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QA Nurses Training Centre Aldershot

QARANC Training Centre Depot in Aldershot Hampshire history:

The QA centre in Aldershot was the central basic army training facility for new QARANC recruits.

The History Of The QARANC Training Centre

The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) Depot and Training Centre (QATC) opened in 1967. The QA centre was officially opened by the then Colonel in Chief of the QARANC, Princess Margaret on the 17 October 1967. She was escorted by Director Army Nursing Service and Matron-in-Chief (Army) for the QARANC Brigadier Dame Margot Turner and the Colonel Commandant was Brigadier Dame Barbara Cozens.

Colonel in Chief QARANC Princess Margaret escorted by Director Army Nursing Service Matron in Chief- Army) Brigadier Dame Margot Turner and Colonel Commandant Brigadier Dame Barbara Cozens
With kind permission from

There is a photo of the opening of the Royal Pavilion in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott.

The photo below of the QATC unveiling ceremony of the commemorative plaque is taken from the1968 AMS Magazine (with thanks to Terry Hissey). The commemorative bronze plaque was located on the outer wall of the Officers Mess.

QATC Unveiling Commemorative Plaque

Several years earlier, on the 16 May 1963, Princess Margaret, The Colonel-in-Chief of the QARANC, laid the foundation stone of the QARANC Training Centre in Aldershot. Her Royal Highness was accompanied by Dame Barbara Cozens the Director Army Nursing Services (DANS) and Matron-in-Chief (Army). Later in the day the Princess Margaret presented an Army Trained Nurse Certificate to Staff Sergeant Grimshaw. There is a photo of this event in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott.

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PTSD assistance dog Lynne book

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:

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Buy the Paperback.

QARANC Poppy Pin Badge Royal British Legion RBL
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.

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The construction and building of the QA centre cost about £700,000. The architect was Robert Smart. The QATC housed around 250 officer and ordinary rank personnel.

QA Centre Buildings and facilities in the QA Nurses Training Centre Aldershot included a drill square, small gym, learning centre, single roomed accommodation, dining hall, kitchens, NAAFI coffee bar and lounge area, QA Museum, (now at Keogh Barracks, Ash Vale), a guardroom, courtyard, an Officers mess and accommodation.

Bridges Decks QATC Building
With kind permission from - In which the article likened the exterior as looking like decks and bridges to a ship. This October 1967 feature also wrote about the numbers of recruits as being typically 80 for each course, but that the previous month had a record intake of 128.

There is a photo of the round foundation stone of the QARANC Training Centre, The Royal Pavilion, Aldershot in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott. The foundation stone had the inscription and badge of the QARANC in the centre.

The photo below is of the Royal Pavilion C Squad1969:

Royal Pavilion C Squad 1969

The photos below are of QA recruits at the start of their basic training and after their passing out parade ont he roof of the QATC in 1969 :

QA Recruits 1969

QARANC Recruits 1969

With thanks to former QA Angela Coote.

New post apocalyptic military survival thriller

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.

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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.

Recruits had to pass the St John Ambulance Association Certificate in First Aid before their first posting.

These photos of the Training Centre Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps come from the collection of Major (Retd) Phil Basford ARRC. They show the gardens and buildings during 1979. Six of the photographs were turned in to a set of coasters at Boots and over 60 were sold at the time!

Training Centre Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps


QATC Buildings

QATC Gardens

QATC Shrubs


QATC Flowers

QATC Trees

QATC Photo

The photo below is of the July 1981 passing out parade at the QATC, Aldershot.

QARANC Passing Out Parade

Colonel Jean Grieve was Commandant of the QA Training Centre from Nov 1986 until her retirement in June 1988. There is a photo of Col Grieve on the Military Hospital Wheatley and BMH Benghazi pages.

In 1985 the Moment of Truth TV Documentary was filmed there.

Royal Pavilion Aldershot

The QARANC centre and depot was built on the site of the Royal Pavilion, Aldershot. The Royal Pavilion was built in June 1887 to celebrate The Silver Jubilee of Queen Victoria on 21 June 1887.

The Prince Consort chose the area in 1855 and it is said that he instructed a young subaltern to ride around the site and drop pea sticks to mark the boundary. Prince Albert designed the grounds of the Royal Pavilion and had planted each species of rhododendron and tree from each part of the British Empire which could grow in the English climate. The Royal Pavilion was built as a place for Queen Victoria to stay when she came to review her troops. The last monarch to stay in the wooden chalet type house was King George V for the Coronation Review in 1902. By 1935 the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester lived at the Royal Pavilion. The original building was pulled down and on the 16 May 1963 Princess Margaret laid the foundation stone.

