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Assistant Head Health Strategy / Chief Nursing Officer (Army)

Senior Health Advisor (Army) Department

Colonel Alison McCourt joined the Army in 1988. Following nurse training and service within the ranks in the United Kingdom and Germany, Alison was selected for commission in the QARANC in 1994. She subsequently undertook specialist training in Emergency Nursing at Leeds University and since then has undertaken a number of Clinical, Regimental and Staff appointments. 

Alison has deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Sierra Leone.  Following her deployment to Bosnia as the Senior Nursing Officer of the hospital she was awarded the honour of Associate Royal Red Cross. Subsequent assignments include Officer Instructor at the Defence Medical Services Training Centre and a deployment to Kosovo as the Senior Nursing Officer for 33 Field Hospital in 2001. During that operational tour she was the in-theatre lead for the establishment of the joint UK/US hospital facility at Camp Bondsteel.

Her first staff appointment was as SO3 Medical Operations and Training at Headquarters 3rd (United Kingdom) Division in 2001 which included a deployment with the headquarters on Op TELIC 2. Following promotion to Major she attended the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) in 2005.  In 2008 she returned to clinical duties prior to deploying as an individual augmentee for 22 Field Hospital on Op TELIC 13. This was followed by Sub Unit Command with 22 Field Hospital, as Officer Commanding 13 Medical Evacuation Squadron. During this period Alison completed a Post Graduate Diploma in International Human Resource Management which she has recently progressed to MSc.

Following promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 2011, Alison attended the Advanced Command and Staff Course. Her initial SO1 appointment was as Chief of Staff, Headquarters 2nd Medical Brigade in York in Aug 2012.  Alison assumed Command of 22 Field Hospital in July 2013 and deployed the Unit to Sierra Leone on Op GRITROCK in Oct 14.  She was awarded an OBE for her leadership of 22 Field during Op GRITROCK.

On promotion to Colonel in Dec 2015 she assumed an appointment in the newly established Senior Health Advisors department and has been the lead for Assurance and now Health Strategy in that area. 

Alison assumed the appointment of Chief Nursing Officer for the Army on 1 Feb 18.

Remembrance Travel for The Royal British Legion are on a mission to find every single surviving veteran of the Second World War, and offer them a chance to revisit the places they served during the war. The tours are being fully funded by the Treasury from LIBOR bank fines and will enable veterans, along with a carer and family member, to return free-of-charge to the battlefields of their youth to pay respects to fallen comrades. 

Over the past four years they have enabled Normandy veterans to return to the D-Day beaches on such journeys of remembrance, and thanks to the success of this campaign we are now able to extend this offer to all veterans of the Second World War this year. New Normandy dates are available each year and they intend to add tours to other worldwide locations in the future in line with demand. 

These poignant tours visit battlefields, cemeteries and include group and personal acts of remembrance. Since these tours started, The Royal British Legion has had the privilege to take hundreds of veterans back in what has been an emotive and cathartic experience for all. In the words of one veteran: "All the ghosts have been laid. If you get the chance to go back, you go." 

There is no database of currently living Second World War veterans - the majority are now in their 90s, so they are calling on your Regimental and Corps networks and associations to help us spread the word. If you do know a veteran, please let them know about our free tours. 

In addition to our LIBOR funded tours, Remembrance Travel is also offering competitively priced remembrance tours to other locations. The two on offer this year are a river cruise over Armistice Day and a tour to Burma. All tours are accompanied by a qualified guide and a doctor or medic: Discounts will be considered for those veterans who meet certain eligibility requirements if they served in the areas visited on these tours. 

Veterans interested in joining any of these tours need to apply to our tour operator, Arena Travel on 01473 660800, or visit 

Normandy 6 Day tours departing various dates each month
Monte Cassino (RBL funded) 15-19 May 2018
Normandy Veterans UK based tour at National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) 01 June 2018
Burma 08-16 November 2018
Armistice River Cruise (Netherlands) 06-13 November 2018

As part of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) day celebrations 2018, the Army Medical Services (AMS) Polo Team would like to celebrate the contribution made to the team by QARANC personnel.

