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Army Ranks

The non commissioned officer junior ranks of the QARANC army nurses with details of the first QA Private and Warrant Officer

Junior Ranks and senior non commissioned ranks of the QARANC are:

Lance Corporal
Staff Sergeant
Warrant Officer Class Two
Warrant Officer Class One

Private Catherall

The first non commissioned ranks were admitted to the QARANC in July 1950. Private Ann Catherall was the first junior rank of the QAs with the army service number Q1000001. She was presented with a clock momento (cited in the book Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (Famous Regts. S) by Juliet Piggott).

This was presented by Gen Sir James Steele, the Adjutant General, during the opening of the QARANC Depot and Training Establishment in Hindhead. More can read on the QA Nurses Training Centre page.

This photo, taken in December 1966, shows Ann Catherall on the left. It was taken during a Christmas sketch by junior ranks dressing as officers. They managed to borrow the capes and caps for the occasion and she is wearing a dark wig to cover her platinum blonde hair. She played the role of Matron. In the middle is Sue Bristow-Jones, who played Deputy Matron, whilst the contributor of the picture Celia Glew (now Deakin) “volunteered” to play the part of Detatchment Officer/Personnel Officer.

Ann Catherall Sue Bristow Jones Celia Glew christmas sketch

The sketch was called Cinder Ella. The plot saw Pte Ella coming in late, having spent time with her Swedish boyfriend. They were singing (borrowed from Gilbert & Sullivan):

"When they come before us on a charge,
We always bang the desk and say,
They shan't go out, They shan't go out,
They shan't go out, They shan't go out,
They must stay in for 14 days!

Ann went on to have a long career and became a Sergeant and was posted to BMH Dhekelia in 1966 where she married a Finnish soldier serving with the UN Peacekeeping Force and went to live in Helsinki.

Non Commissioned Officer Ranks

Other first non commissioned officer ranks in this first intake included Privates J. Thomas and V. Henfield. There was also Private Jessie Reeves who had transferred from the ATS (Auxilliary Territorial Service) and won best all round recruit. Her prize was awarded by the Nursing Mirror. Another member of this first training cadre with previous service was Private V. Joyce. There were 750 applications. They would complete three months training at the Depot, then four months training to nursing orderly class three, then twelve months later reach grade two and then after their four year engagement be able to pass the State Registered Nurse examination (cited from Soldier Magazine November 1950)

The January 1951 edition of the AMS Magazine featured Private Catherall, the first private soldier of the QARANC. Pte Catherall was posted to QAMH Millbank and there is a photo of Pte Catherall standing by the main officers entrance. The article cites her year and place of birth as 1932 in Liverpool. Her mother was a nurse at the Western Hospital in Liverpool.

Army Field Nurse Members of The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps can apply for a nursing commission to give them officer status at any time in their career. See the officer rank structure page.

The Soldier Magazine of March 1953 featured the first 15 non-commissioned officers to be posted to Hong Kong from the Corps Depot in Hindhead. It pictured their new khaki service dress, No 1 uniform with grey and scarlet facings and their light-weight tropical dress and grey ward dress with white caps, which they referred to as Sister Dora type. These 15 NCOs were to replace members of the Royal Army Medical Corps on the hospital wards whilst undertaking their SRN training. The article interviewed a Sister who described how they would learn about tropical diseases and gunshot wounds. It went on to say that the highest NCO rank was Staff-Serjeant but that a Warrant Officers’ course would soon start and result in the first Corps Regimental Serjeant Major.

Junior Ranks

The first junior ranks QA NCOs to apply for a commission was in 1954. These were three Non Commissioned Officers who had passed their State Registered Nurse (SRN) examination (cited 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:

"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.

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.

More Information.

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.

First Warrant Officer

The Soldier Magazine of March 1957 has a photo and information about the QARANC first Warrant Officer Jean Deakin. She served as chief clerk to the Assistant Director Medical Services in Germany. She replaced a WOI of the RAMC. Her army career started four and a half years previously as a nursing orderly.

Army Establishment Figures Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps

Soldier Applying Camoflage Cream UK Army establishment figures for the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (trained personnel) for 2004 was at a strength of 805. This figure represents Other Ranks (OR). This figure does not include full time reserve services or mobilised reservists. The 2012 army ranks figures for all regular personnel was 1095.

Officer figures are on the Officer ranks page.

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.

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.

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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.

Free Book Operation wrath

Free Book.
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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