Rank: Chief Matron
Regiment: Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service
Died Friday 14th January 1921
Age 54
County Memorial Cheshire Virtual
Commemorated\Buried Baghdad (north Gate) War Cemetery
Grave\Panel Ref: VIII.L.11.

Beatrice Isabel's Story.

Beatrice Isabel Jones was born on 21 September 1866 to Alicia and William Bolton Jones of Wallasey. After completing her education at Wallasey High School, she began nursing training at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London in 1891. After a three-year course of study, she completed her training.

In 1894, Beatrice began working at St. Barts, holding various positions until 1896 when she took a position as the Assistant Matron of the New General Hospital in Birmingham. She left the infirmary in 1897 when she was appointed Matron of Victoria Park Hospital in London. In January 1900, she joined Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service Reserve and the following month was called for service in the First Boer War. Serving in General Hospital No. 1 at Wynberg, No. 2 of Pretoria and finally No. 5 at Wynberg, before she returned to Britain and her post as Matron at Victoria Park in November. When Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) was established in 1902, she applied and was appointed as a Matron in 1903.

Soon thereafter, Beatrice began working as Matron of the Royal Herbert Hospital, at Woolwich. but resigned after only a few months. While she was working there, she was awarded the gold badge of the QAIMNS by Queen Alexandra and then in a ceremony in the yard, all members of the Royal Army Medical Corps who had served in the Boer Wars were issued the Queen's South Africa Medal. In spite of having tendered her resignation in 1903, she had returned to Herbert in 1904. In April 1905, it was announced that Beatrice had been appointed as Matron for the new hospital to be built in Millbank. Though the Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital construction had not begun, Beatrice, fifteen nurses and six sisters were hired. The purpose of the hospital was to train nurses to work in other facilities and for the first time, before nurses could be eligible to become matrons, they were required to pass a nursing examination.

In 1913, Beatrice was awarded the Decoration of the Royal Red Cross by the King George V. She led 250 nurses to organise the first hospital for British troops in Mesopotamia in 1916. As Chief Matron of Mesopotamia, she also established hospitals in Basra and Mosul ensuring that they were organised according to her exacting standards. In August 1917 she was mentioned in dispatches by Lieutenant General Sir Stanley Maude K.C.B Commander in Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, London Gazette 15th August 1917 Page 8336.

In 1918, she was awarded an additional service bar for her Royal Red Cross and the following year was awarded for her work in Mesopotamia with the Order of the British Empire as a Commander of the Military Division. In 1920, she was one of the inaugural recipients of the Florence Nightingale Medal which had been established to recognize nursing excellence.

Beatrice left Mesopotamia briefly in 1920 and then returned to serve as Chief of Civil Administration in Baghdad until her death there on 14 January 1921. She was buried in Baghdad (North Gate) Cemetery, and was the only woman buried among the 4,487 war casualties. A memorial tablet was dedicated to Beatrice as the first Matron of Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital by Queen Alexandra in 1922, during a ceremony to honour all of the women of the QAIMNS who had lost their lives during World War I. The Imperial Military Nurses Memorial was in the hospital chapel, with a separate memorial for her. The entire memorial was later installed at All Saints Royal Garrison Church in Aldershot Garrison, including the plaque stating that Beatrice was first Matron of the Hospital there, when the Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital was decommissioned in 1989 a re-dedication service was held for the plaques.

Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Upclosed for this information on Beatrice.