Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Mary Janet Climpson (c.1884 - 1940) – Salvation Army officer

With thanks to Sue Robinson of Wenches in Trenches for finding Mary.  I am still trying to find a complete biography but in the meantime, 
Mary Janet Gibson was born in around 1884 to John and Ann Gibson.

In September 1911, Mary married Herbert A. Climpson in Durham.  Herbert reached the rank of Captain and Mary reached the rank of Brigadier.  Together they ran the Salvation Army Citadel in Brierfield, near Nelson in East Lancashire.

During WW1, Mary worked in various Salvation Army centres, which offered very similar facilities to the YMCA Huts.   During the Second World War, Mary and her husband were based in the British National Salvation Army Headquarters which was in Arras.  When the Germans advanced in May 1940, they were told to leave and travelled by road.  The joined a military convoy which was bombed by German planes and Mary was killed by shrapnel.   Her body was initially buried in a field  was transferred after the end of the Second World War to where it lies today in the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery in France.

The Salvation Army was set up in the East End of London in 1867 by a Methodist Minister called William Booth and his wife Catherine.  It was initially known as the East London Christian Mission.  Representatives were sent to help the soldiers during the Boer War and in 1902 the Naval and Military League came into being - the forerunner to the Red Shield Centres which came into being in the Second World War.


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