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Remembered Today:

Lillian Maud Trotter - did she serve?


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My post concerns Lillian Maud Trotter, my mother’s first cousin.

Lillian Maud Trotter was born on 9th January 1883, and baptised at Christ Church, Rawalpindi, on 31st December 1886. Lillian was with her parents at “Cosy Nook”, Simla, on 15th May 1901. She became a qualified nurse, and was generally referred to in passenger lists as a ‘nursing sister’ or ‘hospital nurse.’ It is very likely that she arrived in England from Burma in May 1913. After the First World War she spent some time in Brazil, and on her visits to the United Kingdom she stayed with her younger brother Alfred Charles Trotter, a dentist who practised in Portobello, Edinburgh. [Note: Alfred served in the First World War with the Royal Scots Regiment, first as a Private and then as a Second Lieutenant. Later while practising in the Straits Settlements he served as Captain in the Penang and Province Wellesley Volunteers.] Lillian was in India in 1933 when her mother Ellen Watsham died, and in 1934 she returned to England to live in London. In the period 1932-1935 she made visits to the Allan family in Liverpool, and in 1935 made a return trip from London to Port Said, Egypt, with her first cousin Lilian Mary A. Watsham (who married James Anderson Allan). Lillian’s last recorded overseas journey was to New York, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, when she stated that she was born in ‘India, Ambala.’ She arrived back in England on 17th September 1939 aboard the Georgic. Lillian never married. When she died at the age of 83 on 9th February 1966 she was living at Spencer House, 11 Belsize Park Gardens, London N.W.3.

The Trotters were a military family, and a number of the descendants of Lillian’s grandfather have had distinguished military careers. I recently came across the following medal card for a nurse who served overseas in the First World War, and it seemed possible that this nurse could have been one and the same as Lillian Maud Trotter.


From the St. John organization I have established that ‘…a Lillian M. Trotter served with the British Red Cross as a nursing sister in France at Malassise. She is shown in the Register of Overseas Volunteers as a ‘nursing sister’ which means that she was a qualified nurse. (This record dates from 1916.) She seems not to have been a St. John nurse because I found no later record for her with St. John.…’ The writer recommended that I write to the Red Cross Archives, which keeps the two sets of personnel cards for the Joint War organization. I have done that, and hope to receive a reply in due course.

From other sources I have found that:

- An L. M. Trotter from the General Lying-in Hospital London passed the examination of the Central Midwives Board in October 1913 (British Journal of Nursing Supplement 22nd November 1913).

- A Lilian M. Trotter was a member of a division of the 8th unit of the British Red Cross that went to Dinard, France, on 8th October 1914 (British Journal of Nursing, 24th October 1914). This does not appear to match the medal card.

- A Miss Lilian Mary Trotter, Charge Sister B.R.C.S. was awarded the Associate of the Royal Red Cross (Supplement to the London Gazette dated 1st January 1919). The British Journal of Nursing 1st February 1919 refers to the same with the name given as ‘Miss L. M. Trotter.’

- On 2nd August 1919 the King conferred the ARRC on a Miss Lilian Trotter at an investiture at Buckingham Palace (British Journal of Nursing 9th August 1919). Was this investiture related to the award in January 1919?

- In late 1920 a Miss Lillian M. Trotter RRC [Note: not ARRC] was appointed to Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Service for India.

On the basis of the information so far, it looks certain that there was a Lilian Mary Trotter. But was there another Lillian M. Trotter? I have found only one medal card – why does it not agree with the Lilian who went overseas in October 1914? While I’m waiting for a reply from the Red Cross Museum and Archives, what else can I do? Is there any way I can access the details of the British Midwives Board or the appointment to the Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Service for India?

I should be grateful for any comments.

Thank you.


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I have a feeling that the answer to this might sound rather complicated!

A search of the medal index cards with full name/initials etc., seems to confirm that there was only one Lillian Trotter who served overseas with the British nursing services.

The nurse who received the ARRC (London Gazette 1/1/19) was named as Lilian Mary Trotter. The Investiture at Buckingham Palace in August did relate to this award, and there are only two other Trotters in the entire RRC Register - Jane Elizabeth Trotter (for WW1) and a Canadian, Margaret May Trotter (for WW2). So I think that clears up the final point about the woman who joined QAMNS(India) - the decoration confirms it must have been this same Lilian Mary Trotter.

The London Gazette is sometimes inaccurate with regard to the spelling of names, but usually, if there is an error in the LG, the entry in the actual RRC Register is corrected to show the true name. Of course it's possible that this woman was actually Lillian Maud Trotter, and both the LG and the Register have the wrong name, but I feel it's unlikely. Also, the entry for this woman does actually state that it was for services in France.

So there is one medal index card for a Lilian M. Trotter, and a Lilian Mary Trotter who received the ARRC and also served in France.

