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Army Nurse Ghosts
Information about ghosts that have appeared in hospitals and army barracks
This section will list and describe the witnessed ghosts and paranormal activities in British army hospitals and barracks, either at home in the UK or worldwide.
A nurse ghost is written about in The Haunted North: Paranormal Tales from Aberdeen and the North East. It tells the tale of a former army barracks being used as flats. A girl became sick and the mother went to the nearby nursing home to ask for a nurse to visit. No one was available. When she went back to the basement flat her daughter was no better. She then heard a noise in the corridor and found a nurse standing there dressed in what was described as a World War One nursing uniform. The figure was ushered in by the mother and spoke not a word but indicated that the mother leave to rest whilst the nurse sat at the daughter's bed. The nurse sat there for several hours and left when the daughter got better. Not a word was said and later the mother went to the nurses home to thank the member of staff for coming across. No-one had been sent. The author researched the building which was known as Castlehill Barracks and the building where the nurse ghost visited had been a military hospital with the room the daughter was in being the old mortuary.
QARANC Grey Lady Ghosts
Many hospitals have a ghost and these are commonly grey lady ghosts. These ghostly apparitions appear most often at night and witnesses describe briefly seeing a ghostly image flit past. Is it a trick of the light or a phantom of the past? Who knows, but some army hospitals have had their own grey lady ghosts. I don't know if these are urban legends within the military community, perhaps because of the grey uniform of the QARANC nurse. None of the Qaranc.co.uk team has seen any ghosts in our careers, which has involved many a night shift, caring for the dying and trips to the mortuary. Mind you we have seen many a nurses' image reflected in the windows of the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital. The QEMH was covered in glass, even the corridors were made of glass. In the dim lit night it is all too easy for the mind to play tricks. Though it doesn't stop us believing in ghosts...
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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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CMH Aldershot Grey Lady
The Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot had a grey lady ghost on the upper floor. The Grey Lady ghost was said to haunt the upper floor between wards 10 and 14. Many nurses and car assistants would take the stairs and walk between wards 1 and 7 to avoid this section of corridor at night! The Grey Lady would be seen flittingly and then disappear. Sittings were always at night and were often accompanied by the smell of lavender.
The exact name of the grey lady ghost at CMH Aldershot is not known. However it is thought that the grey lady ghost was a member of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. The QA nurse, thought to be a Sister, had given a patient an accidental drug overdose. The soldier patient died as a result of her error. The nurse was so overcome with guilt that she threw herself off the upper floor walkway. In the early days of the Cambridge Military Hospital this walkway corridor was open planned.
The Grey Lady was often seen beside ill patients who would later die within a few hours of her visit. A bit like the ITV programme Afterlife in 2006 where a dead Sister would come and guide a dead patient to the next life, which included the main character Robert Bridge - was the Grey Lady performing her nursing duties in death? Did she nurse the dying and help them move on to the next life....Perhaps the writer of this episode, A Name Written In Water, had heard of the CMH Grey Lady and was inspired to write this episode.
The sightings of the grey lady ghost always seemed to coincide with a very ill or dying patient. It is thought that the grey lady came out to help comfort the patient and give help to the nursing staff. Whenever she was about the corridor would be cold - no matter how high the heating was turned up.
Now that the CMH has closed and the building is no longer used does the grey lady ghost still haunt the site? Whilst qaranc.co.uk have not had any reported sightings since the closure of the Cambridge Military Hospital the Ministry Of Defence Police (affectionately called the MOD Plod) patrol the area to deter vandals, creepers and other people who like to explore old empty buildings. One policeman has said that the hairs on the back of his head always stands on end when he patrols around the empty hospital.
Sightings Of The Grey Lady Ghost
These descriptions of the Grey Lady ghost have been described to the authors of the QARANC website:
It was 1986 and I was in Ward 9 or Ward 10 (not sure which) on the top floor overlooking the back of the hospital, having had a hiatus hernia op and I had split up the middle like a broken zip from naval to mid chest.
Being quite ill, I was in the first bed on the right next to the nurse's station and was propped up with several pillows as I could not lie down and this made sleep difficult although I did doze-off and wake up again every fifteen minutes or so. I still recall it felt like sleep deprivation.
