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V A D Hospital
V A D Badge
V A D Badge

Parish Rooms The library
The Parish Rooms
now the Library

In April 1915 the Parish Rooms at Higham Ferrers were put to good use as a hospital run by the Voluntary Aid Detatchment, with 20 beds, and dealt with 765 patients during the WWI. Staff were Mrs Clara P Patenall, Commandant, Doctor Greenfield and a team of nursing staff (Detachment No 12). The Red Cross established the hospitals (Northamptonshire had 32), and St John Ambulance members were also asked to help.
Dr Greenfield Mrs Clara Patenall Miss Bessie Patenall Florrie Trusler
Dr Greenfield
Mrs Clara Patenall
Miss Bessie Patenall

Rushden Echo, 18th March 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers Hospital – For Wounded Soldiers
Parish Rooms to Fitted Up – V.A.D. Work

The Parish Rooms, Higham Ferrers, are to be utilised as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and have been fitted up this week with 16 or 18 beds, the building forming an ideal place for the purpose. It is expected that a contingent of wounded soldiers will be accommodated there next week. Mrs. T. Patenall is the commandant, and she is being loyally assisted by the members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment of the St. John Ambulance Brigade. A number of friends from Stanwick have kindly provided beds etc., and numerous other gifts have been made by persons interested in this movement. Mrs. Patenall desires to thank all who have assisted, and will be pleased to receive further gifts.

Rushden Argus, 19th March 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wounded at Higham
How the Ancient Borough is Aiding the Injured

The Higham Voluntary Aid Detachment have arranged a splendid temporary hospital for wounded soldiers in the Parish Rooms, Higham Ferrers, and are already dealing with 16 wounded soldiers. The large room has the neat white beds lined up each side, and everything is spick and span and comfortable. Each bed has a white counterpane with a large Red Geneva Cross worked upon it by the Deputy Mayoress and Commandant Mrs T Patenall, and the fittings are all ordered with mathematical precision and orderliness.

Mrs Patenall and the detachment had orders to prepare the hospital for soldiers to arrive in about a fortnight’s time. They went to work with such goodwill that when the soldiers came at 5.15p.m. on Sunday so advanced were the arrangements that the emergency was very completely arranged for, and the wounded men adequately and comfortably provided for. Friends in Higham Ferrers and Stanwick very generously responded to the appeal, and all beds, bedding, and other necessaries were immediately lent. The classrooms are fitted as a beds and linen store, a reading-room for the men, a bathroom, a dining room for the nurses and then, of course, the kitchen is used for cooking.

Patients and Nurses outside
Patients and Nurses outside the Parish Rooms
Nurses and patients inside
Nurses and patients in the hospital
Front left: is nurse Ellen Pack
Postcard by C F Chapman
The staff of the hospital is as follow: Commandant and matron, Mrs T Patenall; doctor, Dr Crew; trained nurse, Mrs Gibb, Irthlingborough; quartermaster, Miss Bertha Patenall; Mrs Qunicey’s Section, Miss A Parker, Miss L Wright, Miss N Webb, and Miss Peppercorn (nurses); Miss Horn’s Section, Mrs C Felce, Miss F Linford, Mrs Fry, and Miss D Groome (nurses); Miss Bates’ Section, Miss S Lines, Miss D Wright, Miss Winnie Horn, Mrs Woods, and Miss A Perkins (nurses); Miss Patenall’s Section, Mrs Church, Mrs Walker, Mrs Woods, Mrs Kempshed (nurses); Miss S Patenall, Mrs A Pack, Mrs Lovell, and Mrs A Church, cooks; orderlies, Privates W Tite and W Parker. The duties of the section leaders is to be on duty from seven o’clock and to provide nurses for day and night.

The men, who express themselves delighted with the efforts made on their behalf, are as follow:- Lance-Corp. T Harris, 3rd Royal Fusiliers, (frost-bite at Ypres); Pte. W Harrison, 2nd Lancers (shot in the thigh on the Aisne six months ago); Pte. C Brown, Norfolks (injured in the back); Pte. J Kingsbury, R.A.M.C. (adenoids); Lance-Corpl. Croft, 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (fought from the beginning of the war until March, injured in the right shoulder at Ypres, also hurt at Aisne); Pte. M Leonard, 2nd Black Watch (bullet wound in the hand five months ago); Pte. W Robinson, 3rd Middlesex “Die Hards” (frozen foot at Ypres); Acting-Corpl. Buckle (injured in the face at St Eloi on Feb 28th after three months’ active service); private, 2nd Battalion King’s Own Royal Lancasters (frost-bite at Ypres after two months’ active service; Rifleman T Haley, 4th King’s Royal Rifles (wounded in the right hand at St Eloi); Pte. T O’Flaherty, Royal Munster’s (frost-bite at La Bassee, after four months’ active service);

Pte. A Thomson, 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers (wounded at Ypres in the shoulder after ten days’ active service); Pte. A Seal, 1st East Lancashire Regiment (out in France from the beginning of the war, was sniping and got sniped by German); Sergt. H Hickenbottom, 1st Battalion Lincolns (run over by a wagon at Ypres); Pte. J Hopkins, 1st Hampshires (six months at the front, wounded in the face and general injuries through the bursting of a German shell).