Foundation Stone Round QATC Aldershot

Photo of the round that commemorates the foundation stone laying by Princess Margaret - With kind permission from

The book Sub Cruce Candida: A Celebration of One Hundred Years of Army Nursing has a photo of the original Royal Pavillion that was built for Queen Victoria taken just before the building was demolished in 1963. There are also photos of QAs taking part in the field training exercise Operation Nightingale during the 1980s.

The Assistant Chaplain General dedicated the new building work and the Director Army Nursing Services (DANS) and Matron-in-Chief (Army) Dame Barbra Cozens and the Colonel Commandant Dame Monica Golding (nee Johnson) were present. The foundation stone was about fifteen feet in diameter and weighed eight tons. The Princess pulled a lever and a compressed air system lowered the foundation stone into place (cited in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott).

The Pavilion formed an integral part of the QA centre and had a beautiful surrounding garden.

The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) officers now train at Keogh Barracks in Ash Vale and Sandhurst Military Academy in Hampshire. Other ranks train at Winchester Barracks.

The last QARANC Officer to receive the Sash of Honour at the Royal Pavillion was Lt Judith Hughes of Student Officer Course 80.

Flag Lowering Ceremony

The QARANC flag was lowered for the last time at the Royal Pavilion on Thursday 31 March 1994 during a Flag Lowering Ceremony. The Director Army Nursing Services (DANS) and Matron-in-Chief (Army) Brigadier H S Dixon-Nuttall RRC QHNS L/QARANC was in attendance with the Colonel Commandant QARANC Colonel D G M Anderson RRC. The Commandant Colonel of the QARANC Training Centre, Colonel J M Arigho, handed the flag to the Chief of Staff of the RAMC Training Group, Lieutenant Colonel K Martindale. Notable guests included Major General and Mrs F B Mayes, the Director General Army Medical Services and Major General and Mrs R P Craig, the Commander Medical United Kingdom Land Forces. The RSM was WO1 Marion E Harley who lowered the QA flag with Sgt L Smith. The Union Jack was raised by WO2 M Shannon ARRC and Sgt L Smith.

Music for the Flag Lowering Ceremony was provided by the Regimental Band of the Parachute Regiment under the direction of WO1 (BM) Taylor ARCM ALCM BBCM psm.

The last Commandant of the QARANC Training Centre from 1993 to 1998 was Colonel Jane M Arigho (CBE RRC). Colonel Arigho was then appointed Deputy Commandment of the Army Medical Services Training Group at Keogh Barracks (Ash Vale near Aldershot) and Deputy Director of Army Nursing Services. She was later promoted to Brigadier and Director of Army Nursing Services and upon retirement was appointed became the Colonel Commandant of The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps

The barracks was then used as a temporary transit camp for the Aldershot Garrison.
The QA centre was demolished in 1998 and the land sold off. Offices now occupy the site of the QATC.
Under Options for Change QAs thereafter trained at Lichfield.

Anstie Grange

Previous QA training centres included the first base at Anstie Grange, South Holmwood near Dorking in Surrey. Anstie Grange was first used during the Second World War and in 1945 became the holding unit and depot for the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), (cited in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott).

New Sisters and nurses to the QAIMNS were now trained at Anstie Grange rather than sent directly to a military hospital and thrown into the deep end of military law and etiquette. In spring 1945 the first Officer's Training Course (OTC) was held and Anstie Grange was thereafter known as the QA Training Centre and Depot. (cited in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott). Previously a selection of Sisters were able to attend the ATS Officer's Training Course at Windsor. Now each QA officer could learn drill, Military Law, documentation, discipline and the traditions of the QAs.

It was a scenic setting with a lake, waterfall and rhododendrons and lectures were held in the drawing room which gave the QAs some wonderful views across the lawns.

Students would wear white shoulder bands like cadets to show that they were either on their first appointment or had undertaken three or more years nurse training in a civilian hospital. Those QAs who had been released after war service and decided to come back or who had never been on a military course because of war service did not wear them.

The Depot Commandant in 1948 was Principal Matron E.M.B. Dyson whose predecessor was Principal Matron M.M. Mirrieless (cited from September 1948).

