Fannie Olive Durning, served in WWI as a nurse aboard a hospital ships Loyatly and Madras

May 17, 2009


I am researching my family history and recently discovered that my grandmother, Fannie Olive Durning, served in WWI as a nurse aboard a hospital ship. Apparently my grandfather, Wilfrid Hall (aka Billy Hall) was apparently the ship's third engineer.

My information indicates that the British commandeered a British India Steamship company ship and equipped it for hospital duties. It was renamed the HM Hospital Ship Loyalty. My grandmother (who was a Brit born and raised in India) volunteered for duty. I understand that the ship went to the Mediterranean. It was torpedoed and many of the patients drowned. The nurses went back to India.

She later served aboard the Madras.

If you have any information about these hospital ships or can give me any suggestions as to where to find information, I would very much appreciate it. Oddly enough, my father mentioned that his mother was a nurse on hospital ships, but never once mentioned that her ship was torpedoed and she received two medals -- one for Victory, the other for War Service! My mother never mentioned anything about the torpedoing or medals either. Needless to say, I was surprised to receive this information!

If you can offer any insight on the British India Steamship Company, I would greatly appreciate it.  Mainly I'm curious about my grandmother.

My father later emigrated to the US when he married my mother (who was in the US Diplomatic Corps). I live in Georgia.
Valerie Turner


Thank you for your interesting mail, I am still trying to unearth details about a Hospital ship named Loyalty

Do you know its name when a BI ship?

See this URL: http://www.biship.com/ships.htm for a detailed BI site, and look at the History link.

My web master, Terry Kearns lives in Atlanta Georgia.

Best wishes,

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