The difference in dates on the card is probably because when Lilian Trotter went to France in October 1914 she went with the British Red Cross to Dinard, and would have been working there for the French, not the British, and would not have qualified for British service medals. The date on the MIC is interesting. The BRCS Register of Overseas Volunteers shows that she worked at Mallasises (St. Omer). That hospital was originally opened by the British Red Cross to nurse sick Belgian civilians, and had a full complement of BRCS staff. During the first week of June 1915 the hospital was handed over to the War Office/British medical services, and from then on was known as No.7 General Hospital. Some of the BRCS staff, if they were properly qualified, transferred to the QAIMNS Reserve, while others, through choice or necessity, continued to work for the Joint War Committee (BRCS/St.JJ) but the MIC date does fit in with the first time that she would probably have worked under the auspices of the War Office looking after British/Dominion casualties, and thus qualifying for British service medals.

So all this information does seem to relate to the same woman, who appears to be Lilian Mary Trotter, rather than Lillian Maud Trotter. If the BRCS confirm her middle name as Mary, then it looks as though she is not 'your' woman, though there is a possibility that she could still be Lillian Maud. Their service cards are often a little less than skimpy, but do usually have middle names.

The Registers of the Central Midwives' Board are held at The National Archives, but are not online, and the service records of members of Queen Alexandra's Military Nursing Service for India are held at The British Library, and tend to be a bit hit and miss - they are not online, and even with a visit to the BL and a following wind I find it on the far side of complicated to access them!

Of course, Lillian Maud Trotter could easily have worked in a UK hospital during the war, and not gone overseas - the 'home' nurses were certainly in the majority, number-wise.


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Thank you very much indeed for your comprehensive and authoritative reply. I was rather hoping that my post would catch your eye! Although I confess to a tinge of disappointment that it was 'Mary' and not 'Maud' after all, the most important thing is to give due recognition to the right person.

As and when the British Red Cross Museum replies (I e-mailed them on 14th April) I will post the details here, as I will when I receive a copy of 'Maud's' will if the latter document contains anything relevant.

Thank you once again.


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Sue (and others),

I have received a reply from the British Red Cross Society. To say that I am stunned is an understatement!

As I perhaps half-suspected, there were TWO nurses by the name of Lil(l)ian M. TROTTER!

The BCRS have sent me three record cards, photocopies thereof. These are not that good for scanning, although I'll try that later. I'll therefore transcribe them.

Two cards refer to one lady, the third to the second lady.

Card 1.

Miss Lillian Maude TROTTER.

Permanent address: c/o The Revd. M. C. Sanders, 29 Denmark Road, Gloucester.

Date of Engagement: 10th October 1914, Rank: Trained Nurse, Pay: One pound one shilling pwk(?)(I presume per week).

Date of Termination: 18th January 1919 Rank Trained Nurse, Pay: One pound four shillings pwk(?)

Rest of card not filled in except for

Honours awarded: A.R.R.C. 2-1-19.

Reverse of card (Period of Service etc.) not filled in.

Card 2.

Miss Lilian Maud Trotter.

Department for Reference: T.N.

Permanent address: c/o Rev. M.C. Saunders (then something I cannot read) 29 Denmark Road, Gloucester.

Certificate no: 1466

Age when engaged: 30

Date of Engagement: 10th October 1914, Rank: Sister, Pay: blank

Date of Termination: 18th January 1919, Rank: blank, Pay: blank

Previous Engagements under Joint War Committee: Dinard Mal: Hos: St. Omer, No.2 Rouen, No. 8 LeTouquet(?), No.XI A.T., No. 9 Calais, No. 8 Le Touq,

No.2 Rouen, No.8 Boulogne.

Honours awarded: 1915 Star, R.R.C. 2nd Class.

Character: Reliable, has a good record.

Reverse of card

Commission or Department or County: France, T.N.

From: 10th Oct 1914 to 18th January 1919.

Card 3.

Miss Lilian M. Trotter

Permanent address: c/o/ Mrs. Frank, 40 Chandon Road, Willesden Green, N.W.

Certificate no: blank, Age:blank

Date of Engagement: 4th October 1914, Rank: Trained Nurse, Pay: blank

Date of Termination: 16th December 1918, Rank: Trained Nurse, Pay: blank

Previous engagements under Joint War Committee: blank

Department for Reference: T.N.P.

Honours awarded: ARRC.

Reverse of card

Period of Service Etc. From 4th October 1914 to 16th December 1918, T.N. Dept.

So, there we have it. Everything fits the first two cards, and the Medal Card that I posted, as being 'my' Lillian Maud Trotter.

I'd be most grateful if you would have a look at the above and post any comments you have. If you want to do that off-list then please send me a PM.

I would like to get details of the places Lillian worked if you can help me there.

Many thanks,


P.S. Just adding a further note via the Edit procedure...the word after the name of the Reverend Sa(u)nders is probably 'Pres' (for Presbyterian)...the only confusion in the story above lies in the award of the ARRC...that is the only place where the name Lilian Mary Trotter may be found. It appears to me as if both ladies may have been awarded this honour, but that only one has found its way into the register because the names are so similar. The only other possibility I can see is that the award was attributed to the wrong nurse...

I am also going to guess that it was Lillian Maud who was appointed to the QAMNS for India, because of her ongoing association with India.

