VAD’s – The Scatterty Family

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



The Scatterty Family

William Scatterty. Taken between July 1915 and July 1916 when he held the rank of Captain in the RAMC

Amy Elizabeth (Bessie) Scatterty

Early lives in Scotland
It is difficult to discuss the women of the Scatterty family without referring to William. He was born on the 8th January 1860 in Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire in Scotland, to his parents John and Elizabeth Scatterty, nee Dick. John must have died within the next few years, as by the time of the 1871 Scotland Census, his mother has remarried to a farmer Alexander Meldrum and as well as William and his older brother James, younger brother John and younger sister Ann J, there are half siblings Georgina D and Alexander Meldrum (possibly twins), and three servants at a property transcribed as ‘Paies’ in Kennethmont.
By 1881 the property is now transcribed as ‘Daes’, Ann J is now Annabella, and William has another younger half-brother, Douglas M. William is 21 and a student in medicine at Aberdeen University. He apparently worked as a headmaster before returning to medicine. He moved to Keighley in 1886 to partner Dr William Dobie.
William must have returned to Aberdeen, if only briefly, as he married Agnes in their hometown of Kennethmont on July 2nd 1889.

Pre-war in Keighley
In 1891 William and Agnes are in Keighley where he is a registered physician and surgeon. They are living at 47 North Street, and soon had a daughter, Amy Elizabeth, who was born on 25th May.
In 1892 William was appointed Medical Officer for the Keighley Borough and he remained in this post until 1925 when he took a similar post for Craven Combined District. He was also Medical Officer for the Hospital Board.
I have not been able to locate the family on the 1901 census.
On the 1911 census the family are at 4 Albert Street. William has documented that they had two children, one had died, BMD records show Agnes Blanche Scatterty born in 1893, who died at the age of three in 1897.

During the Great War
During the war, William continued his practice as a medical doctor and was instrumental in the development of war hospitals in Keighley. He was Commanding Officer at the war hospital at Morton Banks, opened the auxiliary hospital at Spencer Street where Agnes served as Commandant from 6th May 1915 to the time of the V.A.D record, for which she would receive an MBE. While in his post as Commanding Officer, he donated his salary as Medical Officer to the creation of a room for the care of babies born in poor areas of the district, and he was later awarded a borough justice of the peace. In July 1915 William was promoted to the rank of Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, a year later he was promoted to Major, then in May 1917 to Lieutenant Colonel.
From the 1890s onwards William and Agnes were instrumental in bringing the St. John Ambulance Brigade to the area, Agnes being Lady Corps Superintendent for the Keighley area (which also covered Bingley, Glusburn and Skipton).
Amy worked initially in general service from 6th May 1915 – June 1916, then as an Assistant and Surgical Nurse. She was mentioned in despatches. The Red Cross V.A.D. records show a Bessie Scatterty at the same address during the war. I believe this was Amy (possibly using the short version of her middle name, Elizabeth). She was 24, the same age as Amy at this time. Bessie Scatterty worked at the 1st Western General Hospital, Liverpool then transferred to the South African Hospital, Richmond with the T.F.N.S (Territorial Force Nursing Service) and Q.A.I.M.N.S (Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service). For this service, she was awarded the Victory Medal and/or British War Medal. There is also reference to Bessie Scatterty of Highfield House, Keighley, on the UK Physiotherapy and Masseuse Registers, in 1913 and then 1920-22 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and being qualified in ‘medical electricity’.

Post war
At the time of the 1939 Register Amy was at 4 Albert Street, her parents are at The Headlands Hotel, Blackpool – possibly celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary which was reported on in the Keighley News. William is described as a Medical Officer of Health M.D and Lieut. Col. R.A.M.C (Retired).
Agnes died on 3rd July 1946, William eight years later on 6th December 1954 at the age of 94.
Amy Elizabeth never married. She remained at Highfield House and devoted her time to Keighley and District Association for the Blind (now Sight Airedale) where she was president for 20 years, as well as president of St. John Ambulance and serving sister of the Order of St. John, until her own death on 4th June 1974. 4 Albert Street now consists of flats, and the offices of Sight Airedale.

NB I have not been able to confirm Agnes’s maiden name, however suspect that she was born Agnes Morrison. On the 1939 Register her date of birth is 27th September 1870, which is three years younger than documented on the 1891 and 1911 census. However, I have found a birth record for an Agnes Morrison in Kennethmont, 27th September 1867, parents John and Elizabeth Morison (nee Matheson).

Source information:

Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
1871 Scotland Census
1881 Scotland Census
1891 England Census
1911 England Census
1939 England and Wales Register
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
West Yorkshire, England, Tax Valuation, 1910
UK, Physiotherapy and Masseuse Registers, 1895-1980
UK, World Ward 1 Service, Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
UK and Ireland, Medical Directories, 1845-1942
England and Wales, Civil Register Death Index, 1916-2007
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
Letter to Agnes Scatterty from Home Office, re: MBE (1918)
Letter to William Scatterty from The Grand Priory of The Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England (1919)
Photograph of Agnes Scatterty belongs to the Imperial War Museum Library (linked above).
Keighley News, 8 July 1939, ‘Married Fifty Years Ago’
Keighley News, various dates, ‘Ambulance Worker: Honour for a Keighley Lady’, ‘Ambulance Honours’, ‘Birthday Greetings’, ‘Dr. Scatterty, 90’, ‘For Services to Red Cross’
Keighley News, 17 December 1955, ‘New Headquarters For Ambulance Activities’
Yorkshire Observer, 29 December 1952, ‘Dr William Scatterty…’
Keighley News, 1954, ‘Death of Dr. Will Scatterty’
Keighley News, 7 June 1974, ‘Leading Blind Worker Dies’
Photographs by courtesy of Keighley Library archives, box BK29 which holds the Scatterty family photo albums.

This research has been carried out by volunteer Carole Hodge.

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