdeen, at the Noose & Monkey bar and restaurant as well as His Majesty’s Theatre and Garthdee. Other scenes take place at Tidworth and during the Napoleonic War where I describe battlefield medical care of this era.

Read the first three chapters for free on most devices.

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If you would like to contribute any info or photographs then please contact me.

Forces War Records

Forces War Records are a genealogy site where you can find military records of over 6 million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments, Bases and Ships. This link includes a free search and a special discount of 40% off membership offer for visitors who use the discount code AF40 if they decide to become a member.
Search Now. A unique feature is their WW1 Soldiers Medical Records section.

If you would like to contribute to this page, suggest changes or inclusions to this website or would like to send me a photograph then please e-mail me.

Official QARANC webpage.

QA Association website.

In The Company of Nurses Book.


The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital Novel - a Book by CG Buswell

The Drummer Boy Novel

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