The following supernumeries are prepared to take duty when required: Mesdames Grant, Webb, and Mould, and the Misses W Wilmott, Tru...r, Osborne and Townsend. The Gas Co. have kindly given the gas free of charge, and the Water Board have agreed to allow a free water supply. Mr Holyoak attends the hospital and shaves the men free of charge, and Mr F G Felce has supplied notepaper and envelopes on which is printed a picture of the hospital. There are a number of people who have undertaken to do the necessary washing for the hospital. The chief want now is flowers and fruit, and the Hospital will be very pleased to receive such gifts.

Rushden Echo, 9th April 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

V.A.D. Hospital—Gifts have been received as follows: Books, Miss Baseley (Yelden), Mr T Browning; celery, Rev C Howes Smith (Yelden); cress, Miss Simpson; marmalade, Mrs Frank Felce; papers daily, Mr Saxby, Mr Woolley, Mr C E Groome, Mr F Checksfield; plant, Mr H Johnson; flowers and fruit, Miss May Pasilow; vegetables, Mrs Brazier, Mrs Tailby; sweets and books, Mrs Twissell; eggs and cake, Mrs Kemshead; fruit and cake, Mrs Brittin (Chelveston); cake, Mrs Sharp (Rushden), Rushden friends; cigarettes, Mr Fenton (Yelden), Miss Draper, Mrs Burt, Mrs E Parker, Mr Lay (Chelveston); chocolate, Mrs Fry’s class; pickles, a friend; flowers and chocolates, Miss Townsend; salmon paste, Mrs E Parker; fruit, Miss Goosey, Mrs Thouking and Miss Gregory, Miss Streeton, Miss G Cox, Miss M Pack, Miss Flintham, Misses E Townsend, Coles and Pack, Miss Linford, Miss Smith, Mrs Hartwell, Mrs Smart, Mrs Coulson; butter and eggs, Miss Robinson; eggs, Mrs Hartwell, Miss Baseley (Yelden), Mrs Fletton.

Rushden Echo, 7th May 1915 - Soldiers at the Hospital

Rushden Echo, 18th August 1916, transcribed by Gill Hollis

The wounded soldiers at the Higham Ferrers V.A.D. Hospital were entertained yesterday at The White House, Rushden, by Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Knight. The soldiers were accompanied by Mrs. T. Patenall (Mayoress of Higham Ferrers and matron of the hospital), Miss B. Patenall, Sister Greenwood, and Nurse Parker, and in the evening the Mayor of Higham Ferrers joined the party. Arrangements had been made for tea to be served on the lawn, but the heavy rains made this an impossibility, so the tea was partaken of indoors. The evening was spent in music, games, etc., and a very happy time was enjoyed by all.

Rushden Echo, 15th September 1916, transcribed by Peter Brown

V.A.D. HOSPITAL—On Monday the matron (Mrs T. Patenall) kindly entertained the wounded soldiers and staff from the V.A.D. Hospital at Hinwick. The soldier guests, who journeyed to Higham in conveyances, were accompanied by Mrs Rouse Orlebar, Miss Orlebar, and the sister in charge. Tea was served in the ward, and afterwards the men visited the church and other places of interest in the borough. During the evening a capital entertainment was provided for the visitors, the programme being given by Sergt. Nowell, Corpl, Malin, Corpl. Campbell, Pte. Boyce, Sister Greenwood, Miss K. Brazier, and Mr F. Brazier. Miss Maud Brazier and Bomb. D. Patenall (R.F.A.) accompanied at the piano. Refreshments were handed round. The thanks of guests to the matron were suitably expressed by Mrs Orlebar, Mrs Patenall responding.

Rushden Echo, 12th January 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

V.A.D.—Mr J W Randall and friends gave a greatly-appreciated programme on Wednesday. On Thursday the Men’s Institute entertained the wounded soldiers to whist and billiards.

The Rushden Echo, 9th February 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Capital Programme of music arranged by Mrs W Beeby and Mrs Warren, of Irthlingborough, was given at the Auxiliary Hospital on Saturday.

