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Cora Beattie Anderson

  • Service number
    • WWI 22/1 AWMM
    • WWI 22/12 AWMM
  • Also known as
    Roberton AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    • Army AWMM
    • NZ Army Nursing Service Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 6 November 2016 - Military Record
  • Last rank
    Inter War Matron/Military AWMM
  • War
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
    Cora Beattie AWMM
  • Surname
    Anderson AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Roberton AWMM
  • Service number
    • WWI 22/1 AWMM
    • WWI 22/12 AWMM
  • Gender
    Female AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    4 March 1881 AWMM AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
    daughter of William ANDERSON & Annie nee' BUCHANAN Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 6 November 2016 - Military Record & Research
  • Address before enlistment
    Pre 6 April 1915 AWMM Roslyn Avenue, Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
    Wife and Mother Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 6 November 2016 - Military Record & Research
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Annie Anderson (mother), Roslyn Avenue, Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    • Pre 8 April 1915 AWMM Single AWMM
    • 1919 married Eric Butterfield ROBERTON Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 6 November 2016 - Military Record & Research


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    1909 became a registered nurse having done her traing at the Thames Hospital NZ Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 6 November 2016 - Research
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW1 6 April 1915 AWMM
    Age 34 AWMM
    Nurse AWMM
  • 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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  • Daughter of Annie Anderson and William Anderson.

    Wife of Eric Butterfield Roberton.

    Cora Beattie Anderson was a survivor of the wreck of the 'Elingamite', which sank after striking one of the Three Kings group of Islands in 1902.

    She married Mr Eric Roberton in 1919 and together they farmed in the Taranaki until 1948.

    Roberton was the President of the RANS Association in Auckland.

    Serial Number is recorded as 22/1 on Nominal Roll; 22/12 on Archives New Zealand

    Auckland War Memorial Museum Scars on the Heart “ANZACS in Egypt 1914-18” Display. Display item is a quotation. "We are right in the thick of things, wounded and sick coming in faster than we can take them...As every few patients go out a fresh batch is put in and another surgical ward downstairs has had to be used for gastro-enteritis and dysentery cases. The men say it is just like heaven to be here and one feels that one cannot do enough for them...some are absolute wrecks. The men who left here just a week ago are coming back now wounded..."

    "Elizabeth's search for Cora Beattie Anderson

    Three little books found in an antique shop took Elizabeth Burke on a journey from Brisbane, Australia to Thames, New Zealand, in search of the story of a matron from the First World War, Cora Beattie Anderson.

    Ella Johnson, Collection Technician and Research Support at the Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre tells us more.


    I first met Elizabeth Burke as a visitor to the newly opened Pou Maumahara in November last year. Elizabeth shared an intriguing story with me about some books that she had discovered and her search to learn more about their original owner.

    In July 2015, Elizabeth was browsing in an antique shop and came across three old nursing books. Formerly a nurse herself, Elizabeth was drawn to the books and bought them:

    A Professional Nurses Diary 1913 -1914
    A Reference Handbook For Nurses - Amanda K. Beck (Published March 1905.)
    A New Dictionary for Nurses.

    After Elizabeth purchased the titles, she set out to research the "CB Anderson" whose name was inscribed on the pages of these books. She searched online and discovered the name Cora Beattie Anderson on Auckland Museum's Online Cenotaph. Anderson was a nurse who completed her training at the Thames Hospital in New Zealand and travelled overseas to serve in the First World War as a member of the first contingent of fifty nurses to serve in the New Zealand Army.

    Journeys overseas

    Elizabeth travelled to New Zealand, determined to return Cora's books to Thames and the local historical archive, the Thames Treasury. During her visit to New Zealand, Elizabeth came to Auckland Museum and to the Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre. When she told me about her find we decided to see what else we could discover about Cora. We searched Online Cenotaph and saw that Cora’s record had been updated in the past few days.

    A researcher, Lorraine James, had added some photographs and information about Cora on 6 November 2016, only a few days before Elizabeth's arrival. Two of the photographs added by Lorraine were of the Royal Red Cross medals Cora was awarded for her service. We decided to check to see if any of Cora’s medals were on display and used Pou Maumahara's interactive medal catalogue to find out. To our delight, Cora has seven medals in the cabinet and her husband Sergeant Eric Butterfield Roberton’s medals sit alongside them in the same drawer.

    100 Years: New Zealand Military Nursing by Sherayl McNabb gave us more insight into Cora's wartime experiences. We learnt that she started her career as a nurse, was promoted to Sister and finally took on the role of Matron of Hornchurch Convalescent Hospital in the United Kingdom, from 1917-1919. Her Military Personnel File tells us that she served in the war for 4 years and 143 days, and spent the majority of these years overseas in England and on the difficult Egyptian front.

    Working in the No.1 New Zealand General Hospital (1NZGH) in Cairo, Cora and her colleagues had to treat significant numbers of wounded men in hot and difficult conditions. It was exhausting work. Cora wrote in a letter to her brother:

    We are right in the thick of things now, wounded and sick coming in faster than we can take every few patients go out a fresh batch is put in. [However] we feel that we are doing what we came for and are all putting every available ounce of ourselves into work."

    Cora's dedication was officially recognised and she was awarded seven medals, and had the honour of twice being Mentioned in Dispatches.

    The return

    Elizabeth was able to take this information about Cora with her when she returned the books to their original home in Thames, where they were added to the Thames Treasury's collection. Elizabeth tells us:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed being in contact with you, Lorraine and Kay by email, and meeting you Ella. It was especially interesting to see Matron Cora Beattie Roberton's medals displayed in Drawer 7G, in the newly opened section of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Her husband Sergeant Eric Butterfield Roberton's medals are displayed in the same drawer!"

    Her visit to the Thames Hospital took the books full circle, from Thames, New Zealand to Brisbane and back again, a total journey of one hundred and two years." -Johnson, Ella. Elizabeth's search for Cora Beattie Anderson. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 10 April 2017. Updated: 29 June 2017. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    24 September 1962 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Purewa Cemetery and Crematorium, Meadowbank, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM Ashes Block M Row 18 Plot 66 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    • Death Notice: New Zealand Herald, 14 July 1976 AWMM
    • Nurse had fine war record. N Z Herald, 25 Sept. 1962 Public - Sue - Researcher - 24 January 2017 - New Zealand Herald, 25 Sept. 1962
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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Leave a tribute or memory of Cora Beattie Anderson

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  • Am a nurse, 40yrs experience, just so admire those that went before me. Was ready & signed up for Vietnam, got married & couldn't go. Wouldn't accept married nurses!
    Public - Denise - 7 May 2017



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Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
27 August 2017ElizabethBrisbane, AustraliaResearcher
07 May 2017DeniseAuckland new zealandOther
03 May 2017PhilAuckland, New ZealndResearcher
24 January 2017SueRemuera, AucklandResearcher
06 November 2016Lorraine MGisborne, NZResearcher

The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.

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