Louisa Wilkinson

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Dame Louisa Jane Wilkinson DBE RRC (née Lumsden; 11 December 1889 – 4 December 1968) was an English nurse who was Matron-in-Chief of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) (1944–48)[1] and founded Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC). She was also president of the Royal College of Nursing.[2]

Wilkinson was born Louisa Lumsden in Sunderland, the daughter of merchant seaman James Lumsden and Louisa Lumsden (née Benskin). She was educated at Bede Collegiate School in Sunderland and Thornbeck Collegiate School in Darlington.[2]

The 22-year-old Lumsden began her training in 1911 at the Royal Infirmary in Sunderland. She had just finished her training when the First World War began in August 1914, and she promptly enlisted as a reserve in Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS). In December 1917, but her husband was killed on active duty during World War I.[2]

On 20 December 1917 she married Capt. Robert John Wilkinson of the Royal Irish Fusiliers at the Fulham register office, but killed in action barely six months later in France on 2 July 1918.[2][3]

Wilkinson became a regular member of the QAIMNS, and saw service during both World Wars. She was appointed Matron in Chief from 1944–48, and after retirement was named Colonel Commandant. Dame Louisa Wilkinson founded the QARANC Association in 1947.

She died in 1968 in Crowborough of a coronary thrombosis.[2]



  1. ^ Piggott, Juliet (1990). Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Pen and Sword. p. 113. ISBN 9781473817395. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Cohen, Susan L. "Wilkinson [née Lumsden], Dame Louisa Jane (1889–1968), military nurse". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/52050.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Ireland, Casualties of World War I, 1914-1922
  4. ^ "No. 31281". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 April 1919. p. 4679. 
  5. ^ "No. 35204". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 June 1941. p. 3751. 
  6. ^ "No. 36033". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 May 1943. p. 2426. 
  7. ^ "No. 37598". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1946. p. 2769. 
  8. ^ "No. 38161". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1947. p. 10. 

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