About Amy (Daisy) Knaggs, R R C, Q A I M N S
1866, 2nd quarter, Birth registered in Winchester, Hampshire, UK. Known as 'Daisy' to her family.
1887 Living with her family in the West Indies.
1888 Began nursing training
Mid 1902 awarded the Royal Red Cross by the King (during her leave home) for her work during the war in South Africa. (Source: Amy's notes - below - and American Journal of Nursing 1902 Vols 1 and 2, page 138 - reprinted from The Nursing Record of Oct 5)
8 Apr 1919 - Supplement 8 Apr p 1 Awarded a bar to the Royal Red Cross' Miss Amy Knaggs, R R C, Matron Q A I M N S (retired), Lord Derby’s War Hospital, Warrington
The Times London 1937 Fri Aug 6 14d Death On August 4, 1937, at The Laurels, Church Road, Crowthorne, Berks, after a long illness heroically borne, Amy Knaggs, R.R.C and Bar, late Q.A.I.M.N.S. Funeral St John’s Church, Crowthorne tomorrow (Saturday) 12 noon.
Miss Amy Knaggs, R.R.C. and bar, late Q.A.I.N.S., died at Crowthorne, Berks, on Wednesday after a long illness. She saw active service in South Africa, being for some time matron of Raadzal Hospital in Bloemfontain, and was awarded the Royal Red Cross. In the late war she received a bar to this decoration for conspicuous service in a hospital ship which, after cross-Channel work was sent to Gallipoli. After being invalided home she was appointed matron in charge of the Lord Derby Hospital, Warrington, where she remained until finally invalided out of the service.
The funeral will be at St John’s Church, Crowthorne, tomorrow at noon.
Source: British Army Lists:
Miss Amy Knaggs R.R.C.
1899-1900 South Africa - Anglo-Boer War
1904 The Royal Red Cross 29 Nov 1900
1905. Hexham Convalescent Home (for the wounded) Northumberland - Matron
1919 Matron retired Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, temporarily Employed
At the urging of her 'little sister', Ida, to write a sketch of her career, on 28.4.1927 Amy wrote
"Reminiscences of a Nursing Career, as narrated by A. Knaggs, of "Birchland", Wokingham, Berks." Synopsis as follows:
Amy had a career when it was very unusual for girls to have a career. At 21 she was living with her family in the West Indies, but her father approved of the idea for when they returned to England. The matrons of Barts and St. Mary's Paddington (both London hospitals) said she was not old enough for a London Hospital, so she went in 1888 to a provincial school - The Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. Amy says she became anaemic and lost appetite because the food there was unpalatable. Her mother died nine months after she had begun training. After a three month break, she joined the Leicester Infirmary and was paid 16 pounds a year - enough to be self-supporting. She stayed there 4 years. On 4 January 1894 Amy joined the Army Nursing Service, and was posted the The Herbert Hospital, Woolwich doing mostly night work for 2 years.
"In 1899 the War with South Africa (Boer War) had begun and I sailed in January 1900 from Southampton for Cape Town on "The Dunvegan Castle" with No.8 General Hospital. We proceeded to Bloemfontein O.R.C. which had just surrendered to Lord Roberts. The hospital unit was broken up, and we were sent to various converted buildings in the town, ending at The Raadzaal - The Free State Parliamentary House which had been turned into No.5 Stationary Hospital." Amy was Superintendent there for 20 months treating the sick mostly with enteric fever and wounded and responsible for Grey College (for sick nurses).
Amy took leave in England at this time and King Edward decorated her with the Royal Red Cross at St. James' Palace. "I returned to S.A. during a new phase of the War - and was billetted on one half of a Boer farm (owner had been deported). Finally peace was signed and I returned to England in September 1902."
Boer War Shipping Returns 1902
London Times 08/09/02 (Monday), p6a:
- The Sunda left for England 01 Sept. with the following on passage home:
Nursing Sisters H. Hogarth, A. Knaggs
Due Southampton Sept. 23)
Later Amy went as a partner to open a new nursing home in Ootacamund in the Nilgiri Hills of India for a year. She enjoyed the climate and place, but saw "no chance of making much out of the Home" so "my partner and I agreed to part and my half of the money expended on furniture was repaid to me."
She returned to the Army Nursing Service Reserve in England, working for a time in Canterbury, then Warley in Essex, then given charge of The Guards Hospital in Caterham for two years, and subsequently charge of a Nurses Home at Wootton Lodge in Bournemouth - but lured away nine months later to be in charge of St. George's Nurses Home, Montpelier street, London for two years.
Nursing Training Institute in Southport, Lancashire - Proprietor and Manager Eventually in March 1911 Amy opened her own Institute which would supply fully trained and reliable nurses in Southport, Lancs - "pleased to find I had made the reputation of only having nice women and well trained nurses on my staff."
World War I
The 1914 war changed everything and Amy worked for the War Office until October 1919, when she had a breakdown in health. During the five years, she organized a V.A.D. hospital which brought her in touch with Red Cross work and V.A.D. workers.
Feb 1915 (for 13 months) - Amy was put in charge of the "HMHS Nevasa", a B.I. boat converted into a hospital ship - normally 660 beds, but frequently carried more. They first did cross-Channel work bringing trainloads of sick and wounded from the French battlefields from Le Havre to Southampton - afterwards to Alexandria, Egypt, to bring back 'terrible sad load of those shot down in that 'wonderful' Dardenelles landing. Staff worked and operated all day until 10pm in terrible atmosphere as all wounds were septic and many putrefying. Next trip from Alexandria to Malta, then to Muden in the Aegean Sea, then to Dardenelles - 4 months with 12 trips to different beaches of Anzac, Serla and Hellas conveying 'poor mutilated men'. "Ghastly and harrowing time."
March 1916 Amy left the hospital ship and spent a few weeks at the 15th Station Hospital in Port Said, then given charge of the Orwa El Waska (General Hospital Medical Section) Schools in Alexandria - three months later in July the Medical Board ordered her to England after gastro (colitis) problems.
Worked in Devonport, then Sheerness (nerve racking air raids night after night), then to Harsley, nr Winchester until April 1918. Then to Lord Derby War Hospital nr Warrington - over 3000 beds, with constant convoys of arrivals . This was one of the last hospitals to close down after the Armistice in November 1918.
Whilst there Amy was presented by King George a Bar to her R.R.C. (Royal Red Cross), which had been awarded to her in 1900 by King Edward.
"At the Royal Investiture on Thursday, the King conferred the Bar to the Red Cross on Miss Amy Knaggs, Queen Alexandria's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), daughter of the late Lieut.Colonel H. Knaggs, R.A.M.C. of 7 Keynsham Parade, Cheltenham."
September 1919 was not allowed by her Medical Board to return so retired from service due to 'bad breakdown in health'. She had had a nursing career of over thirty years.
(Source: 15 page Memoir booklet in custody of Angela O'Sullivan. Her mother, Joan McSwiney, sent a copy to the QARANC Museum and Regimental HQ in Aldershot Hants in the 1980s.)