New Zealand Army nurses and medical officers pose in front of the carved gateway of the New Zealand Stationary Hospital at Wisques, France.
Forty New Zealand nurses worked in the 1000-bed hospital at Wisques. The work was tough and constant: three hours off a day and a half-day's leave once every 10 days – unless there was a rush of wounded, and then all leave would be cancelled. This was one of the hospitals that treated New Zealanders wounded in Passchendaele during October 1917.
The New Zealand Army Nursing Service had been set up in 1915, largely at the urging of Hester Maclean (1863–1932). She had been made matron-in-chief of a proposed military nursing reserve in 1911, but she wanted New Zealand soldiers injured overseas to be nursed by New Zealanders. As head of the Army Nursing Service from 1915, she selected and equipped all army nurses. The first group of 50 sailed to Egypt in April 1915 with Maclean as escort. They later went to England, with 35–40 crossing to France in 1916 and Belgium the following year.