HART, Elizabeth Ellen

Biography

Elizabeth Ellen Hart was born in Holyhead, Wales on the 21st February 18781, although she seems to have moved around the UK in her younger years. In 1891 the family were living in Station Road, Watford where her father was running a hotel2. By 1901 she was working as a Barmaid in Luton where her father was now a publican3. She trained as a nurse at the Leicester Infirmary 1903-19054, and enrolled in the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) in October 19095. The 1911 Census shows her working as a private nurse in Bournemouth6.

Nursing Service in WW1

Staff Nurse Elizabeth Ellen Hart was mobilised to serve as an Army nurse on the 1st October 1914, and she served at No. 5 General Hospital, Leicester5. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross 2nd Class (Associate Royal Red Cross ARRC) on the 3rd June 19167. Her confidential reports in 1917 and in 1918 indicate that she was a good nurse, but that her deafness made it hard for her to work in a military setting, and in 1919 it was made explicit that despite being ‘an excellent nurse, reliable and conscientious’ she could not be considered for promotion to Sister because of her deafness. At the end of the war when nurses were being sought to serve overseas her request for a transfer was turned down and she was demobilised on the 31st August 19195.

Nursing Service after WW1

Staff Nurse Hart remained in the Territorial Force Nursing Service and then the Territorial Army Nursing Service when it was formed in 1921. She was promoted to Sister in 1924. She resigned in 1934 as she had reached the age limit for service5. Although her records indicate she applied for a disability pension, it is not clear how she became deaf, or whether she was awarded a pension. She died in Leicester on the 16th December 19528.

References

  1. England & Wales, Civil Registration, Index of Births 1837-1915, 1878, Anglesey
  2. The National Archives: England Census 1891, RG12; Piece: 1118; Folio: 10; Page: 13
  3. The National Archives: England Census 1901, RG13; Piece: 1517; Folio: 112; Page: 11
  4. UK & Ireland Nursing Registers, 1898-1968, 1943, p.1503
  5. The National Archives: War Office 399/11868
  6. The National Archives: England Census 1911, RG14; Piece: 5844; Schedule Number: 112
  7. Supplement to The London Gazette, 3 June, 1916, p.5602
  8. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, 1858-1995, 1953 p.213

FOX, Evelyn Mary

Biography

Nursing Service in WW2

Picture of Evelyn Mary Fox
Evelyn Mary Fox
Granted commission as Sister QAIMNS(R) 13th December 19431

  1. The London Gazette, 1st February, 1944 p.576

HILLING, Sophie

Biography

Sphie Hilling was born in Deptford, London, on the 21st September 18841. She trained at the Infirmary, Birmingham between 1908 and 19121.

Nursing Service in WW1

In September 1917 Sister Hilling left the Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital, Whitchurch, Cardiff and joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) for service overseas. On the 15th September she was posted to France to join 72 General Hospital then based in Trouvelle1. On the 24th October 1917, whilst working in Trouvelle she was awarded the Royal Red Cross (Second Class) for her service at the Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital2.

In the summer of 1918 she had an excellent confidential report from the Matron of 72 General Hospital where she had been working as Home Sister1.

On the 10th October 1918 she was admitted to 72 General Hospital with influenza pneumonia, and sadly she died at 22:30 on the 12th October1.

The Matron-in-Chief BEF, Maud McCarthy, recorded her illness and subsequent death in her war diary3:

12.10.18. Sister S. Hilling, QAIMNSR: Wired Matron-in-Chief, War Office, and reported DGMS that Sister Sophie Hilling, QAIMNSR was on the “Dangerously Ill” list with Pneumonia.

13.10.18. Sister S. Hilling, QAIMNSR: Wired Matron-in-Chief, War Office, and reported to DGMS that Sister S. Hilling, QAIMNSR reported on the “Dangerously Ill” list yesterday, died at 10.30 p.m.

Her Matron, Eva Cicely Fox, wrote a letter to Maud McCarthy a few days later1.

