Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps

Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps

Cap Badge of the QARANC
Active 1902 – present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Role Medical support
Part of Army Medical Services
Nickname(s) The QAs
Motto(s) Sub cruce candida
(Under the White Cross)
March Quick: Grey and Scarlet[1]
Chief Nursing Officer (Army) Colonel Karen Irvine RRC QHN L/QARANC
Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO
Tactical Recognition Flash

Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC; commonly known as the QAs) is the nursing branch of the British Army and part of the Army Medical Services.


Although an "official" nursing service was not established until 1881, the corps traces its heritage to Florence Nightingale, who was instrumental in lobbying for the support of female military nurses.[2] The Army Nursing Service, which had been established in 1881, and which from 1889 provided Sisters for all Army hospitals with at least 100 beds,[3] had only a small number of nurses in its employ. In 1897, in an effort to have nurses available if needed for war, the service was supplemented by Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service Reserve (PCANSR). Nurses registered for the service and by the beginning of the First Boer War the reserve had around 100 members, but swelled its membership to over 1400 during the conflict. PCANSR eventually became the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.[4] In March 1902, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) was established by Royal Warrant, and was named after Queen Alexandra, who became its President.[5] In 1949, the QAIMNS became a corps in the British Army and was renamed as the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Since 1950 the organisation has trained nurses, and in 1992 men were allowed to join.[3]

The associated Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps Association is a registered charity. Queen Alexandra was President from 1902 until her death in 1925. The following year she was succeeded by Queen Mary.[6]

Senior Corps Appointments

The Colonel In Chief is HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO. The Corps has two Colonels Commandant, Colonel Sue Bush RRC who was appointed in 2011 and Colonel Jane Davis OBE QVRM TD DL who was appointed in 2014.[7]

Territorial Army Nursing Service

The Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) was established in 1909 as a sister organisation to the QAIMNS. Its purpose was to supplement the regular service in emergencies and all its members worked as nurses in civilian life. It was renamed the Territorial Army Nursing Service (TANS) in 1921, when the Territorial Force was renamed the Territorial Army.[8]


The initial ranking system used by the QAIMNS was as follows.

QAIMNS rank Equivalent Army rank (from 1941)
Staff Nurse[9]
Sister Lieutenant
Senior Sister[10] Captain
Matron Major
Principal Matron Lieutenant-Colonel
Chief Principal Matron[11] Colonel
Matron-in-Chief Brigadier

List of Matrons-in-Chief QAIMNS/QARANC

A letter of recommendation signed by the Matron in Chief for a nurse in the QAIMNS Reserve who served from 1915-19 "in Egypt and At Home" (1925)

List of Matrons-in-Chief TFNS/TANS

See also

Other Army medical services

Other Armed Forces nursing services


  1. Grey and Scarlet - The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps Quick March
  2. QARANC - Our History
  3. 1 2 Gordon, Peter; Doughan, David (2001). Dictionary of British Women's Organisations, 1825-1960. p. 120.
  4. Piggott, Juliet (1990). Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Havertown, England: Pen and Sword. pp. 37, 53. ISBN 978-1-4738-1739-5.
  5. "Naval & Military intelligence - Imperial Military Nursing Service". The Times (36727). London. 28 March 1902. p. 8.
  6. "Skirt worn by Sister A Stewart Wyatt, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, 1902". National Army Museum. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  7. "Colonels Commandant". Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  8. "Territorial Force Nursing Service". Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  9. Phased out before 1944.
  10. Introduced at some time between 1902 and 1919 as Assistant Matron.
  11. Introduced in the 1920s.
  12. 1 2 3 Such was the expansion of QAIMNS during the First World War that there were three Matrons-in-Chief simultaneously (Becher, McCarthy & Oram).
  13. Newman, Vivien (2014). We Also Served: The Forgotten Women of the First World War. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England: Pen and Sword. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-4738-4527-5.
  14. "The Passing Bell" (PDF). The British Journal of Nursing. London, England: Royal British Nurses Association. 66 (1713): 66. 29 January 1921. Retrieved 3 September 2016.

Order of precedence

Preceded by
General Service Corps
Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Corps of Army Music
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