Willimina ‘Minnie’ Melville
Minnie was born in Johnshaven, Scotland and volunteered for the British Red Cross in November 1916. She was initially stationed at Whalley Military Hospital as a VAD nurse from 4/11/1916 to 26/06/1917, before moving to Catterick Camp Military Hospital, again as a nurse, from 15/01/1918 until 6/04/1919.
Willimina Melville, now Mrs Scales married James Jarvis Scales in 1922 and they were married up until her death on the 11th of February 1967. Minnie and Jim had emigrated and were living in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada in 1967.
This information, provided by Alathea Anderssohn has been drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ archive.
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Mary Burn visited the Green Howards Museum to tell us about her father’s cousin, Thomas Holmes. Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, Thomas Holmes worked for Mr Gaffanney, a coal dealer in Leeds. As a reservist, he was called up on the outbreak of War to the 9th Battalion, the West Yorkshire Regiment while his brother served with the 1st Scots Guards. At only 19 years of age, Private Holmes was sent to Gallipoli. One of the thousands to die at Suvla Bay, he was killed on 29th October 1915 and is buried at Hill 10 cemetery along with 548 other casualties.
Lorna Pound visited us on one of our drop-in days to share the story of her grandfather, 58755 Sapper Thomas Henry (Harry) Wright. Harry was born in Richmond on 18 October 1878. At just 14 years old he attempted to enlist with the West Yorkshire Regiment in York on the 2nd November 1892, claiming he was 18 years old. Eight days later he was discharged with a payment of £1. In the face of this set back he continued with his apprenticeship as a saddler with Mrs Rymer in Northallerton. It is likely that he re-enlisted again sometime after reaching the age of 18 years as a photograph taken in the early 1900s shows him in uniform as a Lance Corporal. In 1918 he married and was still employed as a saddler with H Myers in Richmond Market Place. On 26th December 1914 he presented himself for enlistment into the Royal Engineers. It is said within the family that he was told if he enlisted early he could keep his trade of saddler whilst serving. Sadly Sapper Wright’s papers did not survive the bombings of the Second World War and therefore it is not known which unit he originally served with but he was initially sent to Egypt on 7th August 1915. He certainly served in France for some time as numerous embroidered cards survive which he sent to his wife and children. By the end of the war in 1918 he was serving with 5 Corps Signals Company Royal…
Fiona Hall, Communications and Retail Manager at the Green Howards Museum submitted this story about one of the most important women of the First World War (in fact of any) era. I’m intrigued by this local hero – a complex character. There’s not enough space here to describe the many achievements of Gertrude Bell, and that’s not the point of this entry. Although I do recommend you take some time to acquaint yourself with her if you are not already familiar with this fascinating woman – archaeologist, mountaineer, one of the first women to gain a degree at Oxford (a First in History) but an anti-suffrage campaigner, the first to work for British military intelligence, colleague of TE Lawrence, and also the first to write a government white paper. She was born in 1868 into the sixth richest family in England, the granddaughter of the industrialist Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, and lived in Redcar. When war broke out her request for a government posting to the Middle East was denied. Instead she volunteered with the Red Cross, taking charge of the missing and wounded office in Boulogne. Meanwhile her brother, Maurice, a career soldier and Boer War veteran was commanding the 4th Bn The Yorkshire Regiment on the western front. Imagine working in the environment Gertrude was working in- with the very possible chance she may have to ‘process’ information about the fate of her own brother. Maurice was in fact invalided home in 1916 and died in 1944. In…