New Zealand South African War nurses

New Zealand South African War nurses

These nurses from Canterbury were the first to leave New Zealand for the South African War in January 1900. From left to right: Sister Annie Hiatt; Sister Gertrude Littlecott; Sister Emily Peter; and Sister Grace Webster.

It is estimated that around 30 New Zealand women worked in South Africa as nurses.

I found that I had to take the milk into my own hands, it was continually going bad through being put into dirty basins, bottles, etc. The doctors were all very pleasant, but from belonging to an ambulance corps whose only duty is to pick up the wounded on the field, they had no notion of cleanliness or antiseptics. The rooms were filthy everything I touched dirty. I had only one old table napkin that I looted to dry up everything on.

Sister Emily Peter in Gavin McLean and Ian McGibbon with Kynan Gentry (eds), The Penguin Book of New Zealanders at War , Penguin, North Shore, 2009, p. 87

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