VAD Nellie Foster

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

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

Nellie Foster

Nellie was the only surviving child of Ellis Foster (a machine salesman) and Susannah Foster (nee Merrall) who were married in the Parish of Keighley in 1881.  Nellie was born in Keighley in 1884, however originally appeared in the 1891 census as residing in Bingley.

By the 1911 census, the family had moved to 466 Skipton Road in Utley. Nellie appears on this census as single, aged 27 and residing with her parents. However, in the VAD record cards for 1919, Nellie and her parents appear to have moved to ‘Kirkside’, on Banks Lane in Riddlesden and remained there until the last records we have for her.

Nellie became an admin for the Red Cross’ Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) and progressed to become the Chief Clerk at The Keighley War Hospital at Morton Banks during the Great War. Conveniently for Nellie, the War Hospital was only a short walk from her home, down Banks Lane and along the footpath off Hospital Road. See map below:

Kirkside marked with a red dot at top left. The War Hospital is bottom right.

Nellie will have likely walked with fellow VAD Phyllis Blakey who lived within a few houses of the Foster's home and also worked at the hospital.  Nellie's successful service with the Red Cross is mentioned on two separate VAD cards.

We believe she is the Miss Foster mentioned as a clerk in the staff list in the December 1917  'War Hospital Echoes' magazine from the Great War period, which is held in the Herbert A. France Archive: BK424 at Keighley Library.

Herbert France was a sub-editor at the Keighley News who saved everything in scrapbooks and diaries. These are all available to view in the library archives.

It is our theory that Nellie Foster was the person who maintained the War Hospital Register as it was likely to be her job to look after the records for the hospital.

We continue to research Nellie in the hope we can discover her life after the Great War.

Source information:

Birth, Marriage and Death Records
1891 census
1911 census
1939 Register
Red Cross VAD card
War Hospital Echoes (BK424 at Keighley library)
The map appears by kind courtesy of The National Library of Scotland.

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