This story was brought to us by Patsie Smith who was researching her grandmother. She discovered that Elsie Withington had been a nurse at The Beaufort and had met her husband there, William Tattersall, who was serving in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
Elsie joined QAIMNS- The Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nurses Service- in 1915 and arrived at the Beaufort in September. William was at the Beaufort for six months in 1917. They decided to get married. Elsie had to apply to be released early from her contract. A rather stern letter from the War Office records:
‘It will not be possible to agree to her being released unless she consents to refund the extra pay she has drawn in consequence of her signing the agreement. ‘
Documents in Elsie’s Service Record show that she did indeed refund the extra pay, and she married William on the 5th January 1918.
She was clearly an excellent nurse and valued member of the staff. Matron Kate Underwood wrote in her reference:
‘It gives me great pleasure to speak for sister E Withington who held a responsible position as Charge Sister at The Beaufort War Hospital for two years….she is a good manager, kind and tactful, but firm when necessary, and nothing is too much trouble if it will add to her patient’s comfort.
Kate Underwood September 1918’
Elsie is in the bottom row on the right in the photograph. Many thanks to Patsie Smith.