Friday, 2 December 2011

Sepia Saturday 103 - Medically Related


This photo is one from our personal collection. My several times Great Uncle, William Arthur West (1863-1931) stands in the back row, second on the right. This photo was taken during the Boer War. William was already in the Army, serving in the Medical Corp by the time of the Boer War. He joined in 1878 and spent time abroad during the Zulu Wars and the Afghan Wars. His wife accompanied him and died in Zululand in 1894. He remarried to his Cousin in 1897 and they had two children, one of which died in France in 1918. I love the sign "Den of Terror"!

The Second photo is another family one. This time of My Great Great Aunt Edith Matthews. Edith was a VAD during the Boer War, she met her husband who had been serving and was later discharged due to an injury he sustained in the line of duty.

Researching where Edith was a VAD has been difficult. The emblem on her coat is not clear enough to be useful. The Red Cross have no references to her name. We can date the photo circa 1902 as Edith married Charles Jelley in April of that year.



Taking part in Sepia Saturday

11 comments:

  1. That’s fantastic that you have family photos going back to the Boer War, when most of us are lucky to have WW1 examples. Great to have the medical connection too. Thanks for your suggestion on my blog post - I’ll see what I can do.

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  2. To have pictures from that far back is tremendous especially both medically related.

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  3. The "Den of Terror" sign seems out of place as does the man in the middle of the front row.

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  4. I agree with Postcardy. That photo really challenges the imagination. I also like the portrait of your great great aunt in uniform. I hope you are able to track down the information you are looking for.

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  5. There are some rather luxuriant moustaches on the men. I hope you can find out more about Edith - good luck! Jo

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  6. Great photos and story to go with them! This is my first visit to your lovely blog, and I am your newest follower.

    Kathy M.

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  7. I must ask, what is a VAD? These are fantastic photos. We Americans know all to little about the Boer War and Zulu War. They are fascinating stuff to me.

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  8. They really are wonderful photographs : so full of history. It all seems so long ago and so far away - in some ways the shock is that cameras were about to record it all.

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  9. Whowerethey - A VAD stands for Voluntary Aid Detachment. They were women who did the basic nursing jobs, changed beds, assisted perhaps in some surgery - pass the scalpel! Helped to feed patients etc.

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  10. The civilian seated on the ground might be a newspaper reporter. I read a history of the Boer war period recently that described the British government's efforts to change public opinion at home by influencing the press, controlling access to the troops, etc. Seems unlikely a serviceman would even have a regular suit at the front. Great photos.

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  11. How fortunate you are to have the photographs! I have an aunt who served as a nurse in the US Civil War but no photographs - a real treasure to have the photo of the Boer War.

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