VAD Mary Longsdon

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Mary Longsdon

Assistant Nurse, Surgical Nursing Duties

Early life:
Mary Frances Longsdon was born on 12th March 1896 and baptised on 13th April that year at St. Andrew's Church in Keighley.

Mary's baptism record

Her parents were Henry Crofts Longsdon, a machine maker originally from Seacroft, and Annie Longsdon nee Summerscales. She was one of three children, her older brother was called Henry Serlo Longsdon, eleven years her senior. Another brother, James Summerscales Longsdon, died in infancy in 1883.

In 1901 they lived at Thorn Croft in Long Lee, Keighley. Henry was described as a laundry engineer, employer. As well as having four servants, the family also had a 13 year old nephew named William Leonard Jerwood living with them.

The Longsdon family on the 1901 Census

In 1911 the family remained at Thorn Croft. Henry Serlo had moved out by then, and their cousin William was still there and was working as an engineer, possibly alongside his uncle. There were two visitors at the home, one of which was a Church of England Bishop by the name of Welbone McCarthy.

War service:
Mary worked at the war hospital from July 1916 until June 1919, initially as an Assistant Nurse then in surgical nursing duties. There was a William Leonard Jerwood serving in the Machine Gun Corps, though I have not been able to establish whether this was Mary's cousin.

Later life:
Mary must have enjoyed nursing as she went on to undertake formal training at King's College Hospital in London, entering the nursing register in 1923 suggesting she started training around 1920.

She appears to have lived and worked between the UK and Africa, as the nursing registers show her in different parts of London between 1928 and 1931, Victoria Nurse's Institute in Cape Town, South Africa in 1937 and Surrey in 1943.

The Nursing Register of 1937 shows Mary in Cape Town

She never married, and eventually died in Cape Town on 19th September 1970.

England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1935
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
UK and Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968
UK, British Army WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards, 1914-1920
South Africa, Estates Death Index, 1999-2014

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