My dear Miss McCarthy, I did not write to you before as I thought perhaps you might come for Sister Hilling’s funeral. I think that everything possible was done for her. Sister Devenish Meares and Sister Hoare shared the night nursing on Thursday night. She became ever so much worse about 1 o’clock on Friday, after I had written to you. Colonel Pasteur saw her that afternoon and gave up all hope. When I went down soon after 1 o’clock she just recognised me and that’s all. The saddest part was that her Mother (with a man cousin) arrived early on Sunday morning. The Mother is very old and I think almost penniless. Sister Hilling seems to have supported her almost entirely, she lives in some small street in Deptford.. It was most heart-breaking at the funeral, she was much impressed with all the wreaths, and kept on saying “How they must have loved my Sophie”. The Sisters had collected a little money to give Sister Hilling a present when she gave up being Home Sister, but had not yet bought anything, they now all want to make it into a much larger thing and not buy anything but give it to Mrs Hilling in memory. She will be much more missed than anyone else could have been. I was devoted to her and so was everyone. She was awarded the A.R.R.C. on October 25th, 1917, but had never received it (at Whitchurch Military Hospital). All the other Sisters and General Service V.A.D.s at the Annexe are a little better. I do hope this epidemic is subsidiary, no new sick Officers have got it for the last week, but the third one died last evening, and there is still one very ill. I was very glad the Mortuary Chapel was nice, it took such a long time getting it done. 

After WW1

On the 27th September 1919, “At a special meeting of the Deptford Borough Council the Mayor, Councillor W. Wayland, unveiled in the Council Chamber an Honours Board erected to the memory of Sister Sophie Hilling, a native of Deptford, who died in France in October from pneumonia at the age of 33 while acting as nurse with the Forces”4.

Artefacts

Death Plaque for Sophie Hilling

In April 2019, the QARANC Association purchased her ‘death plaque’ and started to research her life and career.


References

  1. The National Archives: War Office 399/3839
  2. London Gazette, 24th October, 1917, p.10979
  3. The National Archives: War Office 95/ 3988-91, Diary of Maud McCarthy, Matron in Chief BEF
  4. British Journal of Nursing, September 27th, 1919 p.196

RICHARDSON, Sybil Gwendoline

Nursing Service in WW2

206418 Sister Sybil Gwendoline Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service was killed at sea on the 12th February 1944, when the SS Khedive Ismail was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Indian Ocean1,2,3. She is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Panel 22. Column 34.

References

  1. Smith, AK (2004) Gender & Warfare in the twentieth century: Textual representations. Manchester: MUP. p112.
  2. Worsley, P. (Ed) (2010) SS Khedive Ismail. Maritime Heritage Association Journal Vol 21(2). p7.
  3. Crabbe, B. (2014) Beyond the call of duty [WWW] http://briancrabbmaritimebooks.com/Beyond_The_Cll_of_Duty.php
  4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. http://www.cwgc.org

RHODES, Sarah

Bibliography

Sarah “Sally” RHODES was born in Blackpool, Lancashire in 19061,2. She went to the Lancaster Girls Grammar School 1917-19222. In 1923 her father remarried. His second wife Isabella Smythe had been a sister in Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) in WW14.

Nursing Service in WW2

Sally RhodesSally RHODES served in the Second World War as a member of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service (Reserve). She recorded some of her memories for the Lancaster Girls Grammar School1 where she had been a pupil 1917-1922:

On September 1st, 1939, I found myself caught up in the whirl of activity which preceded the war. I spent the day evacuating children away from my ward in a London hospital, and packing everything away, so that it might be turned into a casualty clearing station for Westminster. I listened apprehensively to the hourly bulletins on the wireless, and to announcements of reserve group callings up. By tea-time my turn had come and by 10-30 p.m. I was in a strange house in Cookham, Hants., a member of His Majesty’s Army and a billetee.

For two weeks I reported daily in a hut under pine trees, filled up forms, had injections against this and that, bought kit, and tried to make myself realise that I was going on active service. Everyone seemed happy and enthusiastic until the last sobering morning of departure.

on September 15th I landed in Cherbourg with the staff of a twelve-hundred-bedded General Hospital, which we proceeded to open, in tents, outside Dieppe. I tried hard to remember  the L.G.G.S. And my French lessons, and soon learned to shop quite easily. There were no hostilities – but how we worked! The troops were not trained, and many were ill. We worked in heavy rain, mud over our ankles, then in the snow and frost we were so cold that we contemplated keeping our clothes on all winter, like the Eskimos. Then came a delightful spring, and working in the open was a joy. We lived in empty houses, with primitive sanitation, and bathed in canvas baths with water boiled on a primos stove. There was plenty to buy in the shops and no restrictions, so life was quite gay in spots.

