RAWLINGS, Beryl Henning
(Service number )

First Rank Nurse Last Rank Sister


Date 15 October 1885 Place of Birth Tiverton, Devon, England

Enlistment Information

Date *1915 Age 29 years
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Registered Nurse
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with French Armed Forces Served in French Flag Nursing Corps
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Date 29 October 1915
Embarked From England Destination France
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 4 September 1955 Age 69 years
Place of Death Seaway Nursing Home, Torquay, Devon, England
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Beryl Henning Rawlings, born on 15 October 1885 at Tiverton, Devon, England, was the third daughter of Arthur Rawlings, the vicar of Cove, Tiverton, and his wife Sophia Georgina née Henning. She was baptized on 4 February 1886 at Tiverton, by her father who was the curate there. In 1891 and again in 1901 Beryl was at home at Tiverton with her family. Her father died at Tiverton in January 1904. On 20 June 1909 Miss B. H. Rawlings, a saloon passenger, left London for New Zealand per the 'Turakina'. She was residing at the Public Hospital in Timaru by 1910, and still there in 1914. At the Timaru Hospital garden party held on 17 November 1910 Nurse Rawlings conducted the bran-tub, much to the delight of the children.

Beryl Rawlings, a nurse trained at the Timaru Hospital, was successful in the State examinations held on 11 and 12 June 1913. Come July 1915 the Matron reported to the Hospital Board that Sister Rawlings had resigned. When the intimation came from the War Office that another 100 trained nurses would be gladly accepted in Egypt to care for wounded soldiers, Miss B. Rawlings, trained at Timaru Hospital, was one in a lengthy list of nurses selected for the staff of the Hospital Ships Marama and Maheno. It seems, however, that Beryl made her own way home - a 29-year old nurse, she left New Zealand on the ‘Ruahine’, reaching England on 25 September 1915.

Beryl H. Rawlings was named as a registered nurse, certificate, of Timaru Hospital, New Zealand, when she left England on 29 October 1915, as a volunteer intending to join the French Flag Nursing Corps. Qualified nurses who were already living in Britain or could afford to travel there, were able to volunteer their services to existing military nursing units “at Home”.

The French Flag Nursing Corps (FFNC), a newer organisation formed in response to France’s very high casualty rate and shortage of trained nurses, was working in French military hospitals under the Government. French Flag volunteers had to be aged between 28 and 40 years of age, have undergone three years training and be British, all of which criteria Beryl met. The French Minister of War explicitly requested “women of ripe experience and very reliable character”. The earlier regulation that Sisters must sign for the duration of the war had been relaxed and they could now serve for a six-month period, which made this an appealing option. These nurses were offered three weeks respite at the end of six months work. In fact many were continuing in their work as it was interesting and once they had learnt to speak French they could be very useful. They found the French wounded “the most heroic and grateful of men”.

Two New Zealand nurses (Margaret ’Daisy’ Hitchcock and her friend Lily Lind who died of tuberculosis on return to New Zealand in 1916) who served in the French Flag Nursing Corps recorded that they were “actively engaged, often under fire”.

Although Beryl is listed on the 1919 electoral roll at Timaru, she most probably stayed at home after her war service. In the Register of Nurses published in the New Zealand Gazettes of 1919, 1922, 1923 and 1924, she is recorded as on active service in England with the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service. In 1939 Beryl was residing at Exeter, Devon, with her widowed mother and a younger sister.

Beryl Henning Rawlings died on 4 September 1955, aged 69 years, at Seaway Nursing Home, Torquay, but of Paignton, Devon. Administration of her estate (£6068. 10s. 4d.) was granted to her younger brother Geoffrey Nares Rawlings. She may have served in military ambulances, contagious disease hospitals, hospitals for the wounded, large military hospitals and smaller hospitals. After the signing of the Armistice, the Matron in France was informed that the nurses of the FFNC had been most satisfactory, and throughout the war years they were warmly congratulated for their excellent work. For her service with the French Red Cross, Sister Rawlings was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal, as the nurses of the FFNC had to sign an agreement not to accept French awards if they were to receive these British medals.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database (preliminary record) [13 November 2015]; 1891, 1901 census returns England ( [15 November 2016]; New Zealand Herald, 21 June 1909, 11 December 1915, Kai Tiaki: the journal of the nurses of New Zealand, 1 January 1911, 1 July 1913, 1 October 1915, Dominion, 22 July 1913, Timaru Herald, 21 July 1915, Otago Daily Times, 24 December 1915 (Papers Past) [12 November 2015; 16, 18 & 25 April 2017]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [24 April 2017]; Shipping record ( [26 April 2017]; The British Journal of Nursing, 30 October 1915 (google search) [25 April 2017]; [25 April 2017]; National Probate Calendar England ( [15 November 2016]; The New Zealand Gazette Register of Nurses 1919, 1922, 1923, 1924 ( [27 April 2017]; Medal card (The National Archives) [01 May 2017]; 1939 England Register ( [20 June 2018]

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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