The gallery shows photographs relating to different members of my family who played a part in the First World War.
Red Cross Medal
The sepia photograph you can see is of my Aunt, Sister Maud Bottomley RRC (1874-1947), when she was nursing in India. She was awarded the Red Cross medal for her services during the First World War. As a professional nurse Sister Bottomley volunteered to serve as a nursing Sister in Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. She was sent out to the Mesopotamian (Iraq) campaign against the Turks, and was awarded the Royal Red Cross medal for distinguished service. After the war she was a Sister at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
Many years after the war while trying to cross a busy London street near the hospital an unknown policeman held up the traffic for her. As she passed him she said “Thank you officer. I don’t think I know you”. “But I know you “ said the officer, “I’d do anything for you Sister Bottomley. You saved my life in Mesopotamia.” And she probably did.
Dr Francis Bottomley (one of Maud’s brothers) was a GP in Bournemouth who was awarded the OBE for distinguished services in dealing with the many hospital trains bringing wounded men back from the front in Flanders in their thousands after battles like the Somme in 1916 and Passchendaele in 1917.
Scarf and Carving
Canon Robert Shipman (1873- 1958) was Rector of Long Preston in Yorkshire but volunteered and became a chaplain (Padre) in one of the Bradford Pals battalions of the West Yorkshire Regiment suffering heavy casualties in the Somme battle. The black scarf with embroidered motif is the one he wore during his time there. He found this carving in the ruins of a church near the front line that had been totally wrecked by shellfire.
The Shell case is German and was picked up by Canon Shipman on the Somme battlefield. He served in France for three years and one of his lungs was permanently damaged by poison gas.
The nose cone is probably German and was dug up from the Passchendaele battle field 80 years later.