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I think that confirms that you have 'the' nurse, but it does leave the fact that both the London Gazette and the Royal Red Cross Register are wrong, which doesn't help a search! I really believe that we still only have one nurse here, and the third card also relates to Lilian Maude Trotter, despite the slight discrepancies in date. There was definitely only one ARRC awarded, not two - the likelihood of having two women of the same name serving through the war within a few days of each other is remote, and of course as there was only one ARRC to a Lilian Trotter, then the third card could not be correct in that respect unless it's the same woman. I know it doesn't matter very much either way, but the London address on the third card might be relevant to your research, and prove another line of enquiry.

I don't have any information to hand about the hospital at Dinard, although I might be able to dig some out, but the others were all British Red Cross Hospitals: No.2 BRCS Hospital at Rouen; No.8 BRCS Hospital (Baltic and Corn Exchange) at Le Touquet/Paris Plage, moving to Boulogne in January 1918; No.9 BRCS Hospital (Duchess of Sutherland's) at Calais, and the one referred to as 'Mal. St. Omer' was the hospital at the monastery at Malassises, which was mentioned previously, later changing into No.7 British General Hospital. There must be information around about No.11 Ambulance Train, but it might take some digging out. I know there was a long thread on the forum about No.2 BRCS Hospital Rouen, with images, which I'll try and do a search for, but it was quite a long time ago ... (a fight with the search engine coming on!)


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This is the thread about No.2 BRCS Hospital, Rouen, with some good images:



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No.11 Ambulance Train

This train was converted into an ambulance train from ordinary French rolling stock, and consisted of 21 coaches without corridor connections. Thirteen coaches were 3rd class carriages from which all compartments had been removed, and into which 22 Furley Spring Cots were fitted in three tiers. Two coaches were 1st class carriages for sitting cases and officers. There was one staff coach, two kitchen coaches, one store van, and two brake vans. The Staff consisted of the Officer Commanding, who was a R.A.M.C. Officer, two Medical Officers, three Nursing Sisters, one Quartermaster-sergeant, six other N.C.O.'s and forty orderlies. The train made its first journey on December 15, 1915, and continued running until February 2, 1919, when it was demobilized, and handed over to the French Authorities. The total number of sick and wounded carried was 141,460.

Source: Reports by the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England on Voluntary Aid rendered to the Sick and Wounded at Home and Abroad and to British Prisoners of War, 1914-1919.

HMSO 1921, reprinted by Naval and Military Press in association with the Imperial War Museum.

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Sue, thank you indeed for all this.

Just to make sure that I have not missed anything, I'm going to post images of the three cards.

Card 1 (front and reverse)



Card 2 (front and reverse)



Card 3 (front and reverse)



May I ask some supplementary questions?

Is the 'TN Department" the 'Trained Nurse Department"? If not, what does it stand for?

Is the information on Lillian's Certificate Number any use to me (i.e. can I find it anywhere)?

One further item of information is that Lillian's death certificate (1966, 83 years) describes her as a 'Nurse(Private) retired.' She left a will (to be obtained) and her estate was, from memory, just over 6,700 pounds. I suspect that she was nurse to the Reverend Sa(u)nders and/or Mrs. Frank immediately prior to her war service.

What have I missed?


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It seems pretty certain that T.N. Department is 'Trained Nurse' though that's only an assumption, but it would differentiate it from the V.A.D. Department. The 'certificate' was:

"Army Form C.337, an 'Army Certificate of Identity for Civilians wearing the Red Cross Brassard.' This Certificate was numbered, bore the description of the holder, and was countersigned by the competent Military Authority. The certificates were not issued by the War Office in book form, and there were therefore no counterfoils. At the end of 1914 it was arranged that the Joint Committee should be supplied with a new form of certificate and a new brassard. The identity certificate, which was provided by the War Office, was in book form and contained counterfoils and a space for a photograph - a considerable improvement on the original A.F.C.337....

... In February 1915, Lord Onslow went to France to issue the new certificates and brassards and to recall the old ones (nearly 2,000). (Source: 'Reports' as mentioned previously).

I have no knowledge that any of these survived. I visited the BRCS Archives recently, and wondered exactly what might be hidden in the vaults there, undiscovered! I've just looked at the 1911 census for 29 Denmark Road, Gloucester, and the Saunders were living there at that time. The Rev.Montague Charles is given as 'Pensioner, Indian Government/Clergyman Church of England' and one of the children was born in Karachi, so it does seem likely that the families were known to each other in India, or perhaps related on the female side - that would take a bit of looking into. I'll email a copy of the image. I've also just found a series of photos of the hospital at Malassises which are in the No.7 General Hospital war diary. These are of its incarnation as a British military hospital and after the BRCS time, but still give an idea of the building - I'll send those as well.


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Sue, many thanks. I'll look through my Indian BMDs for the Trotters and see whether The Reverend Sanders was involved...but I don't need to!!

Bingo, bullseye, direct hit! He was Chaplain of Christchurch, Simla, in 1898 and in 1901 (I have lists of the residents). He and Mrs. Sanders lived at Christchurch Lodge. (I bought the 1901 list only a week ago!)

So that just about clinches it. QED.

Lillian was my Lillian after all.


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