VAD Annie Evelyn Read

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

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

Annie Evelyn Read
Surgical Nursing Duties, Nursing Member

Annie Evelyn Read was the oldest of three children born to James Edward Read, a mechanic and mortice chain maker and Caroline Susan Read nee Holmes, both of Bingley. She was born 19th October 1895. Her younger siblings were Jane Elizabeth (1898) and Albert Edward Read (1901).

In 1901 the family lived at 5 Waddington Street, Bingley. James was a mechanic in a worsted mill. By 1911 they had moved to 15 Market Street. James was a mortice chain maker in an engineering firm and Caroline was a mender of worsted dress goods. Annie was working by now, as a cotton winder in a ‘Reed & Heald Shop’ – I am not sure of this is the name of a shop or a description – reeds and healds being accessories for textile manufacturing. Even 12 year old Jane was working as a dyer’s errand girl as well as attending school.

Annie worked as a VAD nurse at the war hospital in Keighley from July 1916 until the end of August 1918, with duties in surgical nursing. She must have found her vocation in nursing, as she became a Registered Nurse in 1923, having undertaken her training at Liverpool Stanley Hospital from 1918 – 1921.

The Register of Nurses, 1943

At some point she became a nurse with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), which gave her an officer status without an actual commission. On the 1939 Register she was working at the Royal Victoria Military Hospital Netley in Southampton, considered the biggest military hospital in the world at the time. The QAIMNS and TANS (Territorial Army Nursing Service) had been called up to report there by this time. During the Second World War around 68,000 casualties were treated there. In June 1940 French soldiers who had been evacuated from Dunkirk were threated there, it was the first hospital to exchange Prisoners of War with Germany for medical treatment in June 1943, and perhaps one of its most famous ‘residents’ a certain Rudolf Hess. In 1944 US Forces took over the hospital, just prior to D-Day, and remained there until the war ended. Many QAIMNS nurses were posted to other theatres abroad during the war, and at this time I do not know if Annie Evelyn Read was one of them.

Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley - photo taken from

A group of nurses at Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley - photo from - could one of them be Annie Evelyn Read?

Annie’s sister Jane (also known as Jean and Janie) also joined the VADs in September 1918 until June 1919, and I plan to research her life separately.

Annie must have returned to Bingley, having kept a property there at Four Winds, Warren Lane, Eldwick where she remained until her death on 8th February 1960, having never married, her estate was left to her brother.

England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
1939 England and Wales Register
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
UK & Ireland Nursing Registers, 1898-1968
Royal Victoria Military Hospital Netley (

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