Then came the awful news of the invasion of the Low Countries, and we prepared to receive casualties. Trains scheduled did not arrive; patients only trickled in; and everyone became harassed and dared not say what they thought. At five one morning I wakened to hear someone tapping at my window. I was asked to tell the others that we were to pack and report with hand baggage only at eight a.m. for breakfast, ready to leave in convoy at eight-thirty. Our heavy luggage would follow. We never saw it again! For two days we travelled as a convoy of forty ambulances. We had no food until the second day. I shall never forget the roads blocked with refugees, the night we spent in Le Mans, when we began to realise fully how bad things were. At last we landed in England, two hundred of us, not daring to tell of the panic and chaos in case we were called defeatest; but we felt we had deserted the men when need was greatest and that the end could not be far.

For the next year I worked in England. I saw the Battle of Britain and experienced the Blitz of London. Then I joined a little hospital ship, the Dindra on the West coast of Scotland, in the most “secret” area I’ve ever been in, and transferred my interest to the Battle of the Atlantic. The scenery was magnificent and it cheered me to see tanker after tanker round the corner into the Loch, often as many as thirty. But gradually the casualties and the survivors decreased in number and orders came for me to take part in the repatriation of P.O.W.’s from Newhaven to Dieppe. We loaded ninety-seven Germans, but after three days negotiations broke down and we went to Scapa Flow, very bleak and cold in January, and I was glad to be posted to Tidworth where I was very busy with minor casualties to Paratroopers, who in those days were almost a myth to most people.

Soon I was ordered to the Middle East with a hospital of six hundred beds. Another whirl of activity and more kit, white this time. I sailed in convoy with the 51st Highland Division and it was three months before we landed in Egypt. That voyage was an epic as well. We lost our convoy, the ship broke down twice, and the conditions were the worst I have ever known (and I have sailed in eleven different troopers). But everyone was wonderfully cheerful, and I think we all felt that this was going to be the turning point of the war, and we were proud to be with the men in the convoy who were to make history. We had a lovely time in Cape Town, Durban and Pietersmaritzburg where we stayed while the Banfora had repairs. The shops, the fruit, the lighted streets, and the welcome of the people delighted us. We were most disappointed when we found we were to go to Palestine, but we were mistaken. Palestine is the most interesting country I’ve been in, Jerusalem the most fascinating city, and it was easy to get about, and though we worked hard we had enough time to spare. We lived in tents in the south, and I thought it was all desert until in the spring the sand became a sheet of colour from tiny flowers, though there was no grass. News was good, and we were all happy; the Australian 9th Division came back after Alamain and that made me feel that we really had got to the turning point of the war. I was fortunate to to the Review by General Alexander before they left for home.

In the spring the African campaign was over and we packed our hospital in very secret fashion in June, 1943. As we were only going to be allowed 100 llbs of luggage we began to guess where we were going, and discuss what we should take. We were already on our way when the Scilian invasion was announced. We had a peaceful voyage on a Mediterranean like a tub of dolly-blue. We landed in Syracuse in white frocks, hats and shoes, and both natives and troops greeted us wildly. My first impressions were of a delightful place with lovely oleander trees; but everything was thickly covered with dust and flies. The drainage and water systems were bombed; there was no A.R.P., and the civilians lived in caves in the hills. In a dreadful raid the first night, our transport was sunk. We began our hospital in a big lunatic assylum built in 1934, but infested with bugs. Lack of equipment, excessive numbers of malarial patients, lack of drainage, scarcity of water, and opressive heat made hard work very difficult. But we found Syracuse very interesting and Scicily lovely, dominated by snow-capped Etna.

Promoted after that campaign, I went to Italy to join a field hospital stationed near Brindisi. I was impressed by the marble staircases of the building we used until I realised that it was just as bug-ridden as the one in Syracuse.

