VAD Fanny Roberts

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

Red Cross, St John Ambulance Brigade and Royal Army Medical Corpsbadges

Fanny Roberts

Nursing Sister, St. John's Ambulance Brigade

Born on the 4th May 1893, Fanny was the only child of Joseph Roberts of Addingham and Mary Sarah Roberts nee Horn, from Silsden. She was baptised on 25th June 1893 at St. James' Church in Silsden.

The baptism record for Fanny Roberts

In 1901 they lived at 17 North Street in Silsden with Mary's parents, Peter and Hannah Horn.

The Roberts family shown on the 1901 census

They still lived at this address in 1911, though by now Hannah was a widow as Peter had died in late 1901. Joseph was working as a cotton warpdresser and unusually for a married lady at the time, Mary was working as a weaver, as was Fanny.

Fanny volunteered her time without pay to work as a nursing sister at Morton Banks War Hospital from October 1914 until November 1917, and it is documented that she paid her own rail expenses as well as the costs of laundering her uniform. Her duties included bed making and ward duties. She worked a total of 340 hours during this time. Fanny's VAD card has a St. John's Ambulance Brigade stamp on it, suggesting she also volunteered with them.

In 1921 Fanny married Birkett Smith, a tailor from Crosshills. He had served during the war, including time in the Balkans, as a Private with the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was awarded the Victory and British and Silver war medals.

Birkett and Fanny had two children, a daughter Mary in October 1921 and a son, Joe, in April 1923. At the time of the 1939 Register the family lived at 9 Brow Cliffe, Birkett was working as a club steward, Fanny a silk weaver and Joe was an apprentice electrician. Their daughter Mary was with Fanny's parents at 51 Browfield Terrace and working as an alteration hand (gowns).

Fanny and her husband and son on the 1939 Register

The family remained in Silsden, with Birkett dying on 25th April 1961 and Fanny on 22nd April 1964.


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

England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2008

UK, British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920

UK, WW1 Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923

UK, Silver War Badge Records, 1914-1920

1939 England and Wales Register

West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962

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

England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

Comments are closed.