Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps

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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 The QAs
Motto Sub cruce candida
(Under the White Cross)
March Quick: Grey and Scarlet[1]
Matron-in-Chief (Army) Colonel David Bates ARRC L/QARANC
Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO
Tactical Recognition Flash QARANC TRF.svg

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] 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.[3] It replaced 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.[4] 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.[4]

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.

In 2009 Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) were entitled to commission.

Senior Corps Appointments[edit]

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. The current Director of Army Nursing Services (DANS) is Colonel David Bates ARRC QHN L/QARANC.

Territorial Army Nursing Service[edit]

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 1920, when the Territorial Force was renamed the Territorial Army. It existed until 1949, when it became the Territorial Army branch of QARANC.


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

QAIMNS rank Equivalent Army rank (from 1941)
Staff Nurse[5]
Sister Lieutenant
Senior Sister[6] Captain
Matron Major
Principal Matron Lieutenant-Colonel
Chief Principal Matron[7] Colonel
Matron-in-Chief Brigadier

From 30 May 1941 QAIMNS personnel were granted emergency commissions and wore rank insignia corresponding to their equivalent Army rank.

The TFNS/TANS ranking system was identical.

On 1 February 1949 the women's forces were integrated into the armed forces. Initially, QARANC, along with the Women's Royal Army Corps, adopted the old Auxiliary Territorial Service ranking system, with the Matron-in-Chief holding the rank of Senior Controller, but in 1950 both corps switched to ordinary Army ranks. Professional titles were still used on the wards.

Other Ranks were introduced in 1956.

List of Matrons-in-Chief QAIMNS/QARANC[edit]

List of Matrons-in-Chief TFNS/TANS[edit]

See also[edit]

Other Army medical services[edit]

Other Armed Forces nursing services[edit]


  1. ^ Grey and Scarlet - The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps Quick March
  2. ^ QARANC - Our History
  3. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence - Imperial Military Nursing Service" The Times (London). Friday, 28 March 1902. (36727), p. 8.
  4. ^ a b Gordon, Peter; Doughan, David (2001). Dictionary of British Women's Organisations, 1825-1960. p. 120. 
  5. ^ Phased out before 1944.
  6. ^ Introduced at some time between 1902 and 1919 as Assistant Matron.
  7. ^ Introduced in the 1920s.
  8. ^ a b c Such was the expansion of QAIMNS during the First World War that there were three Matrons-in-Chief simultaneously (Becher, McCarthy & Oram).

Order of precedence[edit]

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

External links[edit]