In April 1944, I moved again, back to England to help open the Second Front. We were delighted to be in England in the spring – no country is so green. We re-equiped and crossed to Normandy on D.10, landing on the beaches in ducks. I was very optimistic and thought that this was the end of the war; but I had forgotten Japan. For six months we worked – moving forward every few weeks – in the orchards of Normandy, a chateua garden further North, and in a hospital in Brussels. To the Belgians the war seemed over. They were hilarious and we packed to follow towards Arnhem. Although the news was bad Brussels did not seem to notice. After reaching Holland I was ordered home for service in the Far East. I was amazed and felt I was badly treated.

Going out this time we were all depressed. I landed in Bombay in February 1945. Travel in India was dificult, and there was much dirt and discomfort; in the hospital in Comilla conditions were very far from ideal; and we lived in little houses of bamboo basket-work which were infested with rats and mosquitoes. Life was complicated by the caste system, disturbed by thousands of crows and kites, and made unleasant by the lack of sanitation, though the natives were very clean in some ways.

After a few weeks I was ordered to mobilize a Casualty Clearing Station “somewhere forward” and gussed it meant Rangoon. When we arrived in Calcutta we heard that the invasion had already begun and after two excessively hot days we embarked for Rangoon. V.E. Day came while we were on board ship but though we tried to celebrate it was unsuccessful, for we felt it had no connection with us. I was the first woman to land in Rangoon since the Japanese occupation. We found our C.C.S. already occpied by the Dufferin Hospital, and they were very glad to see us. The land here seemed very green and delightful after the arid parts of Asam and India, and the vegetation became lush after the Monsoon broke. Rangoon itself was in a sorry state, without drainage, lighting or water; it had been badly blitzed, and most of the population had taken shelter in the Shewdagon Pagoda, which was filthy, but where we were expected to take off our hoes to walk on the holy ground. When a General Hospital took over in Rangoon I flew over Burma to Meiktilla to take charge of yet another C.C.S., wondering if Singapore would be the next move. But it wasn’t. The news of the Atom Bombs shook the world and there was talk of peace. We went mad. For one week we had one long party, first for the patients, then for the Indian troops (in the open with Jeep headlights for illuminations), then one for ourselves, and last a party for everyone we knew. After that I went on leave in the hills where it was cool and peaceful. When I came back my release papers were waiting, and at last we arrived home in a hospital ship. We landed at Southampton, and after an official welcome for the troops we were dispersed to various release camps. It took me exactly half-an-hour to get through the process of becoming a civilian; but it took me months to get used to wearing civilian dress.

Transcribed with permission from the Lancaster Girls Grammar School with grateful thanks (http://www.lggs.org.uk).

References

  1. England and Wales, Civil registration Birth Index 1837-1915
  2. England Census 1911 RG14/ 25426/ 233
  3. The Chronicle of the Lancaster Girls Grammar School 1947, pp36-39
  4. The National Archives: War Office 399/ 7783 Smythe, Isabella

PIRIE, Barbara

Nursing Service in WW2

Sister Barbara PIRIE QAIMNS 274846 Sister Barbara PIRIE Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service was killed at sea on the 12th February 1944, when the SS Khedive Ismail was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Indian Ocean1 2 3. She is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Panel 22. Column 24.

References

  1. Smith, AK (2004) Gender & Warfare in the twentieth century: Textual representations. Manchester: MUP. p112.
  2. Worsley, P. (Ed) (2010) SS Khedive Ismail. Maritime Heritage Association Journal Vol 21(2). p7.
  3. Crabbe, B. (2014) Beyond the call of duty [WWW] http://briancrabbmaritimebooks.com/Beyond_The_Cll_of_Duty.php
  4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. http://www.cwgc.org

PAYTON, Hilda Frances Elizabeth Lucy

Biography

Picture of HFEL PaytonHilda Frances Elizabeth Lucy PAYTON was born in Calton, Staffordshire on the 9th July, 19091. Her father was the Vicar2.

She had two brothers who died in WW1. Cpl Fredrick Thomas Croydon PAYTON died on the Somme on the 1st July, 19163. He was a member of the Special Brigade created to conduct gas attacks as well as smoke barrages. Lt. Clement Wattson PAYTON (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_W._Payton) was an RAF ace awarded the DFC and also the Crois de Guerre from Belgium. He was shot down and killed on the 2nd October, 19184.

