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Guest ksk19

Belgian Nurses in Wales (Cardiff)

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Guest ksk19

My grandmother Alice Van Puyvelde was evacuated from Belgium in the great war. She was a midwife by trade, but nursed my grandfather in the great war when he was wounded. He returned to war, and again was wounded, and she nursed him again (so the story goes). That was how they met, and they married after.

I am extremely interested in finding some information from the nurses side in the great war, in particular in Cardiff.

Can anyone point me in the right direction for this, (in the way of websites - I'm researching this from Australia), and/or information on the evacuees from Belgium that arrived in southern Wales, during the war time.

I know nothing about my grandmother except her birthdate and place, and would love to fill in some of the years between then and her marriage to George Wall.

Karen

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Sue Light

Karen

Is it possible that your grandmother continued to nurse for the Army after her marriage? It may just be a coincidence, but there is a file for an Alice Wall in WO399 at the PRO, employed as a trained nurse in the Territorial Force Nursing Service. If you think it's likely I'll happily have a look at it next time I'm there.

Sue

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Bernard_Lewis

There were certainly Belgian refugees in Swansea during the Great War. Swansea had some affinity with the Belgian people since at the turn of the century the Swansea metal processing masters prized the smelting skills of the Belgians and advertised local jobs that would suit their skills in the Belgian press.

Bernard Lewis

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Guest ksk19

Sue,

Thanks for replying. On Alice and George's marriage certificate of 1923 , she had no occupation written down, so whether she was working up till then, its possible.

What is the number W0399 for? And the Territorial Force Nursing Service - would they be in Cardiff, as that was where they were married?

Can I ask where you found that information from?

(Pardon my ignorance).

Karen

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Guest ksk19

Bernard,

Do you know of any website that may point to passenger lists on ships that would have carried Belgian evacuees to Wales?

Thanks

Karen

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Guest ksk19

I've just been given a bit more info on this subject, and that was that Alice came to Britain by submarine after Belgium fell to the Germans, (possibly because she was a nurse?)She was sent to Cardiff to nurse the wounded soldiers sent back from the front. She switched to nursing gas victims.

So going from this, information on submarines arriving in Wales would be handy, and also, does anyone know if there was a special place that gas victims were nursed at?

Karen

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Sue Light

Karen

If your grandmother’s marriage was in 1923, then the file is almost certainly not hers [sorry]. The Territorial Force Nursing Service was set up in 1908 to provide a force of trained civilian nurses who undertook to staff the Territorial Hospitals in case of hostilities. Although designed for home service, the staff of 2,000 expanded more than five-fold during the war and served all over the UK and abroad. After the war the numbers were reduced again and the service returned to its pre-war footing. But while it was happy to accept all classes of trained nurses during the war, in 1920 the War Office decided that all married members must resign; so if your grandmother was not married until 1923 she could not have been part of it in her married name [and she doesn’t appear under her maiden name].

WO399 is a class at the National Archives that contains records of trained nurses who worked for either the TFNS or the QAIMNS during the war, and the index can be searched through the Public Record Office on-line catalogue, PROCAT. The main hospital in Cardiff was No. 3 Western General, and this previous thread gives some information about hospital facilities in Cardiff at that time.

Hospitals in Cardiff

Sue

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Guest Pete Wood
I've just been given a bit more info on this subject, and that was that Alice came to Britain by submarine after Belgium fell to the Germans, (possibly because she was a nurse?).

Can someone please confirm this information for Karen (and me!!) - that women travelled by submarine......??!!??

I confess I have never heard of this before.

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Sue Light
Can someone please confirm this information for Karen (and me!!) - that women travelled by submarine......??!!??

I confess I have never heard of this before.

Pete - you have obviously led a sheltered Forum life :lol:

This thread had rather a lot about nurses and submarines, and failed to prove a link unless Christine has an update. Of course, Karen's grandmother would still have been a civilian at that time, so the case is a bit different.

Nurse in Submarine

Sue

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Bernard_Lewis

No, I'm not aware of any named lists. I think the West Glamorgan Archive Service at Swansea MIGHT have lists of shipping into the port of Swansea but whether this extends to passenger lists I don't know.

The WGAS has a web site though I'm afraid I don't have an address for it to hand. If you look at Swansea.gov.uk and search on 'Archives' I think you'll turn up something.

Bernard Lewis

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Guest ksk19

Hi,

Just thanking everybody for taking the time to reply to my queries.

I have since found on a Belgian site that only 1 passenger list survived the war, so that rules that out.

Still trying out some of the other advice there, and hopefully get a step or two closer.

Karen

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Guest Pete Wood

Karen, I think you're looking at this in the wrong way. I honestly doubt that your grandmother (or any woman) travelled by submarine. But I'm VERY happy to be proved wrong :D

She probably travelled by ship - and I don't think that the ship would have travelled to Cardiff/Swansea. It is far more likely, in my humble opinion, that the ship landed at Dover or somewhere else on the Kent coast.

She would have then travelled to Wales by train.

I sincerely believe that you're wasting your time looking for shipping lists (which are rare, even for civilian ships of this period). You don't even know the date she travelled, do you....??

You'd be far better off, I think, looking for more facts, based on the concrete evidence you have; which hospital, the dates she was there, who else worked with her etc etc.

Or am I the only one who thinks this way...... ?

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