A Drumhead Parade was held in the presence of Queen Mary at the Depot and Training Establishment Anstie Grange on the 8 June 1948. Senior Officers in attendance included Lt Gen Sir Neil Cantlie.

The book Sub Cruce Candida: A Celebration of One Hundred Years of Army Nursing has a photo of Queen Mary, the Commandment-in-Chief, presenting the Nursing Mirror Trophy to Lieutenant Dorothy Gilbert and of Queen Mary reviewing the Drumhead Service parade.

Those QAs about to be posted overseas would be attached to Anstie Grange for several days so that they could receive inoculations, be issued appropriate uniforms and attend lectures on what their duties would be. In the post war years each QA Sister was now individually posted rather than sent as part of a mobilised unit. For example QA Sisters posted to Korea and the Far East would go on leave and then to Anstie Grange before sailing. This is described in the book A British Army Nurse In the Korean War by Captain Elizabeth Jilly McNair of the newly formed QARANC.

The actress Anne Crawford went to Anstie Grange to research her role as QA Sister Mary Leighton in the 1948 film It's Hard to be Good.

Read more on the Anstie Grange Training Depot QAIMNS page.


Millions Like Us: Women's Lives in War and Peace 1939-1949 cites what thinks may be the first training depot for the QAIMNS. It describes how 50 recruits spent the winter of 1943 at Peebles near Edinburgh in Scotland learning drill for the conditions of the battle front, cross country running and gate vaulting so that nurses were fit enough to work alongside soldiers. The QAs then gained officer status and the rank slides of Lieutenant.

Army School of Health

The QARANC expanded and Anstie Grange was no longer large enough to train QAs so it temporarily moved in 1948 to A Block of the Army School of Health at Mytchett near Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire.

The book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott has a photograph of Anstie Grange in Holwood, Surrey. It was taken on the 8 June 1948. The Depot photograph includes Queen Mary with the QAIMNS Matron-in-Chief Dame Louisa Wilkinson and Lt Gen Sir Neil Cantlie. Dame Wilkinson later became the first QARANC Colonel Commandant.

Queen Alexandra Barracks

In February 1950 the QA Depot and training centre moved to Ontario Barracks at Hindhead near Midhurst in Sussex. Ontario Barracks had previously been used as a Canadian Forces barracks in WWII. It was renamed Queen Alexandra Camp (cited in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott).

Hindhead QA Camp

The above photo is from the collection of Pte Una Mansfield taken at Hindhead in 1951 prior to embarking to the Far East. Read more about her and view more photos from her collection on the BMH Singapore page.

Passing Out Parade Photo 1950s.

QARANC Depot and Training Establishment Queen Alexandra Camp Liphook

The E9 Orange Squad photo below was taken in October 1952 at QARANC Depot and Training Establishment, Queen Alexandra Camp Liphook and comes from the collection of Jeanne (Penny) Hunter. She recalls:

On the opposite side of the road at the rear of the camp was the Connaught TB hospital and further down was the WRAC School of Instruction. The Tunics which were our No 2 dress did change to battledress blouses and the peaked caps became Grey berets. The changes did not reach us in Iserlohn. When my friend and I returned to Liphook for discharge we were taken to be officers by the recruits. We often got an eyes right or a salute which we thought was hilarious .Naughty !!

qaranc depot and training establishment queen alexandra camp liphook

Below is a photo of Jeanne in her No 1 dress:

no 1 dress qaranc 1952

View more of Jeanne's photos and read more of her memories on the BMH Iserlohn page and the Military Hospital Wheatley page.

There are photos of Queen Alexandra Barracks and of QAs being issued uniforms and undergoing training in the book Sub Cruce Candida: A Celebration of One Hundred Years of Army Nursing.

This developed into a nurse training centre when for the first time QAs were accepted to the corps to train as student nurses rather than having to be fully qualified nurses. An officers training wing was also set up and the Barracks were renamed to the Queen Alexandra Barracks. A parade marked the official opening of this new barracks and depot on the 13 September 1950. The salute was taken by the Adjutant General, General Sir James Steele. This was the last public duty performed by the Adjutant-General before his retirement at the end of that week. General Steele spoke of the contribution which womanhood had made to the welfare of the service and the high value the QAs made to the maintenance of the morale of the Army during the Second World War. During his address to the parade the General then discussed the new opportunities that the new Corps would give to those who other ranks and officers who wished to devote their lives to the care and healing of others. The General's speech ended with a tribute to Queen Mary, the Colonel in Chief of the QARANC and hoped that she would visit the Hindhead Depot in the future (cited in the AMS Magazine Dec 1951 and with thanks to Terry Hissey).

