Gallant Service: Oldham Nurse’s Great Distinction Twice Mentioned
In the War of 1914-18 Q.A.I.M.N.S.R. Sister A.H. Wormald was mentioned in a dispatch from General Sir Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., D.S.O.,A.D.C., dated 11th December, 1915, for gallant and distinguished services in the field, I have it in command from the King to record His Majesty’s high appreciation of the services rendered – Winston S. Churchill, Secretary of State for War, War Office, Whitehall, S.W. March 1919.
This was the first of two certificates received in March 1919 by Sister Ada Wormald from the War Office announcing her mention in dispatches. The second certificate was similarly worded but was from Lieutenant-General Sir J.G. Maxwell, K.C.B, K.C.M.G., C.V.O., D.S.O., and dated 16 March 1916.
Ada Hannah Wormald was born on 11 June 1880 the eldest daughter of Thomas and Mary Wormald of 188 Union Street, Rhodes Bank, Oldham. Her father was a dental surgeon. She was educated at Hulme Grammar School, Oldham and then trained as a nurse at the General Infirmary and Dispensary, Bolton, from 1909 to 1912. After leaving Bolton she spent periods at the Maternity Hospital, Birmingham; the Corbett Hospital, Stourbridge; and as a Ward and Theatre Nurse at Clayton Hospital, Wakefield.
She applied to the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve on 3 November 1914 and signed for overseas service 6 January 1915. Following a period of military training in Edinburgh, where her first patients were sailors from the German battleship Blucher which had been sunk in the North Sea, she went out to Gallipoli in June 1915 to work on hospital ships. As a result of her work at Gallipoli she was mentioned in dispatches by General Sir Ian Hamilton and received the Royal Red Cross Decoration. Only the Matron and Sister Wormald received the decoration but Ada thought that every sister on the ship deserved it.
Following the evacuation of Gallipoli Sister Wormald remained in Egypt becoming matron at the Government Hospital, Benha and at the General Hospital, Cairo. It was here that she received her second mention in dispatches for nursing in the provinces of Egypt.
In November 1918 she moved to the Armenian Refugee Hospital, Port Said from were she received a glowing reference from the Commanding Officer:
I have the honour to report that Miss A H Wormald, Sister, QAIMSNR was matron of the Armenian Refugee Hospital, Port Said for a period of six months. She showed herself to be a capable organiser and performed her duties very efficiently. She worked well herself and got her subordinates to work well too. I should strongly recommend her for a further period of service.
After being demobilised in September 1919 she returned to Egypt where in December 1920 she was appointed matron by the Egyptian Government, of a hospital at Mansoura, about 120 km north east of Cairo on the east bank of the Damietta branch of the Nile, in the delta region.
Ada Hannah Wormald died at Budleigh Salterton, Devon in 1967.
This blog post was written by Sandra Ratcliffe at Oldham Local Studies and Archives.
National Archives: WO/399/9242
Oldham Evening Chronicle, 10 Jun 1916; 2 Jul 1921