VAD Alice Cherry

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

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

Alice Cherry
Nursing, Member St. John's Ambulance Brigade

Taken some time in the 1950s. Photo kindly provided by Keighley Schools Heritage

Alice Cherry was the daughter of John and Isabella Cherry, nee Feather, who married in 1892 in Keighley. John initially worked as a labourer, and at the time of Alice’s baptism lived at 14 Mohair Street (off West Lane). Alice was born on 16th August 1894 and baptised on April 29th 1897.

Alice's baptism record

She had an older sister, Mary Ellen, who was one year older, and would later have a younger brother, John, born in 1905.

In 1901 the family lived at Dauslack Cottage – the spelling changes over the years to ‘Dawslack’ – but I believe is in Utley. By 1911 they lived at Dawslack House, and John was working as an excavator for the cemetery department. Alice doesn’t have an occupation listed, but her sister was a cloth weaver.

Alice worked for St John’s Ambulance Brigade during World War One at Morton Banks War Hospital, from 1917 to May 1919 as a nurse.

It appears that Alice never married. Electoral registers show that she continued to live with her father until his death. They moved house a couple of times – first to Cemetery Lodge in Utley – I assume this was accommodation connected to John’s work in the cemetery, and later to 100, and then 61 Scott Lane West in Riddlesden. By the time of the 1939 Register, John is described as a retired cemetery labourer, and Alice was an elementary school teacher.

The 1939 Register

Alice worked at Highfield School in Keighley. I have contacted a couple of groups on social media and found several people who remembered her fondly - a tiny lady who would ask the big lads to bend down when she told them off, and her favourite saying was "I have never seen such piffle in all my puff". She retired in July 1957. Neighbours remember her dog (possibly more than one as he is referred to as Micky and Scamp by different people) who sat at her gate, scaring the local kids; her house was full of clocks of different sizes that needed winding daily and she loved her garden.

Photo kindly provided by Keighley Schools Heritage

By 1957 Alice lived alone at 61 Scott Lane West, having never married.

Alice died on 3rd April 1978 at Norwood Nursing Home in Keighley, at the age of 84.


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

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

1939 England and Wales Register

West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962

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

Keighley Schools Heritage

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