VAD Phyllis Margaret Howell-Harries

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

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

Phyllis Margaret Howell-Harries
Nursing Duties

Phyllis was not originally a local lady but spent two years in Keighley during World War One, devoting this time to nursing the wounded.

She was born on 24th August 1897 at Carlton Grange in Northallerton. Her father was Sidney Howell-Harries who was originally from Cheshire, near Tranmere and Birkenhead and he was a schoolmaster. Her mother was Annie Harries from Lancaster. She had been married and widowed before and had two sons named Leonard and Roland Sutcliffe.

In 1901 the family consisted of Sidney and Annie, Leonard still lived with them, in addition to their children Mary (14), Thomas (12), Harold (10), Ella (8), Alec (6), Phyllis (3) and Joyce (1).

By 1911 Leonard had emigrated to Canada and Roland was in the family home. Some of the older children had moved on, Ella was following in her father's footsteps and was a supplementary teacher, the others were still at school, and there was an extra brother - five year old Francis Robert Dudley (known as Dudley).

Phyllis worked at the War Hospital in Keighley from May 1916 until June 1918, and her VAD record shows that she then transferred to Royal Herbert Woolwich from June 1918 until January 1919, and then in March 1919 moved to Berridge Road Military Hospital in Nottingham and was still there at the time of the record's completion. There are two addresses on her VAD record - the Carlton Grange address, plus 1 Stockwell Gate, Mansfield, which was the address of her future husband.

Three of Phyllis's brothers had emigrated to Canada prior to the war, presumably following their half-brother Leonard. Thomas Howell-Harries moved there in 1910, married and had a family. Sadly he died in October 1918 of influenza. Harold Pembroke Howell-Harries moved there in 1912 (interestingly he left Liverpool on the SS Megantic of the White Star Line on the 25th May - a month after the Titanic sank) and he married and had a family there. Alec Howell-Harries moved there in 1911 and joined the 19th Battalion, Central Ontario Regiment. He was sadly killed in action on 29th October 1915 aged 20, and is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery in Nord, France. Perhaps the death of her brother prompted Phyllis to join and contribute.

Alec Howell-Harries.
Photo kindly provided by Nicole Snyder, a relative, and the Howell-Harries family

Harold Pembroke Howell-Harries.
Photo kindly provided by Nicole Snyder, a relative, and the Howell-Harries family

Phyllis married Harold Leslie Stevens in the first quarter of 1920 in Stokesley (near Northallerton). They had a son named John Peter Hamilton Stevens in 1924, and I believe may have had two more children although at the time of writing I have not been able to confirm this.

In 1939 Phyllis, Harold and John lived at 29 Beech Hill Drive, Mansfield. Harold's occupation was wholesale wool and hosiery merchant (own account). He served as a Special Constable during World War Two, and John worked as 'Messenger AFS' (Auxiliary Fire Service).

The 1939 Register

John later served in the Royal Navy Reserve.

Harold died in 1951, their address at the time was Beech Hill Drive in Mansfield. Phyllis herself died on 28th July 1983, she had been living at 27 Lichfield Avenue, Mansfield, the year after their son John passed away.

England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919
Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948
Canada, WW1 CEF Attestation Papers, 1914-1918
Canada, WW1 CEF Personnel Files, 1914-1918
Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current
Canada, Virtual War Memorial Index, 1900-2014
UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1947
England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
1939 England and Wales Register
UK, Navy Lists, 1888-1970
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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