The AMS Polo Team is comprised of personnel from the four Corps that make the AMS; the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC), the Royal Army Dental Corps (RADC) and the QARANC.

2017 was a successful year for the AMS Polo team and the successes would not have been possible without the contribution of the QARANC players.

Meet some of our players…..

Name: Paul Erhahiemen

Rank: Lt

Regular or Reservist: Regular

Role (Army): Nursing Officer (RCDM)

How long have you played polo: A good few years.

Did you ride before you took up polo: Yes, I was in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

How did you get into polo: I attended a taster session at Hampshire Polo School and got hooked.

Besides AMS Polo where else do you play: I play at my home clubs in the Midlands; Offchurch Bury Polo, Rugby Polo and Dallas Burston Polo. I have recently been selected to represent the Army Development Team.

Do you own a pony: Yes; five polo ponies. 

What do you like about polo: I love the game, the speed, skill and the champagne. Win or loose, I always leave the pitch feeling good.

What elements of the sport do you use in your job role: Multitasking to a high standard. Polo requires the player to control the pony at speed, swing a mallet and hit a small ball, ensuring personal safety and that of the other players and ponies whilst adhering to a multitude of rules. As a nursing officer, my role requires this critical skill.

Do you partake in other equestrian sports: Not actively as polo takes up most of my time. I have however been involved in cross-country, show jumping and hunting.

Advice for non-polo players: You must give it a go. It’s good fun, great for all round fitness and the socials are fantastic.

Tell us one polo fact: The equines used are called ‘polo ponies’ as traditionally polo was played on ponies. Nowadays, the mounts are full sized horses but are still referred to as ponies.

Contact Details


Twitter: @AMSPoloTeam


Instagram: AMSPoloTeam

2018 Fixtures list

28 May - Royal Artillery Cup - Tidworth Polo Club

24 June - Birmingham Polo Festival - Rugby Polo Club

21/22 July - Captains and Subalterns - Tidworth Polo Club

27 Aug - AGC Cup - Tidworth Polo Club

TBC - Heritage Cup - RMAS


As part of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) day celebrations 2018, the Army Medical Services (AMS) Polo Team would like to celebrate the contribution made to the team by QARANC personnel.

The AMS Polo Team is comprised of personnel from the four Corps that make the AMS; the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC), the Royal Army Dental Corps (RADC) and the QARANC.

2017 was a successful year for the AMS Polo team and the successes would not have been possible without the contribution of the QARANC players.

Meet some of our players….. 

Name: Mollie Darwin

Rank: Pte

Regular or Reservist: Regular

Role: Student Nurse (DSHE)

How long have you played polo: 2 years

Did you ride before you took up polo: Yes, I’ve been riding for a total of 20 years.

How did you get into polo: I joined the university club as a way to be around horses while away from home.

Besides AMS Polo where else do you play: Offchurch Bury Polo Club and Birmingham City University Polo Team.

Do you own a pony: Yes, I own 2 ex-racehorses and a Cob.

What do you like about polo: The teamwork and trust between teammates and horses.  Polo is a game where you ride one handed as fast as you can, while trying to hit a small ball and remaining aware of the seven other horses and riders around you. It’s an incredible sport to participate in and watch.  

What elements of the sport do you use in your job role: Working as a team; in polo you have to support each other whether that be marking a player so your team mate can get to the ball or following up behind so you can take a hit if your player misses. In both the army and nursing, teamwork is the very basis of achieving success in any task; whether that is providing effective healthcare or delivering an effective section attack. 

Do you partake in other equestrian sports: No

Advice for non-polo players: Give it a go! Even if you’ve never sat on a horse before, I would highly recommend trying it.

Tell us one polo fact: Polo must be played with the right hand because the games principles follow the same rules as the road. 

As part of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) day celebrations 2018, the Army Medical Services (AMS) Polo Team would like to celebrate the contribution made to the team by QARANC personnel.

