Saturday, 4 March 2017

Mary Jane Pilkington Stuart Gartside-Tipping (1866 - 1917) - British

"The death occurred on March 4th 1917 "in the war zone in France, while on active service" of Mrs Mary Jane Pilkington Stuart Gartside-Tipping."

Mary was the daughter of Captain Walter Henry Stewart Flynn, R.A. and his wife Mary Elizabeth Pilkington, who were married in Westminster in March 1865.  Mary’s mother was related to William Pilkington, a Lancashire cotton mill owner.

Mary’s mother re-married after the death of Captain Flynn and her second husband was George Augustus Coombe, a surgeon and MP from Lancashire, who took his wife's maiden name and was knighted in 1893.  Sir George and Lady Mary Pilkington lived in Southport in Lancashire.

Mary married Henry Thomas Gartside-Tipping, the eldest son of Gartside Gartside-Tipping of Bolton and of Rossferry, Belturbet, Co. Fermanagh, in Ormskirk, Lancashire in 1890. They went to live on the Isle of Wight in "Quarr Wood" in Binstead, which Henry had inherited from his uncle the Reverend Vernon Tipping.  They had three children.   In 1911 the family was living in Geldston, Norfolk.

During the First World War Mary Gartside-Tipping worked for nearly a year at the Munitions Worker's Canteen, Woolwich, and in January 1917 joined the Women's Emergency Canteens (Compiegne), for service on the Western Front  in France.  The Women's Emergency Canteens were run by the London Committee of the French Red Cross.  Mary was accidentally shot by a deranged French soldier on 4th March 1917. The French military authorities did everything possible to express their sympathy.  The French medal the Croix de Guerre, which had been withheld from women since November 1916, was awarded to her and she was buried with full military funeral honours in Vauxbuin French National Cemetery, Aisne, France.

Lieutenant-Commander H. T. Gartside-Tipping returned to naval service during the First World War. A keen yachtsman, when he was killed at the age of 67, Henry was the oldest serving naval officer of that war.  He was killed on 25th September 1915 during naval operations in the North Sea off Zeebrugge on the coast of Belgium, serving in the Dover Patrol vessel H.M. Armed Yacht "Sanda".

Lt. Commander and Mrs Gartside-Tippings are also commemorated on the War Memorial at Southport, Lancashire.   

Sources:  Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War,
The Times Digital Archive and

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