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Elsie Annie Aitkenhead

Group photo, WW1, New Zealand Army Nursing Service nurses and male officer, Elsie Aitkenhead (22/518) sitting on ground at left provided by Elizabeth Revell 2013 - No known copyright restrictions
Group photo, WW1, New Zealand Army Nursing Service nurses an … Read more


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Elsie Annie AWMM
  • Surname
    Aitkenhead AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Elsie Anne Aitkenhead AWMM
  • Service number
    WWI 22/518 AWMM
  • Gender
    Female AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    6 October 1889 AWMM OnehungaAuckland AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • Pre 10 June 1918 AWMM Parakai, Helensville, New Zealand AWMM
    • Unknown AWMM Parakai, Helensville, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Mrs Mary Aitkenhead (mother), Parakai, Helensville, New Zealand AWMM
    • Mrs Mary Aitkenhead (mother), Parakai, Helensville, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    • Pre 6 July 1918 AWMM Single AWMM
    • Pre 14 December 1918 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWI 22/518 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Enlistment
    • WW1 10 June 1918 AWMM Nurse AWMM
    • WW1 Unknown AWMM Nurse AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

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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Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Daughter of Mary (nee McLoughlin) and Hector Aitkenhead.

      Her mother, Mary Aitkenhead was Irish and father Hector Aitkenhead was Scottish.

      She served 1 year 237 days aboard the Hospital Ship Maheno.

      Aboard the Maheno she was on duty as a masseuse; then after the war May 1919 - December 1919 as a Masseuse at Trentham Camp; and at Auckland as Masseuse from December 1919 - March 1920.

      In 1921 she was working at the KIng George V Military Hospital in Rotorua.

      Registered with the Masseurs Registration Board of New Zealand

      Names registered as Elsie Anne Aitkenhead AWMM
    • Elsie was born in Wiri, the eldest daughter of Mary & Hector Aitkenhead. She came to Helensville with her parents and sisters Gladys (Nicholls), Christina (Becroft) and Victor in 1906. They lived on a farm at Parakai, near the hot springs.

      After her general nursing training in Auckland she became a registered nurse in 1915. She served two trips on the Maheno. Later she nursed in the Auckland Military Annexe during the 1918 flu epidemic and then in the Trentham Military Hospital, the Evelyn Firth Home and the Rotorua Military Hospital.

      After her army nursing, Elsie carried on for fifteen years the profession of masseuse (NZRM 1921 No 130) at her home at Parakai hot springs. She also nursed some maternity patients.

      In 1937 Elsie and her widowed mother moved to 13 Kitenui Ave, Mt Albert, Auckland, where she later died at 59 after a long and painful battle with Parkinson's Disease.

      Her war and nursing medals are with her niece Glenn Hoare. Public - Shona - Other Relative - 27 April 2015 - family oral and written history, as related by niece Glenn Hoare and published in Pioneering Women of South Kaipara, a publication by the Helensville & District Historical Society Inc.
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About death

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  • Death
    28 October 1948 AWMM
    Age 59 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Helensville Cemetery, 130 Garfield Road, Helensville, New Zealand AWMM Block 1, Row E2, Plot 8, Seq 2 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    New Zealand Returned Army Nursing Sisters Association (Auckland) honours board, RSA Onehunga, Auckland AWMM

Roll of Honour

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Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of Elsie Annie Aitkenhead

Leave a note

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  • Her nephew Hector Aitkenhead recalls... She was a little, frail old lady when I knew her. Still very bright but by that point (around 1940) crippled by the advanced stages of Parkinson's. She brought back from Egypt a pair of carved wooden elephants, which stood about 25cm high, which I always admired and played with. She later left these to me and they are now in my residence at Whangaparaoa. We all thought it a very brave thing to have nursed through the war.
    Public - Shona - Other Relative - 27 April 2015



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  • External links
  • Documents
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume IV. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      84: 8 AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume IV. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      92: 3 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


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27 April 2015ShonaHelensvilleOther Relative
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