VAD Alice Riddiough

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Alice Riddiough


Alice Riddiough was born on 7th December 1885 in Lothersdale, between Keighley and Skipton, the daughter of Joseph Riddiough from Kelbrook and Mary Riddiough nee Smith from Cowling. She was one of eight children, two of whom died in infancy.

In 1891 the family lived at Dale End, Gas Street in Lothersdale. Joseph worked as a worsted cotton and weaving overlooker, possibly in Dale End Mill (otherwise known as Lothersdale Mill). Joseph and Mary's children at this time were Ben (17, a worsted weaver), Leah (12, a worsted cotton spinner), Harry (8), Alice (5) and Fanny (2). Another sister, Maggie, was born in 1891 but sadly passed away in 1895.

By 1901 they had moved to Brook House in Lothersdale. Joseph was a weaving overlooker of 'fancy silk and cotton'. Ben had married and moved. Leah and Harry were weavers of fancy silk and cotton, and Alice was also working then, as a worsted spinner. They had been joined by another sister, Edith.

The Riddiough family on the 1901 census

At the time of the 1911 census the family had moved once more, to Ghyll Field, still in Lothersdale. Joseph had a new occupation, as curator of the village club. Alice was working as a cotton and worsted weaver in fancy goods, as were her two younger sisters Fanny and Edith.

Alice commenced her work as a VAD cook on 13th October 1915, though her records indicate that she did not work in the local military hospitals. Instead, she worked at the 1st West General Military Hospital in Fazakerley, Liverpool. This was a very large hospital, with 4.357 beds, and it specialised in injuries to the jaw and thigh fractures. It is now the University Hospital Aintree.

Alice worked there until 6th September 1918 when she transferred overseas, to the Military Hospital Malta. Referred to as 'the nurse of the Mediterranean', Malta had 24 military hospitals at one stage, and I haven't been able to verify which one Alice was based at, but the largest was Station Hospital Cottonera and for the period of time that Alice was there (until 31st March 1919), received the sick and wounded from the campaign in Salonica.

Station Hospital Cottonera in Malta - photo courtesy of

I haven't found much information about Alice's life after the war. There are a few ladies of the same name at different addresses in and around Lothersdale on the electoral registers, but I am not able to confirm whether any are this lady, and I haven't found her on the 1939 Register.

She did not marry, and died on 17th December 1973, her address at the time was Orchard Cottage, Lothersdale.


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

1891 England Census

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

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

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


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