Before the War

Annie was born on 11th April 1889 in Cropwell Butler, Nottinghamshire. She was baptised at Holy Trinity Church Tithby on 15th May 1889. In 1891 Annie was living at The Cottage Cropwell Butler with her father Henry, a farmer, 34, mother Annie (nee Severn), 31, and brother Henry Leonard Chappell Smith, 3 months. Also living in the household were Jane Gill Wodehouse, (Annie’s maternal grandmother), Elizabeth Boulton, cook and Ethel Tomlinson, housemaid.

In 1901 Annie was living on Village Street, Cropwell Butler with her parents and brothers Henry Leonard Chappell Smith and Cuthbert Chappell Smith. The family had two servants: Emma Morley, cook and Martha Morley, housemaid.

By the time of the 1911 census the family were living at The Grove, Cropwell Butler with Annie’s grandfather Henry Smith senior, a retired farmer and threshing machine owner. Her father was a landowner and farmer; brother Henry, 20, was a student and Cuthbert, 11, was at school. No occupation is given for Annie, 21. The house had fourteen rooms and there were three servants: Annie Elizabeth Newton, Clarice Ethel Gamble and Betsy Parnham.

During the War

The following information about Annie Elfrieda Smith has been extracted from transcribed Red Cross V.A.D. records, available at

It is not known when Annie became a member of the Notts 94 Voluntary Aid Detachment of the Red Cross but it is probable that she joined before the war as she commenced work as a voluntary nurse on 3rd September 1914 at Bagthorpe Infirmary, Nottingham (now the City Hospital), one month after the outbreak of war.  She would have attended lectures and received training in Radcliffe on Trent prior to that, under the direction of Claire Birkin, Commandant of the Notts 94 Branch. Her address was given as The Grove, Cropwell Butler. Later in the war Louisa Sherlock, Annie’s cousin, was living with the Smith family. She, too, became a member of the Notts 94 Detachment (see her biography).

Annie’s Red Cross record card shows that she worked at various Nottingham hospitals between September 1914 and March 1916, serving as a voluntary nurse at Bagthorpe Infirmary, the General Hospital and the VAD Hospital West Bridgford (also known as the Trent Bridge Pavilion Hospital), often for short periods at each hospital. This was followed by three years as a linen store keeper at West Bridgford Military Hospital. A transcription of her record card is given below:

Sept 3rd to 5th 1914 Bagthorpe Infirmary

Jan 25th to Feb 2nd 1915 General Hospital Nottingham

April 19th to 26th 1915 V.A.D. Hospital West Bridgford

June 20th for 4 nights

July 19th to 26th 1915 General Hospital Nottingham

Annie then served as a nurse at the V.A.D. (Pavilion) Hospital West Bridgford for the remainder of 1915 on the following dates:

Aug 2nd for 3 weeks

Aug 30th for 1 night at Sept 4th for 1 night

Sept 6th for 1 month

Nov 1st. for 1 month

Dec 20th for 2 months

Following this she spent two nights at the General Hospital from March 16th to 18th 1916.

In a departure from her voluntary nursing Annie then became a Red Cross General Service V.A.D. A General Service section of the V.A.Ds was established in September 1915, to carry out roles such as dispensers, clerks, cooks and storekeepers. From March 1916 to March 1919 Annie was in charge of the linen store at the Military Hospital on Musters Road West Bridgford. The hospital was based in the West Bridgford Council schools and provided 220 beds for other ranks. She received pay of £1 per week at commencement, rising to £1.16s.6d per week and bonus.

1921 Census

Address: Tithby, Cropwell Butler, Nottm

Employment: home

Household: father Albert and domestic Emily Hayes

After the War

Annie married the Reverend David Edwin Lilley from West Bridgford in 1925 in Bingham District. He was born in Armagh, Ireland and served as an Army chaplain during the war. His name is on the University of Durham Roll of Service, from where he graduated with a B.A. degree. Annie and David’s son Patrick B.G. was born in 1927. In 1931 the family were living on Tithby Road, Cropwell Butler. By the time of the 1939 electoral register they had moved to The Rectory, Leys Road, Tostock, Bury St Edmunds. David was a clerk in holy orders and Annie was engaged in unpaid domestic duties.

David died in 1969 in Lothingland district, Suffolk. Annie died in 1970 in Bingham District, age 80.

Annie Elfrieda Smith VAD card side 1

Annie Elfrieda Smith VAD card side 2

Red Cross V.A.D.Registration Card