Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Helen Hetterley, QAIMNS (1891 - 1917) - British

Staff Nurse HELEN HETTERLEY of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service died on 30th May 1917.
Helen was born on 4th May 1891. Her parents were George, a butler, and Elizabeth Hetterley, nee Kirby, who lived in Station Rd., Oakham.  Helen’s siblings were: Lilian, b. 1889, Phillis, b. 1890, Hilda, b. 1893, Sybil, b. 1897, Charles, b. 1900, Marjorie, b. 1902, Humphrey, b. 1903 and Herbert, b. 1906. 
Helen trained as a nurse and in 1911 was working as a children’s nurse with a wealthy family in London.  During WW1, Helen worked at the Military Hospital in Canterbury where she contracted T.B.  After initial treatment, when nothing further could be done for her, Helen returned home, where she died on 30th May 1917.   Helen was buried in Oakham Cemetery in Rutland - Grave Reference: 30. 45.

Helen’s cousin, Sergeant Joseph Hetterley, joined the Army Service Corps in March 1915 and served with the 2nd Northumberland Field Ambulance on the Western Front.  He served during the Second Battle of Ypres and was killed in July 1915.

Sources:  Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War; Find my Past and http://www.theygavetheirtoday.com/oakham-town-wwi.html

Monday, 15 May 2017

Alice Palmieri (1872 – 1917) – British subject, nurse

Alicia was a British subject born in 1872 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She trained at the New York City Hospital and was later Superintendent at the Yellow Fever Hospital, Havana, Cuba under Major General William Crawford Gorgas, US Army Medical Corps.

Alicia met her future husband, Jean Baptist Palmieri (born 1/3/1868 in Ponce, Peurto Rico), while serving in the Spanish-American War in 1898.

On 29th April 1915, Alicia was one of five VAD nurses who left Waterloo Station in London to travel to Kragujevac, Serbia via Salonica.  'The Ladies Field' of 23rd October 1915 reported on the event:
“Sister Palmieri nursed the typhus-stricken Serbians at Kragujevac under conditions calculated to daunt the bravest. Subsequently they were able to move into two buildings formerly used as stables, after having the floors cemented and the whole place fumigated and white-washed. Sister Palmieri is now temporarily in France”.

Alicia was posted to the Russo-Serbian Unit in September 1916 and worked as a nurse at Petrograd, Russia.  She died on 15th May 1917 in hospital in Petrograd and is commemorated on the Archangel Memorial in Russia.   Her next of kin was listed as Miss McMann, 21 Woodfield Crescent, Paddington, London.

Alicia’s husband joined the American Army in September 1918 in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. He was a naturalised American citizen and a government employee, living at 222 Camargo Street, San Antonio. He gave his nearest relative as Marjorie Palmieri (born 27th January 1912). Marjorie’s mother’s maiden name was given as Vandewil which could mean that was possibly Alicia’s maiden name. 

Jean Baptist served in Belgium and returned to New York from Le Havre on the 23rd November 1920 aboard the SS La Savoie. When he applied for a passport in 1921, giving his address as Santurce, Porto Rico.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War: 

ARCHANGEL MEMORIAL, Russian Federation

PALMIERI, Nurse, Mrs. ALICIA. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 15 May 1917. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Ethel Locke-King (1864 - 1956) - British businesswoman

Ethel was born Ethel Gore-Brown in 1864 in Tasmania where her father, Sir Thomas Gore-Brown was Governor.  In 1894, Ethel married Hugh Locke-King and they went to live at “Brooklands” in Weybridge, Surrey. Shortly after their marriage, Ethel and Hugh purchased a hotel called “Mena House” just outside Cairo in Egypt which had formerly been a hunting lodge.  They made it into a luxury hotel and added a golf course on the advice of a friend – Alice Gress.    

They began their married life by farming the Brooklands estate but Hugh was passionately interested in motor racing and soon began building a race track on their land. The Motor Car Act of 1903 in Britain restricted motor vehicles to a 20 miles per hour speed limit which meant that trials between motor vehicles could not take place on public roads.

The earliest mention of a trial between motor vehicles was recorded as being from Paris to Rouen in July 1894, which was followed in 1895 with a race between Paris and Bordeaux.

Ethel took over the supervision of the development of the Brooklands racing circuit and aerodrome when the hard work involved in organising the construction adversely affected her husband’s health. Ethel’s family helped out, lending sufficient money to pay off debts incurred by the building work. Brooklands Motor Racing Circuit and Aerodrome was opened on June 1907 with a luncheon for motor car manufacturers.    On 17th June 1907, Ethel led the inaugural procession of cars on to the track in her Itala car.  The first race was held on 6th July 1907 and around ten thousand people attended the event.   Women were not allowed to race but in 1908 the Ladies Bracelet Handicap was run with nine entrants.  The winner was Muriel Thompson in an Austin, with Ethel Locke-King in the Italia second and Christobel Ellis in an Arrol-Johnston third.   The Brooklands Automobile Club then banned women drivers until 1928.  A similar ban was imposed on women's football teams after WW1.

