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Mary Agnes Crawford Blair RRC MM was born on 19 November 1874 in Glasgow, the daughter of Ogilvie Heggie Blair, a merchant and manufacturing agent, and Frances Margaret Crawford, his wife. She was educated at Pollokshields Public School, Glasgow and trained as a nurse at the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, from May 1894 to May 1897. She joined Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service Reserve at No. 637 on 22 June 1900, serving in South Africa from 30 June 1900 to 27 June 1903, principally at 14 General Hospital, Newcastle and on troop transports. She returned to Glasgow after the war and in 1905 was a Staff Nurse at the Victoria Royal Infirmary, Glasgow. She was appointed Matron of the Kelso Dispensary and Cottage Hospital in 1908.

QAs are known for their versatility and for bringing a wide range of skills to their military role. Maj Alison Cripps QARANC is no different! Having studied classical music for most of her childhood/adult life, Alison has undertaken classical voice training (mezzo-soprano) throughout her military career in conjunction with the demands that a military nursing career brings.

Friday, 05 September 2014 00:00

Colonel Commandant QARANC

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Colonel Jane Davis OBE QVRM TD DL QARANC (V) was appointed as one of the two Colonels Commandant Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) in May 2014. She succeeds Colonel Rosie Kennedy CBE who held this appointment for six years. Colonel Davis has enjoyed a 33 year career with the Reserves and has undertaken many key appointments including those on operational deployment. When not employed in her military role, Jane is holds a senior nursing appointment within the NHS, undertakes work for the Nursing and Midwifery Council and is on the Board of the Halo Trust. She is also a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London.

In 2008 it was decided to appoint two Colonels Commandant. They are appointed by the Military Secretary following approval by Her Majesty the Queen for a five year tenure. The other Colonel Commandant is Colonel Sue Bush RRC who was appointed in 2011 following retirement from regular service in 2007. Despite the many changes to the Corps over recent years the roles and functions of these Officers remains unchanged. These are to guard Corps traditions, foster esprit-de-Corp and represent the interests of the Corps. They maintain a special relationship with the Colonel-In-Chief, Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex and have access to those holding other key appointments. Whilst appreciating the current immense pressures in military units and the differing challenges faced by the QARANC Association, the Colonels Commandant very much wish ensure they remain in touch and contact with both serving and retired personnel. The Colonels Commandant are happy to visit serving personnel in units, whilst on exercise or undertaking training and are happy to be included in Association meetings or any other Branch activity.

Contact should be made through the Regimental Secretary QARANC/General Secretary QARANC Association. Timely notification of proposed invitation dates is required to ensure appropriate planning.

Major Jennifer Jackson has served as a volunteer reservist in the QARANC for 32 years.During Jennifer's 32 years as a Reservist she has seen more than her fair share of action; apart from dealing with the realities of a war zone field hospital, saluting the Queen during her Golden Jubilee she also played a vital role in the London Olympics, her life has been packed full of variety, interest and challenge.

This is a fascinating story of a family (The Beaufoy Family) and the effect of the Great War upon them. The book is centred around Matron Katy Beaufoy and her personal diaries of her serving in both the Boer Ward and World War 1.

Bright and early on 4th August 2014, five members of the Millbank Branch met outside The Grand Hotel, on The Leas Folkestone. Here they joined over 1000 servicemen and women, veterans and civilian volunteers for the Step Short Parade.

The Not Forgotten Association is a charity providing entertainment and leisure facilities for Service and ex-Service men and women whose lives have been affected by injury during or after Service in the Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force. The Chief Executive of the Association is Colonel (Rtd) Piers Storie-Pugh whose late father was interned in Colditz during WW2.

"The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

100 years later on 4th August 2014, as a nation we are being encouraged to join together in a united moment of reflection by turning off our lights between 10pm and 11pm, leaving a single candle lit, to mark the time when Britain's ultimatum with Germany expired and war commenced.

For Beverley Gall, Lights Out will also be the start of a 4-year poignant journey.

A former Combat Medic, wife to an ex-Royal Engineer, and mother to a 16 year old son poised to join the Army, Beverley knows only too well of the sacrifices made by those who volunteer to fight for their country.

"Taxi for McNair" called the hall porter, as my husband Clive and I stepped out into the lovely sunshine and into the awaiting cab, asking the London cabbie for Buckingham Palace.

The day was Thursday 26th June 2014, and leaving Lancaster Gate, we were soon driving through the outskirts of Mayfair. With its bright flowerbeds and then on passing the magnificent green trees of the Mall as we drove along the red tarmac of the Palace precincts, where our driver stopped at the corner-drop off point. Clambering out of the cab, I grabbed the two sturdy hospital sticks, which my kind GP had especially organised for me (after my cry for help realising that with my poor mobility, that I needed something reliable to lean on!)

From 5 August 2014 to 11 November 2014, a major artistic installation entitled 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' will see the Tower of London's famous dry moat filled with over 800,000 ceramic poppies to create a powerful visual commemoration for the First World War Centenary.


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A Career in Army Nursing


The QARANC employs Officers and Soldiers in both the Regular and Reserve Army, as Registered Nurses, Student Nurses, and Health Care Assistants, and we are always looking for people. If you are interested in a career as a Nurse or Health Care Assistant which also offers other great opportunities then you are just the person we are looking for. A career in the QARANC is more than a job, you will have access to extensive training and development opportunities, not just related to your job, but personal development too. You will have the opportunity to use your skills in diverse settings – wherever the Army is employed health care professionals from the QARANC are there. Right now there are QARANC personnel working around the world, including Sierra Leone, Canada, Mali, Afghanistan, Germany, and Cyprus. Being in the QARANC you will have access to, and be expected to undertake adventurous training, and you will have access to free medical and dental care, as well as robust annual leave and pension package. For information contact a member of the QARANC recruiting team on: 01276 412741, 01276 412742 or 01276 412740 or visit

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