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This Army Medical Services (AMS) arm band was worn by district nurse Florence Irving when she enlisted for service with the Red Cross during the First World War.
Florence served on board White Star Line’s Britannic, which had been requisitioned by the British Government for war service as a hospital ship. Following conversion, Britannic was able to accommodate more than 3000 wounded soldiers.
Early in the morning of 21 November 1916, HMHS Britannic was sailing off the Greek coast when she hit a mine and began to sink. The ship floundered in sight of land, on a calm day, and was lost in 55 minutes. There were 1,066 men and women on board, including medical staff and crew, and all but 30 were rescued. Florence was one of the survivors.
Florence kept a scrapbook in which she recorded her wartime experiences, and she was later decorated for her service.
This object is in the Maritime History collection at Merseyside Maritime Museum, and is currently on display on the First Floor, featured alongside other items belonging to Florence, in Lusitania: life, loss, legacy.
- Red Cross arm band accession number MMM.2003.158.9
- Photograph of Red Cross nurse Florence Irving, archive reference DX/2108