During the First World War, Ethel Locke-King (seen here on the right) was Assistant County Director of Surrey, UK. She was responsible for establishing and organising twelve auxiliary military hospitals, one of which was in their home Brooklands House and is now Brooklands College.  Several of the other hospitals were in houses owned by Hugh Locke-King.  Ethel oversaw the management of 700 volunteers in nineteen Voluntary Aid Detachments.  Mena House Hotel in Egypt was requisitioned for use by the Australian Army during WW1.

For her work during the conflict, Ethel was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1918.

If you have not already visited Brooklands, I can highly recommend it.  The banking was absolutely incredible and would never be permitted in Formula One today.   After the death of her husband in 1926, Ethel continued to farm the Brooklands estate, with particular interest in their herd of Guernsey cattle.  After Hugh Locke King’s death in 1926, Dame Ethel continued to play an active role in the Brooklands track company until its sale to new investors in 1936.  She died in 1956.

The famous British race track, which was the first purpose-built circuit for racing motor cars in the world, is the subject of a temporary exhibition being held at Brooklands Museum in April 2017.  The Exhibition, which is organised by the Surrey Museums Partnership together with 43 Surrey museums, will to mark Surrey Museums Month. The theme of this year’s Museums Month, held annually. This year’s theme celebrates the history of the county’s “Surrey Women”.

To find out more about the exhibition at Brooklands please see their website https://www.brooklandsmuseum.com/about/latest-news/april-is-surrey-museums-month

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Remembering Margaret Mayne who died on 20th April 1917

With grateful thanks to Callan Chevin for information about Margaret Mayne, who was born in Ballinamallard, Co. Tyrone, Ireland in 1882.

Margaret trained as a nurse and worked as a Staff Nurse in the North Staffordshire Infirmary from 1907 until the outbreak of WW1.  She died in Harwich Hospital on 20th April 1917.  A plaque to the memory of Margaret, who was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross Medal for her work, was placed in the Chapel of the North Staffordshire Infirmary. Since 2015, this plaque has been situated in the Atrium at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK.

Margaret's name is not on my copy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War.  If anyone knows more about Margaret, please get in touch.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Sinking Of HMHS Salta - 10th April 1917

Proving just how dangerous crossing the Channel was in WW1, His Majesty’s Hospital Ship ‘Salta’ hit a mine and sank on 10th April 1917, going down in under ten minutes.  Among those who died were 9 nurses of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Reserve, 42 Royal Army Medical Corps personnel and 79 crew members.

HMHS ‘Salta’ was on her way from Britain to the port of Le Havre in France to collected wounded to transport them to Britain for treatment.

The ship was a passenger liner built by French ship builders Societe de Forges et Chantier de la Mediterranee at Seyne-sur-Mer in Var.   She was run by the Societe General de Transport Maritime Steam and requisitioned by the British Admiralty in 1914 to be converted into a hospital ship.  

The nurses who died were buried in the Saint Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France:

CRUICKSHANK, Nursing Sister, ISABELLA. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile north from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 48. Daughter of William and Isabella Mutch Cruickshank, of Aberdeen. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

ENGLAND, Stewardess, F J. H.M.H.S. "Salta", Mercantile Marine. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile north from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.
FOYSTER, Nursing Sister, ELLEN LUCY. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 36. Daughter of Rebecca Foyster, of 37, Madeira Avenue, Worthing, Sussex, and the late H. A. Foyster. On active service 1915-1917. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.
GURNEY, Staff Nurse, E S. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile north from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.
JONES, Nursing Sister, GERTRUDE EILEEN. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 31. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.
MANN, Staff Nurse, AGNES GREIG. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, attd. H.M.H.S. "Salta.". Drowned at sea on H.M.H.S. "Salta." (mine explosion), half a mile N. from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 25. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Mann, of 17, Clepington St., Dundee. Grave Reference: Div. 62. 1.
MASON, Staff Nurse, FANNY. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 27. Daughter of Thomas and Catherine Elizabeth Mason, of Ivy Court, Giggleswick, nr. Settle, Yorks. Native of Hawes, Yorks. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.
McALISTER, Staff Nurse, CLARA. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 36. Sister of Marion McAlister, of Little Hill, Pulborough, Sussex. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.
ROBERTS, Staff Nurse, JANE. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

More information can be found in Women Casualties Of The Great War In Military Cemeteries - Volume 1: Belgium & France

ISBN 978-1-909643-26-086 pages with black and white photographs
perfect bound paperback
Selling price £6.00 plus postage and packing

Monday, 20 March 2017

Hospital Ship HMHS ‘Asturias’ sunk 20th – 21st March 1917 off Start Point in the English Channel

Remembering today those who died as a result of the sinking of the ‘Asturias’ on the night of 20th – 21st March 1917, among them were two women:

Bridget TRENERRY, aged 64, Stewardess on HMHS "Asturias" (Belfast), Mercantile Marine.
Bridget died on 24th March 1917, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine.  Daughter of the late John and Mary Murphy; wife of the late Edmund Trenerry.  Bridget is commemorated on the HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON, Hampshire, UK

Bridget was born Bridget Murphy in 1853 in Dublin.  She was married to Edmund Trenerry, a Customs Officer in Falmouth in September 19871 and the family lived in Truro in Cornwall in 1881.    Edmund and Bridget had two sons – Henry, born in 1878 and Francis, born in 1882.  In 1891 the family were living in Southampton and by 1901, Edmund had retired and they were living in Portswood, Hampshire.

