Emma Maud McCarthy was one of the most decorated nurses of the First World War. Born in Sydney in 1859, she trained as a nurse at The London Hospital in England. She was one of the first nurses to go to the South African War and in 1914 was one of the first members of Queen Alexandra's Imperial Nursing Service. Maud McCarthy went to France as Matron-in-Chief of British, Colonial and US nursing services until the end of hostilities in 1918. After the First World War she became Matron-in-Chief of the Territorial Army Nursing Service and retired five years later. She was appointed Dame Grand Cross in 1918 and earned awards from Britain, France, Belgium and America. Her influence on nursing was profound. One of the first senior nurses to recognise the impact of war on minds, she set up separate units for men who had self-harmed and she pioneered nurse anaesthetists in the British Armed Forces. Dame Maud McCarthy was an administrator par excellence whose determination to provide the best conditions possible for both her nurses and the men for whom they cared made possible the highest standards of nursing care in the First World War.