The AMS Polo Team is comprised of personnel from the four Corps that make the AMS; the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC), the Royal Army Dental Corps (RADC) and the QARANC.

2017 was a successful year for the AMS Polo team and the successes would not have been possible without the contribution of the QARANC players.

Meet some of our players….

Name: Samantha Bunyan

Rank: Maj

Regular or Reservist: Reservist

Role (Army): OC 154 Squadron, 225 Medical Regt

Role (Civilian): Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Head of Nursing

How long have you played polo: 1 year

Did you ride before you took up polo: Yes

How did you get into polo: I went to a tri-service match in Scotland to support reservist colleagues that I had met on a training course and was persuaded to give it a try.

Besides AMS Polo where else do you play: I play at a local club and indoor arena polo for lessons. 

Do you own a pony: Yes. 

What do you like about polo: I love the competition on the pitch, the camaraderie, learning and practicing the skills required -balance, poise, control, tactics, strength, endurance, power and grit!

What elements of the sport do you use in your job role: The tactical elements, planning strategy, supporting each other and working as a team to achieve the goal.

Do you partake in other equestrian sports: Not yet, but feel the skills and confidence in riding that I have gained in learning to play polo could easily be transferred to another discipline and I will certainly be investigating other options, especially if it will enhance my game performance. 

Advice for non-polo players: Polo is a game that anyone can learn, even if you haven’t ridden before or if your riding skills are at novice level. It is great fun, builds personal confidence and fitness.

Tell us one polo fact: The line of the ball is the extended path along which the ball has travelled or is travelling, and is used to decide which player has precedence.


From time to time the Association receives requests to provide contact details of its members to other individuals and organisations, or a request for us to search our records for information. However data protection legislation makes it clear that we can only use data for the purpose for which it has been collected. In our case, we use members’ personal information in connection with their membership, to tell them about events and to send them the QARANC Association Gazette twice a year. The Association does not release members contact details to third parties. It is possible for a notice to be placed in the Gazette, depending on the nature of the enquiry. This may take some months to be done, but a response is unlikely.

We also receive requests from previous members of the Corps for information about their careers or their service details. Regimental Headquarters does not hold any records about previous members of the Corps, and these are held at the Army Personnel Centre. These records are available on application to the Army Personnel Centre by the individual, or the next of kin of a deceased individual. The Museum of Military Medicine likewise does not hold personnel records of individuals.

The National Archives hold records up to 1920 of individuals who served in the Armed Forces. These are in the public domain. A reader ticket is required to look at records, and charges are made for copies.

Useful contacts:

The National Archives:

Veterans UK:

Service records 1920 onwards:

RHQ would like to remind  members that annual subscriptions to the Association are now due.

Members should check their bank accounts to see if direct debits/standing orders have been paid.

Any member who still pays annually by cheque should send a cheque for £12.00  to the General Secretary at RHQ. Direct debit mandates are available from RHQ for members to change from cheque payment to direct debit.

The QARANC Association 70th Anniversary first day cover was launched officially on 1 December 2017. This is an auspicious date as it is the anniversary of the birthday in 1844 of Alexandra at the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen. In 1902 she became the Patron of the newly formed Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, and her name continued to be associated with the service when it became Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps in 1949.

Now that all the orders have been filled and sent out, there is a limited number of covers still available to purchase from RHQ. The cost is £7.50 including postage.

If you wish to purchase one, please send your cheque (Payable to the QARANC Association) for £7.50 to: Regimental Secretary, RHQ QARANC, HQ AMS, Robertson House, Slim Road, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 4NP.

If you are unable to send a cheque, please use a postal order as we do not currently have the facility to accept payment by Paypal or BACS. Please do not send cash. In order to fulfil your order promptly please include your name and address, including post code, a day time telephone number and email address.

