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Full Name
Theresa Butler
Forename(s)
Theresa
Surname
Butler
War
World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.
22/7
Gender
Female
Date of Birth
8 October 1884
Place of Birth
Upper Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand
Religion
Church of England
First Known Rank
  • Nurse
  • Sister
Occupation before Enlistment
  • Nurse
  • Nurse
Next of Kin
  • Miss Butler, C/o Mrs Watts, 30 Leraud Street, Berhampore, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Miss Mildred Butler (sister), C/o Mrs Watts, 30 Leraud Street, Berhampore, Wellington South, New Zealand
Marital Status
  • Single
  • Single
Enlistment Address
163 Wellington Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Military District
Wellington
Body on Embarkation
  • New Zealand Expeditionary Force
  • New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Embarkation Unit
  • New Zealand Army Nursing Service Corps
  • 14th Reinforcements New Zealand Army Nursing Service Corps
Embarkation Date
  • 8 April 1915
  • 26 June 1916
Place of Embarkation
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Wellington, New Zealand
Transport
Vessel
  • Rotorua
  • Maunganui or Tahiti
Destination
  • London, England
  • Devonport, England
Nominal Roll Footnotes
Ex Hospital Ship Maheno, 1st charter
Nominal Roll Number
  • Vol1
  • 34
Page on Nominal Roll
  • 99
  • 27
Military Awards
  • Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)
  • 1914 Star (5 Aug-22 Nov 1914 clasp)
  • British War Medal (1914-1920)
  • Victory Medal
Award Circumstances
MBE. 1939
Discharge Date
1 February 1920
Reason for Discharge
Transfered to active Territorial list
Biographical Notes
  • Trained Christchurch Hospital 1910.
  • Was the first NZ nurse to serve in the war. She was in Belgium on 15 August 1914 and one one of the few New Zealanders to be awarded the 1914 Star.
  • Staff nurse 8.4.15; Sister 18.2.21
  • She served in Belgium, France and NZGH, Cairo.
  • Awarded the MBE in 1939. She was recommended for the Royal Red Cross decoration, but it was not awarded.
  • "Sister Butler's experience is rather more varied. Holiday-making in England when the war broke out, she joined the Red Cross there, and was in Brussels a week before it was taken on 21st August, 1914, by the Germans. At the commencement they were nursing Belgians, and later Germans as well. Three weeks passed and Sister Butler with others commenced her return to England per dray to Ghent on the strength of an American passport. One German officer, who stopped their novel conveyance to examine passports - on this occassion they openly stated they were making for England- suggested that they should wait for three weeks until Germany had taken England , when he would be happy to escort them. The party had other views of the matter, however, and decided not to wait. In December, 1914, Sister Butler returned to New Zealand, but in April of the next year duty again called her, and as one of the first fifty N.Z. nurses supplied to the Imperial Government she returned on the "Rotorua" to England. Later the nurses went out to Egypt and Sister Butler, one of the twenty-five, was sent to Alexandria, the remainder of the party going to Cairo. On the "Willochra's' second return with wounded, Sister Butler again visited N.Z. but went back with her and took up duty in the N.Z. Hospital in Cairo. Now sister Butler is completing the double return once more - to N.Z. in the "Tahiti" from Egypt and this time per the "Maunganui" to -----! Long live the Nursing Sisters!" Source = The Kitbag ( a magazine published by the men on the troopship Maunganui, which left NZ on 26 June 1916.)
Postwar Occupation
Plunket Nurse, Thames Te Aroha District
Description of Image
  • Group, WW1, 3 Nurses taken on the T.Scotian by Miss C Young. Theresa Butler, at back right; Miss Harris and Miss Fricker are the other nurses. Mr Bell was supposed to be in the picture. It was taken on the 10 June 1915. (kindly provided by family)
  • Portrait, WW1, nurse Theresa Butler taken at the end of the war in NZ with a hospital ship in the background. (kindly provided by family)
  • ANZAC parade in Auckland in the 1950s. Aunty Theresa Butler is the one with the MBE. (kindly provided by family)
Additional Information
Serial Number is incorrectly recorded as 22/7 on Nominal Roll
Archives NZ source
Military personnel file
Further References
Sources Used
  • Military Service Record
  • Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume I. Wellington: Govt. Printer, 1914-1919
  • Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume II. Wellington: Govt. Printer, 1917
  • Kai tiaki : the journal of the nurses of New Zealand. Wellington, N.Z.: Watkins.
  • Papers Past. Digital New Zealand Newspapers.

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