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Theresa Butler

Notable Events in Nursing History - The First Fifty Nurses sent with the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces [April 1915]. Archives New Zealand R13235489. Image has no known copyright restrictions.

Notable Events in Nursing History - The First Fifty Nurses sent with the New Zealand Expeditionary F …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Theresa AWMM
  • Surname
    Butler AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • WWI 22/17 AWMM
    • WWI 22/7 AWMM
  • Gender
    Female AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    8 October 1884 AWMM Upper HuttWellington AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM 163 Wellington Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Miss Butler, C/o Mrs Watts, 30 Leraud Street, Berhampore, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • Miss Mildred Butler (sister), C/o Mrs Watts, 30 Leraud Street, Berhampore, Wellington South, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    • Pre 8 April 1915 AWMM Single AWMM
    • Pre 26 June 1916 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    • WWI 22/17 AWMM
    • WWI 22/7 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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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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  • Trained Christchurch Hospital 1910.

    She was one of the first group of nurses, surgeon and dressers to arrive in Brussels in August 1914 – working for the Belgium Red Cross.

    She returned to New Zealand in December 1914 then departed from Wellington on the 8th April 1915 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, she would go on to serve in Belgium, France and Cairo.

    Sister Butler was one of the first New Zealand nurses to serve in the war, and one of only a handful of New Zealanders to receive the 1914 Star.

    Listed as 22/7 in Nominal Roll and 22/17 in Military Personnel file.

    Staff nurse 8.4.15; Sister 18.2.21

    She served in Belgium, France and NZGH, Cairo.

    No. 1 New Zealand General Hospital "Brought to the notice of the Secretary of States for War for valuable services at home towards the successful conduct of the war and published in the press by the war office."

    Awarded the MBE in 1939. She was recommended for the Royal Red Cross decoration, but it was not awarded.

    "Sister Butler's experience is rather more varied. Holiday-making in England when the war broke out, she joined the Red Cross there, and was in Brussels a week before it was taken on 21st August, 1914, by the Germans. At the commencement they were nursing Belgians, and later Germans as well. Three weeks passed and Sister Butler with others commenced her return to England per dray to Ghent on the strength of an American passport. One German officer, who stopped their novel conveyance to examine passports - on this occassion they openly stated they were making for England- suggested that they should wait for three weeks until Germany had taken England , when he would be happy to escort them. The party had other views of the matter, however, and decided not to wait. In December, 1914, Sister Butler returned to New Zealand, but in April of the next year duty again called her, and as one of the first fifty N.Z. nurses supplied to the Imperial Government she returned on the "Rotorua" to England. Later the nurses went out to Egypt and Sister Butler, one of the twenty-five, was sent to Alexandria, the remainder of the party going to Cairo. On the "Willochra's' second return with wounded, Sister Butler again visited N.Z. but went back with her and took up duty in the N.Z. Hospital in Cairo. Now sister Butler is completing the double return once more - to N.Z. in the "Tahiti" from Egypt and this time per the "Maunganui" to -----!

    Long live the Nursing Sisters!" Source = The Kitbag ( a magazine published by the men on the troopship Maunganui, which left NZ on 26 June 1916.)

    Serial Number is incorrectly recorded as 22/7 on Nominal Roll AWMM
Read more


About death

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  • Death
    13 November 1968 Military Personnel file
    Age 84 AWMM
    Military personnel file
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • 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 Theresa Butler

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  • This lady is my Great Great Aunt and I've been told she was one of the very first NZ woman to join the services and go to WWI
    Public - Sonia - Other Relative - 25 April 2015



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  • External links
  • References
    • McDonald, W. (2013). Honours and Awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War, 1914-1918. (3rd ed.). Hamilton, N.Z.: Richard Stowers. AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      Vol1: 99 AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1917). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume II. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      34: 27 AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1917). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume II. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. 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
    • McNabb, S. (2015). 100 years New Zealand military nursing : New Zealand Army nursing service : Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps, 1915-2015. Hawke's Bay, N.Z.: Sherayl McNabb. AWMM
      pp.203-204 AWMM
    • Unknown, photographer (1915-1916). [Agnes (Peggy) Williams photograph album]. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira PH-2017-2-3. 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. 51-53 AWMM
    • The kit-bag : the unofficial record of the following units of the Fourteenth Reinforcements on board the "Maunganui", Troopship 56. Printed by Cape Times : Cape Town. 1916. AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
25 April 2015SoniaAucklandOther Relative

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