These new QAs wore the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC) uniform with QARANC badges, shoulder tabs and red and grey lanyards (cited from Soldier Magazine November 1950).

The Chaplain General at the Dedication Service was Canon F. L. Hughes. The parade saw the first performance of the QA March Grey and Scarlet.

The Commandant of the Queen Alexandra Camp was Colonel Edith M.B. Dyson (OBE, RRC) and the parade Commander was Major E.M Turner. More can be read about Major Turner on the Dame Margot Turner page. Other officers at the opening of the QARANC Depot and Training Establishment were Brigadier A Thomson (CBE, RRC KHNS), Matron-in-Chief and Director of Army Nursing Services; Dame Louisa Wilkinson (DBE, RRC), Colonel Commandant QARANC, Lieut-General Sir Neil Cantlie (KBE, CB, MC), Director-General of Army Medical Services, Lieut-General Sir Ouvry Roberts (KBE, CB, DSO), GOC Southern Command and Major-General W.A. Dimoline GOC, Aldershot District. Representatives of the QARNNS, PMRAFNS, WRNS and the WRAF were also present (cited in the January 1951 edition of the AMS Magazine).

The parade, the closest the QAs have come to a formation parade, was also the first occasion that the QARANC flag was flown. This first QA flag had the Queen Alexandra badge surrounded by red white and blue colours in horizontal stripes (cited in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott).

During the parade Private Jessie Reeve received the best all round recruit award from the Adjutant-General. Pte Reeve was the fourth QA recruit to join the newly formed QARANC aged 28 years. She was formerly a medical orderly during the Second World War in Aldershot and joined the QAs to train as a State Registered Nurse (SRN).

The best all round officer student was awarded to Lieut J Brooks.

The first other rank QA was Private A Catherall and she was given a memento to mark this occasion by the General. There is more written about Pte Catherall on the Ordinary Other Ranks Of The QARANC page.

WOI A.J. Underwood (RAMC) was awarded the Long Service and God Conduct Medal.

Below is a copy of the programme from the official opening of the QA Depot in 1950 (with thanks to Terry Hissey). It reads:

Opening of the QA Depot Programme

Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps

Order of Ceremony

on the occasion of the

Official Opening

of the


Depot and Training Establishment

Ontario Camp


Wednesday 13th September 1950

Order of Ceremony Order of Ceremony

1. Three companies of the Depot and T.E. Q.A.R.A.N.C. march on parade in the following order:-

H.Q. Company

Officers' Training Company, Q.A.R.A.N.C.

Recruit Training Company, Q.A.R.A.N.C.

2. The Adjutant-General arrives and is received with a General Salute.

3. The Adjutant-General inspects the Parade.

4. The Adjutant-General declares the Depot and T.E. open.

5. The Chaplain-General will conduct a Service of Dedication.

6. The Adjutant-General will present Medals and Awards.

7. The Parade marches past in line.

8. The Parade advances in Review Order - General Salute.

9. The Adjutant-General will address the assembled company.

10. The Band of the Royal Army Medical Corps leading, the Parade marches off.

(Guests are requested to be in their seats by 2:30pm)

A Service Of Dedication Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps

A Service of Dedication


The Depot and T.E. Q.A.R.A.N.C.

When all have taken their places, shall be sung, all standing

the first verses of

The National Anthem

The Bidding

We are assembled to ask God's blessing upon the universal work of healing, and especially upon the staff of this place and students who here shall give themselves to the care of the men and women of the Armed Forces.

We shall therefore pray for special gifts of faithfulness and consecration, sympathy and patience, courtesy and skill, that those who go forth from this Depot may carry God's saving health as well in their lives as in their ministry.

Then shall be said:

Chaplain: Except the Lord build the house,

All: Their labour is but lost that build it.

Chaplain: Thou art the Vine, and we are the branches

All: Without Thee we can do nothing

Chaplain: O Lord, look down from heaven,

All: And visit and bless this place.

Chaplain: O Lord save Thy people,

All: And bless Thine inheritance

Chaplain: Blest are the pure in heart,

All: For they shall see God.

