Wife of John Henry Mason
Before the War
Florrie Leeson was born in Long Bennington, Lincolnshire on 7th March 1895. In 1901 she was living on Main Road, Long Bennington with her father Robert, 36, groom gardener, mother Sarah, 32, and sisters Lillian, 7, and Doris, 1. By 1911 the family had moved to Leadenham, Lincolnshire and three more children had been born: Minnie, 10, James William, 6, and Ethel Mabel, 1. Florrie’s father was now an odd job man. Also living in the household was his wife’s father William Alcock, 81, farm labourer.
During the War
Florrie served as a nursing Sister at Notts County War Hospital during the War. In July 1918 Notts County Asylum, Radcliffe on Trent, became Notts County War Hospital. As the war progressed there was a growing acknowledgement that specialised provision was needed for servicemen suffering from mental or nervous breakdown. Accordingly, a number of asylums were converted into War mental hospitals, Notts County Asylum being one of them. 540 beds were provided for military patients. The War Hospital closed in August 1919 and was re-converted to an asylum for civil patients.
The hospital records note that Florrie, having passed her Medico-Psychological Examination, was appointed Sister and was paid £45 per annum inclusive from 1st July 1919. The registers of the Medico-Psychological Association, held at the Royal College of Psychiatry, reveal that Florrie was awarded her certificate in 1919. Florrie would have worked with Mary Jollie (née Clark), whose recollections of serving at the War Hospital can be found in her biography. The female nursing staff totalled 48, of whom 17 were existing members of staff at the Asylum.
Florrie’s future husband John Henry Mason was employed at Notts County Asylum (Saxondale) before the war; he is listed in their records as an attendant who served in the Armed Forces and was wounded.
After the War
Florrie continued to work at the hospital after Notts County War hospital closed in August 1919 and reverted to an Asylum in November 1919. In 1922, nursing staff went on strike after the authorities proposed to increase their hours to sixty six a week and reduce their wages. John and Florrie took part in the strike and were among sixty six striking staff members dismissed as a result. John then moved to Caterham Mental Hospital, Surrey, where he became a male nurse.
Florrie and John were married on 21st August 1922 at the Register Office, Basford, Nottingham. At the date of their marriage John was already working as a male nurse at Caterham Mental Hospital, Surrey and Florrie was living at 23 Radcliffe Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham. They went on to have two sons: Victor H born in 1923 and Raymond H born in 1925 in Godstone District, Surrey. In 1939 the Mason family were living at 9 Homestead Road, Caterham. John was a mental nurse.
Florrie may have continued with her nursing career after John died in 1946. Her name appears in the General Nursing Council for England and Wales Register as a mental nurse, registration date 9.8.55, qualification M.P.A. certificate. Florrie died on 18th November 1974. She was still living at 9 Homestead Road, Caterham.