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Colonel In Chief
Past and present Colonels In Chief of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps with a description of the role in the British Army
The first Colonel-in-Chief of the QARANC was Her Majesty Queen Mary in 1949. Before this she was the President of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and the QAIMNS(R) the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserves which was the earlier British army nursing service. When the new nursing corps was formed Her Majesty Queen Mary retained her position which was renamed from President to Colonel-in-Chief to reflect the new corps status.
As President of the QAIMNS Her Majesty Queen Mary wrote the forward to Grey and scarlet : letters from the war areas by army sisters on active service.
The book Sub Cruce Candida: A Celebration of One Hundred Years of Army Nursing has a collection of paintings and photographs of the Presidents and Colonels in Chief of the QAIMNS and QARANC.
Nurses Memorial Chapel
In November 1950 the Nurses Memorial Chapel in the Jesus Chapel in Westminster Abbey was unveiled and dedicated in a ceremony with Queen Mary in attendance. The Dean of Westminster dedicated the Chapel to the Glory of God (cited in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott).
Her Majesty Queen Mary held the post of Colonel-in-Chief until she passed away on 24 March 1953. As is normal procedure, after a suitable period had lapsed, HM Queen Elizabeth appointed her sister, Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret (later Countess of Snowdon), as Colonel in Chief. This became effective on 28 September 1954 and she held that post until her death on 9 February 2002.
Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret the Colonel-in-Chief of the QARANC can be seen on the left of the photo below during an official engagement.
See another photograph on the Princess Margaret Inspecting QARANC at Royal Hospital Chelsea page.
Twelve QAs were given the honour of attending the wedding of their Colonel in Chief Princess Margaret to Mr Antony Armstrong-Jones on the 6 May 1960. This included the Director Army Nursing Services (DANS) and Matron-in-Chief (Army) Dame Monica Johnson and the Colonel Commandant Dame Helen Gillespie. The Corps wedding gift was a pair of 1829 meat dishes and a pair of 1816 silver sauceboats. The QA Association gave their Patron the gift of a Coalport tea service and a set of silver and enamel teaspoons.
Student Nurse QPte Karla Partridge being awarded the Queen’s Guide Brooch in 1989 by Princess Margaret at Kensington Palace, London.
After the loyal toast on dinner nights, Princess Margaret received a separate musical toast. Below is the piano transcription of this melody and clicking it gives you a larger pdf copy. Does anyone recognize it? It is possibly a folk tune, but confirmation would be valued. When HRH The Countess of Wessex became Colonel-in-Chief, her toast is made in response to the first eight bars of the National Anthem (with thanks to Terry Hissey and Roger Hewitt for the transcription).
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My PTSD assistance dog, Lynne, and I have written a book about how she helps me with my military Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression. I talk about my time in the QAs and the coping strategies I now use to be in my best health.
Along the way, I have had help from various military charities, such as Help for Heroes and The Not Forgotten Association and royalties from this book will go to them and other charities like Bravehound, who paired me with my four-legged best friend.
I talk openly about the death of my son by suicide and the help I got from psychotherapy and counselling and grief charities like The Compassionate Friends.
The author, Damien Lewis, said of Lynne:
"A powerful account of what one dog means to one man on his road to recovery. Both heart-warming and life-affirming. Bravo Chris and Lynne. Bravo Bravehound."
Buy the Paperback.
This beautiful QARANC Poppy Pin Badge is available from the Royal British Legion Poppy Shop.
For those searching military records, for information on a former nurse of the QAIMNS, QARANC, Royal Red Cross, VAD and other nursing organisations or other military Corps and Regiments, please try Genes Reunited where you can search for ancestors from military records, census, birth, marriages and death certificates as well as over 673 million family trees. At GenesReunited it is free to build your family tree online and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to discover your family history and accessing army service records.
Another genealogy website which gives you access to military records and allows you to build a family tree is Find My Past which has a free trial.
HRH The Countess of Wessex
The third and current Colonel-in-Chief of the QARANC is HRH The Countess of Wessex (Sophie Wessex). She took over the role on the 1 July 2003.
The picture to the left shows HRH The Countess of Wessex cutting the QA Association 60th anniversary cake.
Patron of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps Association
The Countess of Wessex is also the Patron of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps Association.
What Is A Colonel-In-Chief?
Each regiment and most corps of the British army have their own Colonel-In-Chief. The role is usually filled by a member of the Royal Family.
The Roles Of A Colonel-In-Chief
The Colonel-In-Chief is not normally an active member of the army and does not have an operational role. The Colonel-In-Chief does take an active interest in their regiment or corp and will be kept informed of news, changes, events, top promotions, awards and important activities of their regiment or corp. Colonel-In-Chiefs will frequently visit the various training depots and units of their regiments and corps. This can include key events such as at the award of medals such as the Royal Red Cross, passing out parades, unit inspections and the promotion of high level officers.
The Colonel-in-Chief is as the Patron of the QA Association.
President of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service
When the Army Nursing Service (ANS) became the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) in 1902 The President was Queen Alexandra. Her Majesty Queen Alexandra remained in post until her death on the 20 November 1925.
From 1926 until 1949 the President of the QAIMNS and the Territorial Army Nursing Service (TANS) was Her Majesty Queen Mary, the daughter in law of Queen Alexandria. She was also the Commandant in Chief of the newly formed QARANC from 1949 to 1950 and then became the Colonel in Chief until 1953.
Former Royal Air Force Regiment Gunner Jason Harper witnesses a foreign jet fly over his Aberdeenshire home. It is spilling a strange yellow smoke. Minutes later, his wife, Pippa, telephones him, shouting that she needs him. They then get cut off. He sets straight out, unprepared for the nightmare that unfolds during his journey. Everyone seems to want to kill him.
Along the way, he pairs up with fellow survivor Imogen. But she enjoys killing the living dead far too much. Will she kill Jason in her blood thirst? Or will she hinder his journey through this zombie filled dystopian landscape to find his pregnant wife?
The Fence is the first in this series of post-apocalyptic military survival thrillers from the torturous mind of former British army nurse, now horror and science fiction novel writer, C.G. Buswell.
Buy the Paperback.
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.
The death of the Brotherhood will be avenged.
RAF gunner Jason Harper and a team of Special Air Service operators are enraged after the death of their brothers by a terrorist drone strike. They fly into south-eastern Yemen on a Black-op mission to gather intelligence and avenge the death of their comrades.
Can they infiltrate the Al-Queda insurgents' camp, stay undetected, and call down their own drone missile strike and get home safely?
Will they all survive to fight another day?
Operation Wrath is a free, fast-paced adventure prequel to the non-stop action The Fence series by military veteran author C.G. Buswell.
Download for free on any device and read today.
This website is not affiliated or endorsed by The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) or the Ministry of Defence.
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