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Remembered Today:

Susannah Shortrede Murdoch - Nurse


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Having spent considerable time researching my grandfather Capt BB Murdoch (RFA) and Great Uncle Maj TF Murdoch (Black Watch), I would like to turn my attention to their sister, my great Aunt Susannah Murdoch.

Susannah was born in Sydney, NSW, in approximately 1889, although spent much of her life in Scotland. She died in the 1970's. 

I have been told that Susanah served in French military hospitals or possibly clearing stations between 1914-1918, but I can find no reference, and to be honest, have little idea of where to start looking in this instance. 

If anyone could point me in the right direction, I would be most grateful.

 

Many thanks

 

Alistair

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She commenced studies as a medical student at Edinburgh University on October 9 [1917] and was registered as a medical student, in Scotland, on October 16 having passed the necessary preliminary examination, "Edin. Arts. Sci. Prel.; September, 1917".

From the Register of Medical Students on ancestry.co.uk

 

  

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Alistair,

A medal roll on Ancestry shows she worked as an Orderly for the British Committee of the French Red Cross between December 1916 and August 1917. She was awarded the British War Medal and British Victory Medal.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Wow!  How do you guys do this???  I've spent ages and got nowhere - very much appreciated

 

Alistair

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I had a look through British Nursing Journal archives and didn't spot anything. One hit for her on Trove but it's for her as an executor to the will of Mary Shortrede OR Murdoch, March 1950.

TEW

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Folks, this absolutely fantastic. Thank you for the time you've spent looking up and posting. I was fortunate enough to have known Susanah - or "Nana" as she was referred to by family - and wish I'd known of her activity at the time, although I would imagine, like my other relatives, she would have chosen not to talk of those times. 

I do wonder why, however, she chose the French Red Cross.  I assume the British branch was fully active then and would that not have been more suitable? I remember my father telling me that she was with the French because she couldn't get to serve with the British. Is that just heresay, or could there be an element of truth?

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How old was she at the time? It may have been easier to join the French contingent. I have a feeling that Lyn MacDonald's Flowers of No Man's Land (which is well worth a read, btw) mentions some British girls who nursed with the French because the restrictions for joining weren't so rigorous.

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seaJane,

 

i have her listed as being born in 1889, making her 25 at the time she went to France. She never married as far as I know and spent much of her life living with her younger brother Fleming. 

I will most certainly look out the book you suggest. My library has grown quite considerably since joining this forum and has provided some fascinating reading. 

 

Many thanks again gain for your assistance. 

 

Alistair 

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Gosh - she may even have known one of my research targets who was in Edinburgh's Faculty of Medicine at about the same time ...

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

For some bizarre reason my email alert has turned itself off :-/ So my apologies for picking these recent replies up late!

I'm really very grateful to you all. Although primarily interested in Susannah's war time activity, I'm very pleased to receive information about any stage of her life.  I have very little to go on so this all valuable stuff

 

Alistair

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Hi Alistair

You probably know this having researched Barclay Brown Murdoch O.B.E.

Probate was granted on 19.9.1962 to Susannah (Spinster) and Thomas Fleming Murdoch and 2 others when he had died 19.5.1962.

Regards Barry

Edited by The Inspector
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Might also be worth trying the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry? In view of their initial history it seems to suggest the volunteeres started working for the French and Belgians in 1914.  Their website shows they have archives but you will need to be patient

Charlie

 

FANY websitehistory.JPG

 

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The medal roll should show either the unit or hospital where she worked.  OR, the medal index card will have a reference FRX/ something which will indicate the same. 

Norman 

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Hi All

There aren't any remarks on the medal award roll for Orderly Susannah S Murdoch and I can't find her MIC

Regards Barry

Edited by The Inspector
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Hi All

Thanks SJ, yes I tried to find it on Ancestry but no joy, only 11 "Murdochs" on a list of 20.

Regards Barry

Edited by The Inspector
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I thought the medal cards for women were not available on Ancestry. Are they not currently with the IWM ?  The actual medal rolls for the FRX usually have an indication at the top left of the page indicating the organisation submitting the roll.  The medal index card will have a reference such as FRX/1B 345 next to the entry for the BWM and Victory medals.  The final part of this reference is the page number in the roll.  This can (almost always) be related to the organisation.

 

Norman

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I love this forum!!!!

 

Many thanks folks, will post updates once I have some 

 

Alistair

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OK...So I've now downloaded the Medal Card, and the only reference I can see on there is FRX/101  B/6 (I think!).  And Theatre of War 1A, which I assumes means France & Belgium.

 

Not sure if this gets me any further?

 

A

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If the page number is 6, then this roll was submitted by the Hospital at Arc en Barrois in the Haut Marne province.  It was of some 110 beds, later 180, and was situated in the chateau at Arc lent by the Duc de Penthievre.  It served mainly the French 3rd army and the staff was almost entirely British.

 

Norman

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On the same page in  the roll mentioned by Alf  (post three) is Doctor Ruth Nicholson a surgeon with the Scottish Women's Hospital.  This raises the prospect of Susannah being at one of the two hospitals at Royaumont which tended French casualties.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves
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Hi All

Norman, the medal roll has "SWH" at the top left, what does this mean? Thanks for the info., we live and learn - especially on here!

Regards Barry

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