She trained as a nurse at the Charing Cross Hospital, London, 1930-19335. In 1938 she was working as a nurse in the Trinity Nursing Home, Torquay in Devon, where the British Journal of Nursing records a patient leaving a legacy of £1000 to her “who nursed me during my illness” 6.

Nursing in Service WW2

She joined the Territorial Army Nursing Service (TANS) on the 30th May 19417, and transferred to the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) on 1 January, 1946 with a seniority of 1 February 19418. Her Commission was made substantive on 1st February, 19499.

After WW2

She transferred to the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps on it’s foundation. Capt HEFL Payton was posted to BETFOR (British Element Trieste Force) in 195110, and in 1951 she was also promoted from Captain to Major11. She was present at the Regimental Dinner given for the retirement of Brigadier Dame Helen Gillespie DBE RRC QHNS, held at Millbank in 195612. In 1958 she was posted to BAOR (British Army on the Rhine)13, and her retirement was announced the same year14. Later that year she married Dr. John Horsfield Otty15. She died on 8 January, 1977 in Bingley. West Yorkshire16.

References

  1. England & Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906
  2. The National Archives: England Census RG14 Ashbourne 437/20/211033
  3. Commonwealth War Graves Commission https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/293167/payton,-frederick-thomas-croydon/
  4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/486365/payton,-clement-wattson/
  5. UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968. General Nursing Council, England 1946
  6. Legacies to Nurses. British Journal of Nursing. 1938, February pp.44
  7. London Gazette, 6th February, 1942 pp.608
  8. London Gazette, 17th May, 1946 pp.2338
  9. London Gazette, 25th February, 1949 pp. 991
  10. QARANC Association Gazette Vol 1(6) p16
  11. QARANC Association Gazette Vol 1(9) p22
  12. QARANC Association Gazette Vol 2(15) p15
  13. QARANC Association Gazette Vol 3(4) p24
  14. QARANC Association Gazette Vol 3(5) p47
  15. England & Wales, Marriage Index 1916-2005
  16. England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2007

PATTERSON, Marion F

Biography

Sister Marion F. Patterson trained at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. She joined the Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) on March 28, 19001.

Nursing Service in the Boer War

She left Southampton for South Africa on the Canada on April 14, 19002. During the Boer War Sister Marion F. Patterson served at the General Hospital, Wynberg3. General Hospital, Kroonstad4. General Hospital, Bloemfontein5 and General Hospital, Middleburg6.

References

  1. War Office (1900) Nominal Roll of Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) as at 30th September
  2. The Times, April 16, 1900 p8a&8b
  3. The National Archives: WO 100/229 QSA Medal Roll p4 created at No1 General Hospital, Wynberg; dated July 14, 1901
  4. WO 100/229 QSA Medal Roll p28 created at No3 General Hospital, Kroonstad; dated August 7, 1901
  5. WO 100/229 QSA Medal Roll p160 created at No9 General Hospital, Bloemfontein; September, 1901
  6. WO 100/353 KSA Medal Roll p23 created at Middleburg; February 23, 1903

PATERSON, L M

Nursing Service in the Boer War

Nurse L. M. Paterson joined the Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) on August 26, 19011. During the Boer War Sister L. M. Paterson served at Bloemfontein2.

References

  1. War Office (1900) Nominal Roll of Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) as at 30th September
  2. National Archives: WO 100/229 QSA Medal Roll p185 created at Lines of Communication, Bloemfontein; August 26, 1901

PARSONS, Mable

Biography

Sister Mabel Parsons trained at the Swansea General and Eye Hospital in Swansea. She joined the Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) on March 28, 19001.

Nursing Service in the Boer War

During the Boer War Sister Mabel Parsons served at the Stationary Hospital, Middleburg2 3.

References

  1. War Office (1900) Nominal Roll of Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service (Reserve) as at 30th September
  2. The National Archives: WO 100/229 QSA Medal Roll p120 created at No17 Stationary Hospital, Middleburg; August 8, 1901
  3. The National Archives: WO 100/353 KSA Medal Roll p23 created at Middleburg; February 23, 1903