Hymn And Prayers Hymn

Bless'd are the pure in heart,

For they shall see our God;

The secret of the Lord is theirs,

Their soul is Christ's abode.

The Lord, who left the heavens

Our life and peace to bring,

To dwell in lowliness with men,

Their Pattern and their King.

Still to the lowly soul

He doth Himself impart

And for His dwelling and His Throne

Chooseth the pure in heart.

Lord, we Thy presence seek;

May ours this blessing be;

Give us a pure and lowly heart,

A temple meet for Thee.

The Lesson

St. Mark ix, 17, 18, 25 - 29.


For the Royal Family:

Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech Thee to bless our Gracious Queen Elizabeth, Mary the Queen Mother, the Princess Elizabeth, Mary the Queen Mother, the Princess Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, and all the Royal Family. Endue them with Thy Holy Spirit, enrich them with Thy heavenly grace, prosper them with all happiness, and bring them to Thine everlasting Kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For all who follow the ministry of healing:

O Lord God, with whom alone is the power of life, death and healing, give strength, wisdom, skill and gentleness to all physicians, surgeons, nurses and watchers by the sick, that by Thine aid they may both vanquish the afflictions of the body and kindle the virtues of the soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Dedication Of The Depot And Training Establishment The Dedication of the Depot and Training Establishment

The Chaplain-General shall say:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, we do dedicate this Depot and Training Establishment to the care and service of the men and women of the Armed Forces in peace and in war, at home and overseas.

The Collect for the Q.A.R.A.N.C.:

O God of grace and gentleness, whose throne is set in the white light of heaven, where those whom Thou hast clothed in white proclaim Thee holy day and night; grant to us who serve under the White Cross such pure accord with them that the shadows may pass from those in our care, their darkness lighten into faith and hope, and Love bring healing peace to all, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Now thank we all our God,

With heart, and hands, and voices

Who wondrous things hath done,

In whom His world rejoices;

Who from our mother's arms

Hath blesses us on our way

With countless gifts of love,

And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God

Through all our life be near us,

With ever joyful hearts

And blessed peace to cheer us;

And keep us in His grace,

And guide us when perplex'd,

And free us from all ills

In this world and the next. All praise and thanks to God

The Father now be given, The Son, and Him who reigns

With Them in highest heaven,

The One Eternal God,

Whom earth and Heav'n adore,

For thus it was, is now,

And shall be evermore. Amen.

The Blessing

Historical Notes Historical Notes

1854. Crimea. 1899. South African War.

1880. Zulu War. 1914-18. World War I.

1882. Egyptian Campaign. 1939-45. World War II.

Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of the employment of women trained nurses in Military Hospitals, formed her first nucleus of a recognized Nursing Service to the Army in the Crimean War.

On the return of the Army from the Crimea in 1856, Florence Nightingale devoted her organizing abilities to the formulation of a scheme for Army nurses. So successful was she that women nurses were employed in the general hospital at Fort Pitt, Chatham, to look after the soldiers sent home from the Crimea, and the question of an establishment of Army nurses was seriously considered. On the 19th May, 1856, Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, while a little later the building of the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, was begun. Each of these hospitals was staffed with Army nurses. In 1860 the Army Medical School was transferred from Chatham to Netley, and Lady Jane Stewart-Shaw, with her staff of nurses, was also transferred.

In 1866 provision was made for the appointment of nurses to all Military General Hospitals, but it was not until 1881 that an Army Nursing Service was formed. Meanwhile, in 1879-80 several sisters were sent to the Zulu War.

The Egyptian campaigns (1882) again led to a reorganization of the Nursing Service, sisters being sent to hospitals at Gibraltar and Malta. In the same year a staff of nurses was appointed to the Brigade of Guards Hospital, London, and later sisters were posted to military hospitals at Aldershot and Egypt. Finally, in 1883, every military hospital of 100 beds or more had a staff of sisters.

As the Crimean War led to the employment of nurses in military hospitals and the eventual inauguration of the Army Nursing Service, so the South African War and the experiences obtained during that campaign led to the reorganization of the Army Nursing Service and the formation of Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Services in 1902.

In 1945 the further experience of World War II led to a period of reconstruction and reorganization.

In 1949 Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps came into being.

