Archivists have discovered long-lost records that document medals awarded to up to 6,000 women who worked as nurses during World War I.
The records, which were found in a box donated to the Army Medical Services Museum, list members of the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) who were recognised for their outstanding contribution.
The TFNS was created in 1909 to support the Territorial Army and was made up of civilian nurses who volunteered their time to work in military hospitals in the UK and overseas.
“For years I had been telling people these records didn’t exist”
The newly-uncovered information includes nurses’ names, addresses and other details, such as where they served and dates of service.
Medals awarded to these brave individuals include the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the Territorial War Medal – one of the rarest First World War campaign medals.
The records will be available online on the Forces War Records website from today, though it should be noted that relatives will have to pay a subscription to gain full access to the information held on their ancestors.
The stack of documents was found by Forces War Records director Phil Cooper, who said he “couldn’t believe his eyes” when he realised what he was looking at.
“I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” said Ceri Cage, collections curator at the Army Medical Services Museum. “For years I had been telling people these records didn’t exist.”
Forces War Records was created in 2008 and has entries on over seven million individuals. It is the sister site of Forces Reunited, a social media site for British military veterans.