The Radcliffe WWI team are researching what local women did in WWI and how their lives changed. We have already completed biographies for nineteen women who were employed as Red Cross VADs, nurses, or general hospital staff during the war years and for seven teachers employed at Radcliffe on Trent school. Our other women’s biographies include a railway porter, shopkeeper, and a member of the women’s forage corps. We are now exploring local women’s involvement in the suffrage campaign and organisations affiliated to the Labour Party. We have recently completed piecing together the life story of Kate Barnard, a Radcliffe on Trent woman who served in the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Go to Radcliffe Women to discover our current women’s biographies.
Despite its relatively small size, Radcliffe on Trent had three war hospitals. As the war unfolded, private premises were converted to hospitals and public institutions were requisitioned by the War Office for medical use. These hospitals offered new opportunities for women. Lamcote House, a large country house in Radcliffe on Trent owned by the Birkin family, became an auxiliary hospital for officers. Claire Birkin was the commandant and her daughter Violet was a Volunary Aid Detachment worker. Women from the village who worked there included sisters Lucy and Daisy Sharp, who began unpaid duties at Lamcote when it opened in 1918 and Violet Bishop whose brother served in Lt. Colonel Birkin’s regiment (the Robin Hoods). Nottinghamshire County Asylum on the outskirts of Radcliffe on Trent was converted to a military hospital in 1918 for soldiers suffering from war-induced trauma. Ellen Leaver was the matron and various local women took on war work at the hospital. They included neighbours Susanna Addyman and Ethel Bloodworth who were employed as linen storekeepers, Cissie Wesson, a married woman with a small son who was a discharge clerk for six months until the hospital closed and Florence Parr who became a medical officer clerk, receiving a wage of £2.2s.6d (£2 12p) in August 1919 shortly before the hospital reverted to an asylum. Less information is available for the third hospital based in the private home of Helena Smith, Radcliffe Hall. However, the story of her marriage to one of the patients, who lost his arm falling on a bayonet, is well known in the village.