Five Main Tasks The Depot and Training Establishment has five main tasks:

1. Basic and Corps training of the other rank recruit.

2. Basic military training of the State Registered Nurse joining the Army on first appointment.

3. The training of Junior and Senior Officers in administration and organization.

4. Administration of a preliminary Nurse Training Centre.

5. Holding and drafting for the Corps.

The Corps flag, which is flown for the first time in our history, consists of the old Q.A.I.M.N.S. colours chosen by H.M. Queen Alexandra in 1904, with the new Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps badge superimposed.

The Q.A.R.A.N.C. march, "Grey and Scarlet", is played for the first time in public. This march was arranged by Captain Brown, Director of Music, R.A.M.C., from the suggestions given by Professor A. Lewis. of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham University, and members of the Q.A.R.A.N.C. Depot staff.

The brisk martial theme of Purcell's "King Arthur" is followed by the quiet, peaceful note of the traditional air, "The Gentle Maiden." The sharp contrasts of tune illustrate the dual role of the Q.A. within the Army structure, woven inextricably by history into the pattern of our life.

Remember Remember!

"Remember when you are far away up-country, possibly the only English woman there, that these men will note and remember your every action, not only as a nurse, but as a woman; your life to them will be as the rings a pebble makes when thrown into a pond - reaching far, reaching wide - each ripple gone beyond your grasp, yet remembered almost to exaggeration by those soldiers lying helpless in their sickness. See that your every word and act is worthy of your profession and your womanhood."

(This message was sent by Florence Nightingale to the members of the Army Nursing Service on the eve of their departure to the Egyptian Campaign, 1882, and is passed on today to every new member of the Corps.)

Gale & Polden Ltd. The Wellington Press. Aldershot

50th Anniversary of the QAs

In 1952 another significant parade was held at Queen Alexandra Barracks to mark the 50th anniversary of the QAs on the 4 June. The date was delayed from the actual date of the Golden Jubilee of the QAs which would have been on the 27 March 1952, Sadly King George VI had died the month before and the ceremonial parade was delayed until the 4 June 1952.

This parade marked the first time that QA other ranks wore the new grey uniform. Previously they had worn the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC) uniforms with a scarlet and grey lanyard and QA shoulder tabs and badges (cited in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott).

First QA Grey Uniform
The photo above is from the collection of Sgt Jean Miller. On the reverse is written This was taken on June 4th during celebrations of 50 years under Royal Warrant. The oldest and newest uniform of the corps.

There are more photographs of this 50th anniversary parade in the book Sub Cruce Candida: A Celebration of One Hundred Years of Army Nursing.

Below is a copy of the Jubilee Souvenir Programme (with thanks to Terry Hissey).

Jubilee Souvenir Programme

The QA Jubilee Souvenir Programme had the emblems of the QAIMNS and QARANC on the front covers with the QA scarlet covers embossed along the right hand corner. The QA Jubilee Souvenir Programme read:


1902 1952



Wednesday, 4th June, 1952




Wednesday, 4th June, 1952


11.30am PARADE

12.15pm BAND CONCERT by the Royal Army Medical Corps, under the direction of Captain L.E. Brown, L.R.A.M, A.R.C.M.




by Lady Crocker

5pm TEA



1. Three companies of the Depot and T.E. Q.A.R.A.N.C.

March on parade in the following order:

Headquarter Company, R.A.M.C. and Q.A.R.A.N.C.

Officers' Training Company, Q.A.R.A.N.C.

Recruit Training Company, Q.A.R.A.N.C.

2. Parade Commander, Colonel H.S. Gillespie, M.B.E., R.R.C., arrives and takes over parade.

3. The Adjutant-General arrives, accompanied by Matron-in-Chief and Director Army Nursing Services, and is received with a general salute.

4. The Adjutant-General inspects Parade.

5. The Parade marches past in line.

6. The Parade advances in Review Order.

7. The Adjutant-General will present Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

8. The Adjutant-General will address assembled company.

9. The General Salute.

10. The Band of the Royal Army Medical Corps leading, the Parade marches off in close column of route.



Conducted By

Captain L.D. Brown, L.R.A.M., A.R.C.M, R.A.M.C.

1. March On. "Canyon" By Winson

2. General Salute

Inspection Music

(a) Regimental March "The Royal Tank Regiment"

(b) Slow March "The Duke of York" by S.V. Balfour

(c) Troop "May Blossom" by Weir

(d) Slow March "By Land And Sea" by Alford

3. March Past. "Grey And Scarlet" (Q.A. Regimental March)

4. March in review order "The British Grenadiers"

5. General Salute

6. March Past. "Grey And Scarlet" (Q.A. Regimental March)






1902 The "Army nursing Service" became Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service and was established under Royal Warrant on 27th March. This date is now celebrated annually as "Q.A." Day.

