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Nina May Palmer

Group, WW1, c1915. Nurse Palmer at the back, tall with the most badges. Miss May Palmer and some of her patients, the "Soft drink" lady with the "Cruche", the man with the Dum-dum" injury, Sister Dorothy. Published with "Under the French Red Cross" in Kai Tiaki January 1915 p 16. The accompanying article included the words: "showing herself with her patients and assistants in a hospital ward". originally published in Kai Tiaki - No known copyright restrictions
Group, WW1, c1915. Nurse Palmer at the back, tall with the m … Read more


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Nina May AWMM
  • Surname
    Palmer AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    May Palmer AWMM
  • Service number
  • Gender
    Female AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    1871 AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Unknown AWMM Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status
    Unknown AWMM Single/WWI AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    1915-1916 Gallipoli AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Embarkation details
    • WW1
    • WW1
      2nd Embarkation AWMM

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Worked on the staff of Wellington Hospital 1883-1895

    Graduated as a registered nurse with no. 19 on the New Zealand Register in 1902

    Opened a private hospital, with her sister Clara Palmer and funds from her father, in Davis Street, Thorndon, Wellington until about 1909.

    She was travelling abroad with her mother in ?? and became involved in the Balkan wars as a nurse as a result of an appeal from Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark (also known as Princess Alice of Battenberg). May Palmer wrote about her nursing in Salonika for the nursing journal Kai Tiaki, published October 1914, p. 173-174. She described the conflict and the very difficult conditions in a "comparatively small hospital" (an annex of the second military hospital) where, "before it could really be made ready to receive the wounded, 950 streamed in, all requiring more or less immediate attention". The staff amounted to 4 surgeons for operating, 3 assistants for the wards, and the nursing staff was 2 Danish sisters and May Palmer. Other help, May wrote, was from volunteer Red Cross, and school girls and school boys.

    January 1912. May was resident in Rome and the engagement to Medical Army Officer, Capitano Dottore Boriani, attached to the War Office in Rome was announced in Kai Tiaki.

    July 1914. Kai Tiaki reported May's visit to New Zealand. Her "mementoes" (sic) from service in the Balkans are described as "a beautiful Maltese red cross and a gold badge from the Queen and Princess of Greece."

    October 1914. p. 166 Kai Tiaki reports that May is on her way as a volunteer to join the French Red Cross in Marseilles.

    January 1915. p. 29 Kai Tiaki reports receiving letters and postcards and published May Palmer's article "Under the French Red Cross" in which she describes her voyage on the Morea to Malta and then overland to Marseilles.

    Once arriving in Marseilles she very quickly found work at the first hospital of the Red Cross (Croix Rouge) a hospital with 500 beds for wounded soldiers. May Palmer writes of her day duty in a ward of 39 beds for "Tommies" who mostly came from fighting in Verdun a train journey of 2 days away from the Marseilles Red Cross hospital.

    October 1916. p. 201 Kai Tiaki reports that another sister has met May Palmer on staff of the Hospital Ship Asturias

    January 1917. p. 7 May Palmer is reported in Kai Tiaki as on leave from the Hospital Ship Asturias

    April 1917. p. 89 Kai Tiaki publishes "The outrage on the Red Cross Hospital Ship Asturias" as the ship was torpedoed March 20 1917. Kai Tiaki refers to May Palmer's long time service on the Hospital Ship.

    Known as May Palmer AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    1962 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Obituary: Miss Nina Palmer. (1962). New Zealand Nursing Journal, 56 (11), 22. AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of Nina May Palmer

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  • Thank you In my history class we've been studying WW1 I didn't realize how important nurses were without people like Nina May Palmer more men would have been left out in the fields dead .
    Public - Cathy - Researcher - 24 March 2017



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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Kai Tiaki : the journal of the nurses of New Zealand. Wellington, N.Z.: Watkins. AWMM
    • New Zealand Military Nursing - A History of the R.N.Z.N.C. Boer War to Present Day AWMM
    • New Zealand Nursing Journal AWMM
      Obituary: Miss Nina Palmer. (1962). New Zealand Nursing Journal, 56 (11), 22. AWMM
    • Service Women Project: Sponsorship to research this record was kindly provided by the Auckland Returned Services Association, Returned Servicewomen's Branch; Marjorie Traill, Dorothy Grant, Daphne Shaw and Margaret Woollett. AWMM
    • Harper, G., Clements, C., & Johns., R. (2019). For King and Other Countries: The New Zealanders Who Fought in Other Services in the First World War. Auckland, New Zealand: Massey University Press. AWMM
      p. 54, 176,179 AWMM


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24 March 2017CathyAuckland, New ZealandResearcher
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