On one of my many moments of wakefulness at around 02:00 I observed a woman in uniform standing by a bed three down from me on my side of the ward and I genuinely thought she was the Duty Officer doing her rounds, but was a bit confused by her uniform which looked a bit dated as the skirt was very long and the had a stiff, starched collar. Her head-piece (whatever they call them) was also starched and very wide in a diamond shape and it came further forward over her forehead more than those which are clipped onto the back of the head. I noticed she was also wearing stiff white cuffs on her sleeves and a cape, but it was grey and not red.
The most unusual aspect was that I could not see her face. That is, I could see it, which was oval, but she seemed to have no features but I put this down to the fact that I was extremely tired and my eyes may not have been focusing.
When the nurse came round in the morning delivering washing bowls to those of us unable to get out of bed I asked her who the QA officer had been. She said that no-one had visited the ward that night, not even a duty officer and asked why I wanted to know so I told her about the old-fashioned uniform which looked very smart but a bit out of place.
She turned white and her eyes opened wide as she said...."Oh my God. You have seen the Grey Lady" She then went on to very helpfully explain to a very ill patient that anyone who sees the Grey Lady will die. Thankfully I am not particularly superstitious and I told her that this was nonsense, as how would anyone else know that a patient had seen the Grey Lady if they were dead? She reluctantly agreed but her shock was tangible.
The crux of the story is that the fellow in the bed three down from me, the bed at which I had seen the Grey Lady standing....was found dead when they brought breakfast round a few minutes later. Paul
"I had an experience on ward 14 when I was a student nurse working nights with a ward sister who was a civilian and brigadiers wife. We had a patient who was severely ill following a road traffic accident who required hourly observations and we checked her at midnight, all was well. Then at 1 am we couldn’t find her observation chart. We searched the ward for the next three hours and ended up writing her obs on a separate piece of paper convinced that here was no way we could have lost them.
4am was always known as the ‘ghosting hour’ and low and behold at 4 am obs time we found her chart swinging at the end of her bed accompanied by the smell of lavender.
At the tender age of 20 I was freaked out and wouldn’t go into the ward again without being accompanied by the sister. The strange thing is the poor patient died later that day with an illness unrelated to her RTA which hadn’t been diagnosed until post mortem.
It feels strange to think about it again after all these years. I used to hate working nights and having to go between wards 10 and 14, so I used to walk downstairs go along the bottom corridor and then back upstairs! It was so cold along that top corridor that I never tempted fate by walking through there at night!"
My sighting of the Grey Lady was when I was working on Ward 2, Male Medical, and my friend was on Ward 10, upstairs. Before this all happened the chapel opposite the Louise Margaret had caught fire and so church services were being held in the upstairs corridor of the hospital, I think between ward 11 (the school of Nursing) and ward 10. For those who remember it was wide enough to still be used as a corridor and have all the chairs set out to one side.
Anyway I was on nights and for my break I was going up to see my friend on Ward 10. I went up the stairs and just as I went through the door into the section where the chapel chairs were, I saw a figure moving in between the rows of chairs. She had a veil on similar but not quite the same as the Nursing Officers, not as starched, but I thought it was because there was only minimal lighting on. I didn't say anything or walk forward, but when she walked around the end of the chairs I couldn't see her feet. Her dress stopped mid calf and there was nothing below that level. As I started walking forward she just disappeared. The doors at either end of that section of corridor did not move. I turned round and went back down the stairs walked along the main corridor to the next flight of stairs went up and told my friend what I had seen.
One of the senior nurses there, who knew the history of the building said that the original floor had been 12 - 18 inches lower, which would explain the missing feet.
Another thing that happened when I was on Ward 2 was that a young soldier, during the night asked the ward sister for a fresh jug of water. She said she would get one shortly, she was tied up with a terminally ill patient. A while later she returned to the young man with a jug but he already had one. When asked he said the other sister got it for him. There was no other sister on that night, and his description of her uniform was very different to what the sister was wearing that night. The terminally ill patient died that night.
As a retired Army Physio I can confirm sightings of the 'Grey Lady' at the CMH Aldershot. I was Duty Officer there sometime in 1980 and was doing my final rounds along the top corridor when I saw what looked like an elderly lady in a grey cape walking in front of me. I said 'Can I help you’? There was no reply - she just carried on moving ahead of me.
