Monday, 3 March 2014

Betty STEVENSON, YMCA Volunteer

Bertha "Betty" Stevenson was born in York on 3rd September 1896. The family moved to Harrogate when Betty was little.  Betty went to boarding school in 1910 and to Brussels to study music in 1913.

When War broke out, Betty and her family rushed down to London to help Belgian Refugees, some of whom they took into their home.  When her aunt went to France in 1916 to work in a YMCA canteen, Betty volunteered to go as well.

It took a while for permission to be granted because Betty was only nineteen. When her aunt had to return home, Betty's Mother took her place and the pair worked together for many months before returning to the UK in November 1916.    In 1917, Betty went back to France, where she worked as a driver but the long hours, hard work, erratic meals and weather took their toll on her health and Betty had several bouts of 'flu.  

Betty was transferred from driving back to working in a canteen in Etaples in 1918. She was killed in an air raid on the night of 30th May 1918 as she was returning to their hostel with some of her fellow YMCS volunteers after helping serve refreshments to French refugees at the station after a full day's work.   Betty was buried with full military honours in the British Cemetery in Etaples and received the French Croix de Guerre aver Palme.

"Betty Stevenson, YMCA Croix de Guerre avec Palme Sept. 3rd 1896 - May 30th 1918", edited by G.G.R.S. and A.G.S. published by Longmans Green and Company, New York, 1920

Photo:  Betty Stevenson on Google Images

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