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Suffragettes/Royal Navy Reserve Nursing Sisters


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ilkley remembers

Researching the above named Ilkley sisters who were prominent Suffragettes. Each was arrested on several occasions, went on hunger strike and were subject to the barbaric practice of forced feeding. Indeed both sisters were awarded the rare Hunger Strike Medal. Their activities as suffragettes are well recorded, however, I am trying to track down information about service during WW1.

 

Helen appears to have served as a reserve sister with the Royal Navy at Chatham ( Info on Ancestry), whilst Catherine the younger sister may have served as a nurse in Russia in the post war period. Checked Red Cross records but can't find anything at Nat Archives who only seem to have digital records for nurses who served in the army.

 

Any help and advice would be much appreciated so that I can include them on Ilkley Remembers blog site  http://ilkleyremembers.blogspot.com/

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ilkley remembers
44 minutes ago, alf mcm said:

Can you tell us their surname?

 

Yes it's Tolson....sorry I put it as a tag in the title of the post but not in the post itself

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ilkley remembers
1 minute ago, alf mcm said:

Helen's Naval Nursing service records will be somewhere in ADM 104/161, 162, 163, 164 or 165. {Although I think ADM 104/161 was for regulars, not Reserve Nurses. These files take some searching but are available free from T.N.A.

 

Fantastic, I will get them downloaded, thank you

 

regards,

 

I R

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I.R.,

They are all big files, so may take a while to download. The annual reports for each nurse are very detailed.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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ilkley remembers
3 hours ago, alf mcm said:

They are all big files, so may take a while to download. The annual reports for each nurse are very detailed.

 

 

Thanks for that yes they are big files and will take some wading through...but at least they are free at the moment...which always gladdens a Yorkshiremans heart!

 

regards

 

IR

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There's a lot in them. I've just checked my copies, and you want to look at ADM 104 163 File 1, pages 13 and 66. This may save you some time. Just remembered that the deatialed annual reports are only for the regular nurses.

These files have always been free, probably because of the problems of indexing tham.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

 

 

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ilkley remembers
54 minutes ago, alf mcm said:

There's a lot in them. I've just checked my copies, and you want to look at ADM 104 163 File 1, pages 13 and 66. This may save you some time. Just remembered that the deatialed annual reports are only for the regular nurses.

 

Thanks I've got them down loaded so will check through in the morning

 

Regards IR

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Helen was a trained nurse. training at the London Hospital 1911-1913, as these nursing records show. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/60423/?name=HELEN_TOLSON&name_x=1_1&priority=united-kingdom&_phtarg=bmY39291

She continued working after she was married.

Catharine trained as a Sanitary Inspector, which explains why she would be useful for working in a hospital. https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0001026%2f19130215%2f034&stringtohighlight=catherine tolson

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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ilkley remembers
10 hours ago, alf mcm said:

Helen was a trained nurse. training at the London Hospital 1911-1913, as these nursing records show

 

Thanks Alf that fits in with her entry in the 1939 survey. She married a doctor John Paxton in 1919 and had children but still seems to have continued with her career through the 1920s.

 

Unfortunately cannot access the Findmypast entry for Catherine as I allowed my subscription to lapse last year but have a friend who uses it. Not sure what exactly a sanitary inspector did but I am sure that Google will provide. There is an entry on Ancestry for a Catherine Tolson graduating from the London School of Economics in 1915 so that will be worth pursuing. The information about her being a nurse in Russia comes from her Wiki entry so I can't vouch for its accuracy and a newspaper report from 2004 when her medal was sold says that she died in Russia in 1924, but again have been unable to verify this.

 

Thank you again for your help it is much appreciated

 

I R

Edited by ilkley remembers
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ilkley remembers
12 hours ago, alf mcm said:

There's a lot in them. I've just checked my copies, and you want to look at ADM 104 163 File 1, pages 13 and 66. This may save you some time. Just remembered that the deatialed annual reports are only for the regular nurses.

 

Pleased to report that I have found helens record exactly where you said it would be. Many thanks again

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I.R.,

  A check on Findmypast  https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=BMD%2FD%2F1924%2F1%2FAZ%2F001182%2F032    shows Catharine Tolson, born 1891, had her death recorded in Christchurch, Hampshire in 1Q 1924, so may have died in late 1923. A long way from Russia! This is definitly 'your' Catharine since she was the only person with this name born about 1891. She could of course be a married woman, but this would need to be confirmed.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

 

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A search of the British Red Cross Volunteers shows a large number of VAD's serving in Russia.  https://vad.redcross.org.uk/Search?hosp=RUSSIA The records are not complete though. It is possible Catharine trained as a VAD and went to Russia.Incidentaly, inserting 'Ilkley' as a place also gives quite a lot of results, including male VAD's, who may have gone on to serve in the Army.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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ilkley remembers

Yes I had seen the death registration for Catherine Tolson. Had a look at Brit N Paper Archive but couldn't find any references for either 1923 or 24. The information about Russia was in The Northern Echo in 2004 and came from her niece who was selling the Hunger Strike medal so I cannot really vouch for its accuracy. The report cited cause of death as tuberculosis but of course she may have returned home suffering from it and that might also hint as to why she was on the south coast as it was a popular place for recuperation.  

 

I couldn't find her in the Red Cross Records either, the high incidence of Ilkley names ia because there was an Auxiliary Hospital in the town, it was an offshoot of the Northern General Hospital in Leeds and employed a large number of local people. 

 

It is possible that she was attached to one of the several relief agencies that sent people out to help in Russia during the regular famines but I expect that I will have to wait until things start to open up again before pursuing that angle 

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