Thursday, 1 December 2011
Sepia Saturday 103
Alan has hit the nail on the head again. I was waiting for the opportunity to introduce my Grandfather's eldest sister - my great aunt Barbara.
Barbara was born in 1878 in the Yorkshire village of Coxwold, the first and eldest of ten born to a Blacksmith and the daughter of a Stonemason.
She was, so I believe, nursing at the Westminster Hospital before joining the Queen Alexandria's Imperial Military Nursing Service in 1915. She served at home, as well as in Egypt and on the Hospital Ships Letitia and Salta. Indeed she was aboard the Salta when it hit a mine and sank outside Le Havre.
She was fortunate to be one of the few survivors of the sinking. It seems that the Skipper of the Salta decided not to follow the course laid out by a Royal Navy Minesweeper showing the safe passage into the Harbour. He steered outside the buoy marked area and into a German Mine. She was doubly fortunate because many of the survivors that were dragged from the water, were drowned when their rescue craft hit another mine and sank.
After her demobilisation she was a District Nurse in the Malton area of Yorkshire. Whilst I never met her, or indeed any of her siblings (including my Grandfather), I have this image of her riding around the lanes of North Yorkshire on a "Sit-up-and-Beg" Bicycle in thick black stockings, starched apron and capes streaming out behind.