And Nursing Sister Jessie Josephine PHILLIPS, a 28-year old Staff Nurse with the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, who drowned at sea (from HMHS "Asturias") on 21st March 1917 and commemorated on the TOWER HILL  MEMORIAL in London.  Jessie was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal during WW1.

Jessie was born in Mooltan, Bengal, India on 21st March 1889.  Her father was Frederick William Phillips, a Police Superintendent, and his wife Josephine Maud Phillips, nee Laville.
On the night of 20th – 21st March 1917, HMHS ‘Asturias’ was on her way from the port of Avonmouth, near Bristol, to Portsmouth on the south coast of England.  She had just unloaded a thousand wounded men to be transferred to hospitals in Britain. She was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat off the south coast of Devonshire.   The crew managed to beach the ship near Bolt Head.

‘Asturias’ was another of the passenger liners requisitioned by the British Admiralty for use as a hospital ship during the First World War. Originally in service with the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company ‘Asturias’ was built by Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders of Belfast, who built the Titanic and her sister ships, and sailed the route between Southampton and Buenos Aires in The Argentine.   She was sent to be re-fitted as a hospital ship and served during the Gallipoli Campaign, in Egypt and Salonika.

In 1915, ‘Asturias’ was the first hospital ship to be targeted by German U-boats.  A torpedo hit her but did not detonate.   A press release issued by the German Government at the time explained that ‘Asturias’, clearly marked as a Hospital Ship, had been wrongly identified as a target.

In October 1916, British writer and poet J.J.R. Tolkien, who was taken ill with Trench Fever while serving on the Western Front, was evacuated to Britain on HMHS ‘Asturias’.

In January 1917, with the British naval blockade causing food shortages and their progress on the Western Front slowed, Germany announced that she would be waging unrestricted submarine warfare on shipping travelling to Britain.  A Declaration issued on 31st January 1917 by the German Government and reported in the British press announced:

“The German Government can no longer suffer that the British Government forwards troops and munitions to the main theatre of war under cover of the Red Cross and if therefore declares that from now on no enemy hospital ship will be allowed in the sea from Flamborough Head to Tershelling on the one hand and Ouesant (Ushant) and Land’s End on the other.  If in this sea zone after the expiry of the stated time any enemy hospital ship is encountered, it will be considered as a v(“Diss Express, 6th April 1917)

Following the sinking of the HMHS “Asturias”, the British “Government announced that measures would be adopted to bring home to the German Government the shameful character of the outrages committed under their orders.”  (Globe, Saturday, 7th April 1917)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission  List of Female Casualties of the First World War; British Newspaper Archive;  and http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?/topic/134145-hmhs-asturias/&page=3

Monday, 13 March 2017

Dorothy Mortimer Watson – (1888 – 1917) – British Staff Nurse

Dorothy was born in Ilkley, Yorkshire in 1888.  Her parents were Christopher Holmes Watson, a yarn agent born in Norwich, and his wife, Mary, nee Stewart.  Dorothy had a brother, Ben Howard, born in 1875 and a sister Beatrice Balfour, born in 1883.  

Dorothy was educated at the Masonic Institution for Girls in Clapham, London, a boarding school for girls founded in 1788 by Bartholomew Ruspini, an Italian-born dentist.  The school was set up for the daughters of Freemasons who had died or fallen upon hard times.  Dorothy’s father died in 1894.  Schooling lasted for five years and during that time the girls did not return home for holidays and visits from family members was discouraged.

In 1910, Dorothy’s sister, Beatrice Watson married Alfred Daniel Kemp and went to live in Norfolk.

Dorothy trained as a nurse at Harrogate Infirmary. During the First World War she enrolled in the Territorial Force Nursing Service.  Entry into the TFNS was extremely strictly controlled – applicants had to be between the ages of 25 and 35, British subjects, well-educated and to have completed a three year training course as a nurse at an approved hospital.

After service at No. 2 Northern General Hospital in Leeds and in Leeds War Hospital, Dorothy was posted to Malta in 1916, where she worked at the St. John Military Hospital in Sliema.  This was originally a school but was requisitioned for use as a hospital in WW1.   Dorothy died on 13th March 1917 and was buried in the Pieta Military Cemetery in Malta.   She is also commemorated on the War Memorial in Harrogate. 

In Malta's Pieta Military Cemetery are the graves of four other women who died while serving during WW1 - three nurses and a doctor.