I sped up my walk to try and get to her at which point I was at the top of the stairs leading down to the bottom floor - near to reception - she had disappeared. Knowing there was nowhere else for her to go - she must have gone down those stairs. I ran down the stairs to bump into an Ambulance Orderly and said 'Which way did she go?’
'Who Staff?’ he replied
I said 'the lady in the grey cape!’
He replied 'Not seen her Staff'.
Baffled I slept uneasily - often the case on Duty :) The following morning I handed in my report detailing my 'sighting' - at which the RSM congratulated me on seeing 'the grey lady' :) John.
Ghost of Military Hospital Aldershot! When I was a radiographer in 1966 the X-ray department was underneath ward 10 (8). Our X-ray film store was next to the ward and we, or was that I, used to creep along the corridor and knock on the night nurses door and then disappear quickly. I must admit there were times when I felt a little nervous of meeting the grey lady? Name held by sender in case of severe recriminations!
Netley Hospital Nurse Ghost
Royal Victoria Military Hospital Netley had two ghosts. The first would appear as a blue nurse. This was thought to be ghost of a nurse at Netley Hospital who fell in love with a patient. However he was seeing another woman and the nurse murdered him and then killed herself. The nurse's spirit haunted the hospital until it was demolished in 1966.
As with most hospitals and military hospitals Netley Military Hospital had a Grey Lady ghost. This was said to appear a few hours before a patient was about to die.
Neither ghost has been seen since the buildings were demolished.
Read more about Royal Victoria Military Hospital Netley including the history, building information, famous patients and doctors, the World Wars, the first Military Asylum Mental Hospital and what is there now.
Ghost of a Nursing Sister
The Royal Herbert Military Hospital in Woolwich dated back to 1900 and closed in 1977 when the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital opened. It served the local population in addition to military patients and even German Luftwaffe pilots and navigators downed during the Blitz. It had a ghost of a Nursing Sister and patients and nurses would hear ghostly footsteps, more of which can be read about in the Royal Herbert Hospital Shooters Hill Woolwich page.
Gordon Highlander Ghost
During the First World War there was a Barracks building in King Street, Aberdeen, Scotland. The Gordon Highlanders Infantry were stationed there before being posted to France. One of the officers, Captain Beaton, hanged himself at the barracks. No-one knows why he hung himself but since his death there has been ghostly going ons. The building became a housing area and then a tram and now a bus depot. People who lived or worked there have reported seeing a khaki uniformed ghost, places going cold, taping on the windows and lights being switched on and off.
Although the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital was one of the more modern military hospitals the QEMH would appear to be the most haunted army hospital. These are recorded on the hospital ghosts page.
Colchester Military Hospital Ghost
The old Colchester Military Hospital had a Victorian nurse ghost. There is more information about her and the sightings of her hauntings and appearances on the Colchester Military Hospital page.
Tidworth Military Hospital Ghost
Tidworth Military Hospital was said to have a drummer ghost that walked the corridors and the nurses accommodation, which was a former children's isolation hospital, was reported to be haunted by a Matron still caring for sick children. Read about both of these hospital and army ghosts on the Tidworth Military Hospital page.
Chester Military Hospital
Don Johnson recalls his time in the RAMC and the Chester Military Hospital ghost and provides a poem from that era:
Chester was a single storey wooden spider except that the Surgical corridor was brick built. It was reported that, during the war a bomb landed in the field across the road from Surgical corridor and caused fires which resulted in the destruction of that corridor. Such was the efficiency of the staff that all patients were cleared and the only casualty was one RAMC nurse who went round the corridor to make sure that it was clear but was killed. As a result, the hospital gained the reputation of having a ghost. It is said that it is the same young man still checking that the wards were clear but I cannot vouch for it.
Chester did have one other thing that might interest.
In a quaint little town known as Chester
Is a hospital well known to fame.
For curing bad bouts of scivitis,
And killing the sick and the lame.
The hospitals run by the medics
With the help I’m glad to recall,
Of a gallant young crew known as QARANC
Real lively girls one and all.
Some nurses are really quite clever
Performing some wonderful feats
While sister runs round with a pencil
Counting pillows and blankets and sheets.
I have no idea who composed it but it was quite well known in 1957.
Don shares more memories of his time serving in British Military Hospitals on the BMH Nairobi , Colchester Military Hospital, BMH Nicosia and Royal Herbert pages.
If you would like to contribute a ghost or paranormal story to this page then feel free to contact me with information.
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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