TM1999_289.jpg Badge, New Zealand Army Nursing Service. Collection of Puke Ariki (TM1999.289).

This badge was worn by Mary Ellen Affleck, a daughter of Robert and Jessie Affleck, of Opunake. Mary, a trained nurse, embarked for World War One as a Staff Nurse with the New Zealand Army Nursing Service Corps in August 1915. She served in the New Zealand General Hospital in Cairo, Egypt and, later, in the General Hospital in Brockenhurst, England. She also appears to have served on hospital transport ships.

In all, 550 nurses served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the war, and many others enlisted in the United Kingdom. Nurses received a mixed reception while on active service, although many people were very complementary, dismissive and patronising attitudes towards them were also common. In the book While You’re Away by Anna Rogers, World War One Nurse Gladys Luxford remembers: “…at this time we were called angels and all sorts of endearments, as you can imagine what it meant to men just from the battlefield.” 

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