Occupation: private nurse
Ina Nellie Coster was born in South Canterbury on 26 September 1880. She was the second child of eight (7 girls and 1 boy) born to Edward Stafford and Agnes Cecil Coster.
Her early years would have been spent in South Canterbury, where her father Edward co-owned with his brother, Blackford Station, near Mount Hutt, as well as Lyndhurst Station and Somerton in the Rakaia District. Edward retired in 1903 and the family came to Nelson.
Ina passed her State Examination in December 1907 becoming a registered nurse (registration no. 632). As the nursing training was 3 years, Ina would have started her training in 1903, the year her father retired and the family moved to Nelson.
Many nurses applied to join the New Zealand Army Nursing Service Corps and Ina was no different. Her Defence Department Records show her NZANS registration number was 22/71 and the date she commenced service was 19 May.
There were 30 nurses selected to form the first contingent to the front, leaving on 21 May, initially by the “Sydney boat”, accommodation having been obtained for that number. These nurses were presented with their New Zealand Army Nursing Service badges by Mrs Massey (the wife of Prime Minister William Massey) at Parliament Buildings.
Ina sailed from Wellington to Sydney on the ship "Marama" leaving on 21 May enroute to Egypt to serve in military hospitals. This event was reported in most newspapers of the day as this was the first contingent of nurses to be sent by the Government for service in Europe.
On arrival in Egypt, Ina was one of the nurses given duty in Port Said on the staff of No.1 Stationary Hospital. It was this hospital that was sent to Salonika, Greece, nearer one of the war fronts on board the ship "Marquette". The "Marquette" was sunk by a German torpedo on 23 October. 167 lives were lost, including ten members of the New Zealand Army Nursing Service, 19 male Medical Corps staff (part of the New Zealand No. 1 Stationary Hospital) and three New Zealand soldiers. Ina Coster was a survivor.
The beginning of February, saw Ina on the hospital ship "Gascon" and four of the other nurses on the ship were also "Marquette" survivors.
By August, Ina had been transferred to the hospital ship "Glengorm Castle" and her defence record shows she was transferred to No.1 General Hospital, Brockenhurst in December. She remained here for approximately 20 months.
On 3 August, Ina was instructed to report to the Matron in Chief for transport duty and was struck off the strength of No.1 New Zealand General Hospital, Brockenhurst. On 8 August, she embarked on the ship SS "Paparoa", which was returning officers and men, most of them invalided, to New Zealand.
On arrival back in New Zealand, Ina was posted to the New Zealand Army Nursing Service Temporary Reserve with effect from 30 October 1918, and so her war experiences ended as the war was heading to a conclusion. Kaiser Wilhelm ll abdicated on 9 November 1918 and the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.
The medals of Ina Coster are held by the Nelson Provincial Museum.
The 1957 Nelson Electoral Roll shows Ina at 402 Trafalgar Street. She died on 10 January 1958. She was cremated and her ashes are recorded as being buried in her mother’s plot at Wakapuaka Cemetery in Nelson.