VAD Emily Wilson

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

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

Emily Wilson

Nursing, Member St. John's Ambulance Brigade

Emily Wilson was born on 4th November 1876 to parents Joseph and Martha Wilson nee Barton. Joseph was a plasterer, originally from Dolphinholme in Lancashire, Martha was from Liverpool. They had married in Preston in 1866, when Mary already had a son named Thomas Barton. Emily was the fourth of 12 children (including Thomas). Her other siblings were Samuel (1867-1945), Mary Jane (1869-1947), Elizabeth (187-1947), Ellen (1878-1950), William (1881-1884), Edward (188-1962), Lydia Barton (1886-1956), and twins Joseph (1890-1959) and Benjamin (1890-1969). These dates have been obtained from family trees on Ancestry.

In 1881 they lived at 11 Milton Street in Keighley. Samuel and Mary were 13 and 11 years old, and working as worsted mill hands. There was a visitor, 22 year old Sarah Bartle. I wonder of this was a relative of Martha and the enumerator misheard her surname.

In 1891 the family had moved to 12 Craven Street. Some of the older children had moved on. Mary Jane, Elizabeth, Emily and Ellen were working as worsted spinners.

The Wilson family shown on the 1891 census

By 1901 the family had moved again, and now lived at 165 Malsis Crescent. Thomas was living with the family again and working as a mason's labourer, Mary Jane was a worsted reeler, Emily still a worsted spinner as was Lydia, and Edward was a roller. I noted that living next door was William Wilson, also a plasterer from Dolphinholme, and wonder if he might have been Joseph's brother.

At the time of the 1911 census the family lived at 199 Oakworth Road. Emily was 35 and working as a millhand, as was Lydia. Twins Benjamin and Joseph were a mechanic and assistant overlooker.

Emily was a member of St. John's Ambulance Brigade, and must have felt that she wanted to support the war effort further, so worked in nursing (including some night duties) at both Morton Banks and Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital from 1915 until May 1919. She clocked up 1,222 hours and did so without pay. Her brother Edward was also serving, in the Army Ordnance Corps.

A photo on an Ancestry family tree shows Emily in a Salvation Army uniform so she seems to have been very community minded. Unfortunately, I am yet to receive permission to add the photograph here.

In 1939 Emily was living with her sister Mary Jane, who had married Tom A. Stansfield, at Low Mill House on East Parade. She was still working in the mills as a yarn twister. Her brother Edward and his wife were living at Low Mill Cottage.

Low Mill Cottage and Low Mill House on the 1939 Register

Map (albeit from 1882) showing Low Mill House (in the centre). Map kindly provided by Judith Allen

She never married, and I believe she died in the last quarter of 1946 in Keighley.


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

1881 England Census

1891 England Census

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

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

1939 England and Wales Register

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


Comments are closed.