Tairawhiti Museum of Gisborne, New Zealand

Lorraine M James Gisborne New Zealand Email: LMJames@xtra.co.nz 2 March 2017.

Dear Alan I would like to thank you for the help you have given in the past month concerning my research of Elizabeth Muir Maxwell who was a nurse that served during World War One with the Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH) from April 1915 to May 1919. My research of Nursing Sister Elizabeth Muir Maxwell began when the Tairawhiti Museum of Gisborne, New Zealand, asked me to find who owned the Service Medals & Red Cross badges that belonged to E M Maxwell and had been donated to the Museum in 1969 by W. Cameron. Those were the clues/facts I worked from. The Manageress of the Museum wanted to know how the owner of these Medals was associated to Gisborne, NZ. The Museum will be holding an exhibition during the month of April 2017 of ‘Women Associated with Tairawhiti that served during WWI’ I soon found that Elizabeth Muir Maxwell was the owner of these Medals and Badges, was born in Ayrshire, Scotland in 1874 and it was the sister of Mary Maxwell who had immigrated to New Zealand, married in 1912 to William Cameron and lived in Gisborne. Mary Inherited these Medals when Elizabeth died in Glasgow in 1949. Trying to find a Service Record for Elizabeth Maxwell was near impossible – other than listings shown on several websites that Elizabeth M Maxwell served with the SWH in Valjevo, Serbia and the American Unit at Ostrovo, Salonika. It was not until I finally contacted Alan Cumming through the Scottish Women’s Hospital website that I began to make progress. Immediately Alan greeted my enquiry, acknowledge that I was a ‘Kiwi’, and by the next day he went off to the Archives in Glasgow and was able to tell me of her nursing history and sent me a copy of a document that Elizabeth Muir Maxwell filled out in 1922 when registering with the General Nursing Council for Scotland – this gave me confirmation that ‘Elizabeth Muir Maxwell’ served with the Scottish Women’s Hospital. Alan then sent a photo of the group of Nurses that served in the SWH American Unit under Doctor Agnes Bennett and then I found a group of the 2nd unit of SWH nurses photo that sailed from Cardiff for Valjevo, Servia and the facts stories that come with them. Although I cannot identify all who is in these photos, it has helped make the story of Elizabeth’s service during the War more of a reality. Many, many thanks Alan – your help was invaluable and pointed me in the right direction to find more about where Elizabeth Muir Maxwell served during the war.

If anyone has any more information  Elizabeth Muir Maxwell please let us know.  


Lorraine James