VAD Mary Ann Petty

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Mary Ann Petty

Nursing (1915-1916); Sewing, bed linen and repairs (1919), St. John's Ambulance Brigade

Mary Ann Townson was born in the third quarter of 1875 in Keighley to parents David Townson of Bingley, and Alice Townson nee Bowskill of Westmorland. She had an older brother, Thomas Edward, and younger siblings Florence Emily, Jordine, Tempest, Joseph Henry and Lilly Isabel.

In 1881 the family lived at 6 Bradford Street in Keighley. David's occupation was a wood turner. The children were Thomas Edward (8), Mary Ann (5), Florence Emily (3) and Lilly Isabel (3 months).

By 1891 the family had moved around the corner to 10 Grange Street. Sadly, Lilly Isabel had died at the age of two in 1882. However, Mary's other three brothers had been born and Jordine was 8, Tempest was 5 and Joseph Henry was 1. David was still working as a wood turner. Thomas was a joiner, and both Mary Ann and Florence were mill hands. The family must have moved around a lot, as Jordine's birth was registered in Bradford, and Tempest and Joseph's in Huddersfield.

The Townson family on the 1891 census

Mary Ann got married on 4th July 1899 in Queensbury, where she was living at the time, to William Goldsborough Petty, a decorator. Her father was described as an innkeeper. Her sister Florence was one of the witnesses to the marriage.

The marriage of Mary Ann Townson and William Goldsborough Petty

In 1901 she and David were living at 9 Ada Street, where he was still working as a painter and decorator. They still lived at this address in 1911. They had no children, but a visitor called Caroline Edmondson who was a 65-year-old widow. I believe that the rest of Mary's family had moved to Darlington by then.

Mary Ann and William Petty on the 1901census

Mary initially worked at Morton Banks Hospital in nursing, as a member of the St. John's Ambulance Service, from 1915-1916. She later worked at Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital undertaking sewing and repairs during 1919. She worked both roles without taking any pay. She may have been inspired by her oldest brother Thomas who served in the Army Service Corps until he was discharged due to being wounded in action in 1916.

She and William remained at 9 Ada Street until Mary's death in 1934 in Keighley.


England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915

1881 England Census

1891 England Census

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935

UK, British Army World War 1 Service Records, 1914-1920

West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962

England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007

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