From being crowned successful winners of the 2015/2016 West Midlands Cross Country League and the British Army Cross Country Championships, the Department of Healthcare Education (DHE) team led by Cpl Richardson, have gone on to continue their winning streak by winning the UK Midlands Inter Services Cross Country Championships 2016/2017.The teams success continued at the Cross Country Championships held at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where they came runners up. Finding time from their busy university studies, hospital placements and military commitments, DHE have always turned up with strength in numbers with most races having 15 personnel competing.

From the beginning of the season DHE’s presence was well known and the team were strong from start to finish maintaining a positive attitude throughout the season. Overall there were 17 Midlands Female teams that took part over the season.  DHE took 1st place in both the Female team category, and Junior Female category with Pte Griffin taking 1st place, an excellent win at her first season, where she continued to place 1st and 2nd place in most races. Pte Smith placed 3rd senior female making a strong appearance this season attending all league races followed by Cpl Bees in 4th position. Strong runners this year included Cpl Hodgkinson, Pte MacDonald and SAC Kershaw who due to other running commitments within the Army and RAF services could only attend a few races this year but still had a large impact on the team.

A hearty congratulations to all who took part

Article by: LCpl Katie Needham, Student Nurse, Department of Healthcare Education

2017 saw the re launch of the Army Medical Services (AMS) Polo Team, led by Lt Paul Erhahiemen QARANC.

AMS Polo was actually formed in 2011 but play slowed down due to operational commitments.  The Captains and Subalterns Trophy held at Tidworth Polo Club in July saw the AMS team return to the military polo arena and take second place in its division having out performed the Household Cavalry and the Welsh Guards on day one, with the Royal Dragoon Guards narrowly clenching victory on day two.

The Captains and Subalterns (C&S) Trophy is the second oldest polo cup in the world having been instituted by the 9/12th Lancers playing at Hounslow in 1896. Nowadays, the tournament is held at Tidworth Polo Club over two days, with entries from over 20 Army teams, plus teams from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.  Teams are put into divisions based on handicaps, thus offering a fair chance of winning.  Team AMS delivered an outstanding performance given the challenges faced by the team, players being based all over the world, coming together for training poses an enormous challenge.

The team consisted of Pte Mollie Darwin QARANC, a Student Nurse at the Defence School of Healthcare Studies, Lt Paul Erhahiemen QARANC, Nursing Officer at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Capt Emily Summers RADC, Dental Officer based in Dhekelia, Cyprus and Maj Olivia Allenby-Dilley RAMC (ICSC (L)).

AMS Guests were hosted in the AMS Gazebo with a champagne aperitif. The team’s successful re launch was celebrated with Lt Paul Erhahiemen showing off the art of sabrage with a magnum bottle of Jean Boucton Champagne in the presence of a large crowd of spectators . The technique of opening a bottle with a sabre became popular in France when the armies of Napoleon celebrated their victories. Napoleon is known to have said "Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it." The blade travels up the neck of the bottle to break it away near the cork, leaving the main body of the bottle open and ready to pour.

Also in attendance were the team sponsors: Jean-Christophe Boucton – Director, Jean Boucton Champagne, Alastair Barlow – Director, StaaG Fashion, Richard Glenn –Manager, Jaguar Land Rover Marshall Military. The C&S trophy was a successful event for AMS Polo and an excellent family day out.

Thanks to our Sponsors

StaaG Fashion

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4. Obsessive attention to detail and quality.

5. Exclusivity through limited editions and personalisation.

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Jean Boucton Champagne

Champagne Jean Boucton is a privately owned family managed House born out of close ties within the same family of producers, bringing together the knowledge and ‘savoir faire’ of different wine makers to create a unique and exclusive range of high end Vintage and Cuvée Champagnes.



Jaguar Land Rover – Marshall Military Sales

Jaguar Land Rover is a known British luxury carmaker. Marshall Military specialises in providing Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles to serving personnel at preferential rates offering up to 30% discount. Military personnel are also offered further exclusive benefits.

Contact: Tel: +441733 213231


Photography by Jason Bax of Equuis Photography – Official Photographer of the AMS Polo Team.


Back to the Map

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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