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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Christabel Mary Ellis

Anthony Bagshaw

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Hi All,

This woman is from my village, Mansfield Woodhouse, Notts.

I came across her today in one of the local papers which said she was awarded the Royal Red Cross 2nd Class.

Does anyone have any info or know why she would have got the medal?


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Her ARRC would have been in recognition of good work done within the nursing services during the war - the BRCS should have a service record for her which might give more details. These awards were normally put forward by the Matrons and Principal Matrons via the Matron-in-Chief of the Command, and onwards for approval to the Director General Medical Services. They were not normally for any one particular deed, but a reward for good and loyal work. There was a quota of awards as a percentage of the total nursing staff at the time - without checking I have a feeling it was 1% for the RRC and 2% for the ARRC [probably entirely wrong, but you get the idea] so they were limited in number.

The BRCS contact details are here:

BRCS personnel records


Before Norman [Royal Red Cross] comes and slaps my wrist, the correct figures were 2% for the RRC and 5% for the ARRC, of the total establishment of each of the nursing services.


Edited by Sue Light
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Excellent, thank you.

I'll drop them a letter


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  • 14 years later...

Hi Anthony,

She is probably the friend 'Cristabel Ellis' from Nottinghamshire that is mentioned extensively in a book published by the relatives of Dorothea Crewdson - a VAD nurse.  Dorothea wrote a wonderful diary of her experiences and she and Christabel were very close.  The book is titled 'Dorothea's War'.  I'm about half way through the book at the moment.  Sadly Dorothea died shortly after the end of the war after becoming ill.  I haven't discovered what happened to Christabel yet.

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Born 1888 died 1975 (under same name)

When checking the Red Cross Records it looks like you should check under the spelling ChristObell.

Find my past shows her to have lived in Nottinghamshire for all census years (including 1921 and 1939)

https://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/results?firstname=christabelle mary&firstname_variants=true&lastname=ellis&keywordsplace=nottinghamshire%2c england&keywordsplace_proximity=5&sourcecountry=great britain&sid=7

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I have a Christabel Ellis under File: FO 372/1037: Treaty; Servia  1917 with the note Ellis Miss Christobel St Sava, For service with the BRCS, 1915.

These awards are not gazetted but the recipient is able to accept and wear, there is NO class mentioned.

She was MID Page 5323 | Supplement 30101, 29 May 1917 | London Gazette | The Gazette 8 from top right.



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One of my ancestors was a VAD alongside her; I know that they stayed friends for years afterwards and went on holiday to Egypt in the 1930s. Christabel Ellis was also a great friend of Nurse Nan Reay (https://herplacemuseum.com/dispatches-from-the-frontline-geraldine-cook-dafner/) and went with her to Buckingham Palace in 1918 when Nurse Reay was awarded the ARRC medal.

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  • 9 months later...

Yes! She was a friend of my great great aunt, Nan Reay. She is mentioned quite a few times in Nan Reay's diaries. I'm am currently writing about my ancestor and would love any information about CME (as Nan Reay refers to her) that anyone has. 

This is a good page for Nan Reay.


She was Australian (as am I) and initially went to France with the Australian Voluntary Hospital and then became QAIMNSR when the hospital was changed to No 32 Stationary. This was when she met CME.  

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