Nellie Eva Whittingham

Wartime Role VAD - Storekeeper
Date of Birth 1 June 1896
Age at Death
Date of Death
Merton Address 11 Lansdell Road, Mitcham, Surrey
Local Memorial

Additional Information

Nellie Whittingham was born in Chatham, Kent on 1 June 1896. In June 1900 she was enrolled as a pupil at St. Mary’s School, Putney. Nellie lived with her parents, Sarah and George and her younger brother Henry at 14 Gwalior Road, Putney. Her father George was employed as a Police Constable. The 1911 Census shows the family had moved to No. 1 Thrale’s Cottages, St. Mark’s Road, Mitcham, and that her father had been promoted to Police Sergeant. Nellie, now 14 years of age, was employed as a Dressmaker’s Apprentice, whilst her brother was still at school.

Records show that during the War, Nellie had been employed as a Telephone Operator and was also a General Service Member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment. On 1 October 1917, she was engaged by the British Red Cross as a full time Storekeeper at the Holborn Military Hospital in Mitcham. As a volunteer, she would not have been entitled to pay, but only an allowance for board and lodging.

Later on in the War when there was a shortage of nurses, there was an appeal for probationers to help nurses and replace male orderlies - thousands of women came forward. When it was proposed to replace men in other Departments of Military Hospitals, the VAD General Service Section stepped in. Dispensers, cooks, clerks, store-keepers and whatever class was required, took up the work and the hospitals went on as though no change had taken place.

The Holborn Military Hospital was formerly an Industrial School for paupers, but was requisitioned by the War Office in 1916. It was large enough to care for 954 patients, suffering from various illnesses including scabies, meningitis and loss of limbs. Their psychological welfare was also considered and the hospital had a recreation hut which may have included a gramophone, and billiard and card tables provided by the YMCA.

Records show that Nellie was still employed at the hospital in 1919, and presumably stayed there until the hospital closed in the same year. Her address at that time was 11 Lansdell Road, Mitcham. We have no record of Nellie after that date.


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