VAD Lena Southwell

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

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

Lena Southwell
Nursing Sister

Lena was the youngest of five children born to James and Rebecca Southwell nee Tunnicliffe of Silsden. She was born on March 2nd and baptised on April 21st 1895. Three of her siblings died in infancy – Mary Elizabeth (1879-1880), John (1882-1886) and William (1888-1889).

The entry on the baptism register

In 1901 the family lived at 8 Albert Square, Silsden. James was a bobbin finisher and Rebecca a worsted twister. Lena’s older sister, Emma, was 14 and working as a worsted spinner.

In 1911 the family had moved to 13 Albert Square. James’ occupation is listed as a bobbin painter in a bobbin factory. Emma and Lena both worked as book binders in a printing factory.

Lena worked at Morton Banks War Hospital from October 1916 until November 1918 as a nursing sister. The Red Cross V.A.D. records make special mention that she offered to go voluntarily in her spare time and paid all of her own expenses for rail fares and laundry. Her duties included bed making and any other ward duties.

Sadly Lena’s only surviving sibling, Emma, died in 1918.

Lena married Frank Dawson Wilkinson, seven years her junior, on July 2nd 1924 at St. James in Silsden. He was farmer who lived at Heights Farm, Silsden.

Lena's marriage record

They had two children, James Peter Wilkinson (1928-2009) and Betty Dawson Wilkinson (1926-1997).

I have not been able to find the family on the 1939 Register.

Lena’s death was registered in Staincliffe in the third quarter of 1980.

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
England and Wales, Civil registration Death Index, 1916-2007

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