Her Majesty Queen Alexandra graciously consented to be first President of Queen Alexandra's Army Nursing Board, and the Service came immediately under her control. (Nursing in the Army by women was originated in 1854 by Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War, and female nurses were on the establishments of all Military General Hospitals from 1866. In 1881 the "Army Nursing Service" was inaugurated.)

1904 Her Majesty Queen Alexandra devised the badge and colours for the Service, also its motto, "Sub Cruce Candida." The cross in the badge is the Danish Cross or the Dannebrog, meaning "The strength of Denmark." The badge was registered in 1905 as the official insignia of Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service.

1925 Death of Her Majesty Queen Alexandra.

1926 Her Majesty Queen Mary graciously consented to be President. Amalgamation of Queen Alexandra's Military Nursing Service, India, which opened up a very much wider field for overseas service.

1927 Absorption of Queen Alexandra's Military Families Nursing Service, after which, "Q.A.s" were responsible not only for the nursing of the men of the Army but also their wives and children wherever stationed.

1940 Q.A.I.M.N.S authorised to wear relative badges of rank.

1941 Q.A.I.M.N.S granted emergency commissions in the Women's Forces.

1947 Q.A. Depot first formed at Anstie Grange for training, holding and drafting.

1948 Her Majesty Queen Mary became Commandant-in-Chief. A Controller-Commandant was also approved and appointed.

1949 Q.A.I.M.N.S. became a Corps of the Army, and officers were given regular commissions in it. The title was changed to Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, and the badge was altered accordingly.

1950 Officers were granted the same rank titles as male officers. Her Majesty Queen Mary became Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps, and the title of Controller-Commandant was changed to Colonel Commandant.

The Other Rank element of Q.A.R.A.N.C. was formed and the first recruits joined in July, 1950.

The Depot and Training Establishment Q.A.R.A.N.C. in its permanent home at Hindhead was officially opened in September, 1950, and renamed Queen Alexandra Camp.

Reserve: The first Reserve of the Service was formed in 1897 as a result of the untiring interest of Princess Christian, and this Reserve was known as Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service Reserve.

This Service was replaced by Q.A.I.M.N.S. Reserve formed in 1908 was renamed the Territorial Army Nursing Service in 1921, and the present Q.A.R.A.N.C. (T.A.) replaced it in February, 1949.

These services, before their present formation, had their own distinctive badges and colours.

Gale & Polden Ltd, The Wellington Press, Aldershot 3682-V

Aldershot Old Camp

Marlene Stoneman (nee Marshall) joined up in 1965 and this photo was taken at Aldershot in the old camp. Looking at the photo from the left top are the Kasher twins from Northumberland, Judith and Gillian, unknown and then the 5th person is Maureen Hayes. Marlene Marshall is next then Pauline Smith who she later shared a room with at BMH Iserlohn in 1966. Then there is Angela Sloman and Norma Watson. On the second row left to right are Mo Baker, Val Wallace, Janet Heslop, Wendy, Bunty, unknown, Sylvia Bailey, next 4 unknown, Jeanette and Jennifer Bullivent. On the bottom row left to right are Peggy, unknown but 10th from left is Carrie who said "like" so much that's what they called her!

1965 QARANC Aldershot Old Camp

Marlene recalls that the QAs were moved to a new building not long after because when she was demobbed in March 1967 she went to the new barracks but cannot remember where it was. She recently uploaded this picture to a QARANC group site and someone mentioned the area was called Thornhill. She remembers a cemetery nearby because when they snuck out they hid there to not be seen when they made their way down the hill to the NAAFI.

Below is a copy of the Order of the Ceremony for the Parade with the Ceremonial Parade Programme of Music (with thanks to Terry Hissey).

Order of Ceremony for Parade

The photograph below is of the QATC hockey team 1986.

QATC Hockey Team

The picture below is of the QATC permanent staff of 1986.

QATC Staff

The image below is of the QA Corps Tennis Final in 1986.

QA Corps Tennis Final 1986

The picture below is of the November 1969 intake at The Royal Pavilion Aldershot during a very cold winter:

November_1969_Intake_The Royal Pavilion Aldershot

Induction group 1972 QARANC QATC Centre Aldershot

A Squad March 1978 Intake

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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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