Speed skating began in 1814. The National Skating Association was formed in Cambridge in 1879, Organised championships followed the establishment of the International Skating Union in 1892.

Amateur champions included F. W. Dix of Raunds in 1908, 1909, and 1912). A record set by 'Fish' Smart in 1881 of a mile with a flying start in three minutes at Cowbit Wash, which was beaten in 1912 by F. W. Dix.

From: 'Sport', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 5 (1973), pp. 279-303.

A Concert arranged by Miss Fox, on behalf of the funds of the Auxiliary Hospital, was held at the Band Club last night, the Mayor presiding. The artistes included Rolando, Mr Litchfield, Mr Gomm and Mrs Baker, and a very laughable sketch was presented by a number of young ladies. The patients and staff from the Hospital were present by invitation.

V.A.D.Auxiliary Hospital—Miss Newman and Miss Tinston, as the result of a concert and dance held on January 23rd, have handed in the sum of £4 to the hospital. By selling photographs of Mr F W Dix of Raunds, the amateur champion skater, a profit of 5/8 was made, and, at Mr Dix’s request, Mr Geo Hunt expended that amount in cigarettes for the wounded soldiers and handed them in on Wednesday night.

Rushden Echo, 2nd March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers V A D Hospital
Presentation of a Billiard Table – For the Wounded Soldiers

An interesting ceremony took place at Higham Ferrers Auxiliary Hospital on Monday evening, when a handsome new billiard table was presented to the matron (Mrs T Patenall) for the use of the soldiers, and the first game on the board was played between Alderman Owen Parker, J.P., (deputy Mayor) and Sapper Straw. Congratulations are due to Councillor F T Twissell on the success of his efforts to raise funds for the purpose. With the kind assistance of Mrs Bates, Miss Newman, Miss Simpson, Mr T Hector’s Concert Party, and other friends, Mr Twissell has managed to raise over £20. The cost of the table was £14 10s.

On behalf of Mr Twissell and about 50 subscribers, Alderman T Patenall (the Mayor of the Borough) formally presented the table to the hospital. His Worship said that Mr Twissell had met with a generous response, and the work had been a great pleasure to him. The feeling of the town was that they not only wanted to keep the men well in body, but in spirit also, and give them every facility for recreation. He hoped the soldiers would make good use of the table, and would recognise that it was a token of appreciation from the townsfolk.

Mrs Patenall (the matron) returned thanks on behalf of the inmates, and said they felt very grateful to the promoters and the subscribers. The nurses and herself were delighted to do what they could for the soldiers, and she had been much encouraged by some charming letters she had received from the mothers of the men who had been in the hospital.

Mr Twissell said that it had greatly pleased him to do anything for the wounded soldiers. Whilst there were soldiers in Higham Ferrers to be cared for, they who were left behind would see that they wanted for nothing.

Ald. Owen Parker added a few words, saying they had formed happy friendships which would never be broken.

Several songs were contributed during the evening.

Rushden Echo, 16th March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Concert and Dance, arranged by Nurse Pack and her daughter (Miss Elsie Pack), on behalf of the Auxiliary Hospital, was given in the Band Club hall yesterday week, the patients of the hospital being present by special invitation. Songs were given by the Brother Coles and Miss Louie Smith, of Raunds, Miss Elsie Pack accompanying. A sketch entitled “Wanted, a mother’s help” was also given by the party. The effort realised £4/5/0.

Rushden Echo, 22nd June 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Higham Ferrers V.A.D. staff and the wounded soldiers had a pleasant picnic yesterday at Swineshead. Mr. Draper supplied a brake, and horses and vehicles were kindly lent by Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. E. H. Horrell, Mr. K. Flintham, Mr. Saxby and Mr. Brown. The drive to Swineshead was extremely pleasant. Tea was partaken of in a field on the farm of Mrs. Ladds, who kindly provided hot water, milk, and crockery, the party having taken their own provisions. After tea a few games were played, and the Swineshead friends generously contributed the sum of 8s. for cigarettes, etc., for the soldiers.

Rushden Echo, 12th October 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Stanwick - Red Cross—On Saturday, two concerts were held for the Red Cross effort. Tea was provided, and produce was sold after the concert. The wounded soldiers from the V.A.D. hospitals at Higham Ferrers and Hinwick were entertained at the afternoon concert and to tea. The artists were Mrs Humphrey (Thrapston), Miss Louie Smith (Raunds), The Rectory party, and Corpl. C. Foskett. Competitions and a Jumble Sale helped the funds. The amount realized was £15 2s. 6.

matron PatenallRushden Echo, 26th October 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers V.A.D. Hospital
Honour for the Matron – Valuable Services in Connection with the War

The name of Mrs Patenall (wife of Alderman Thomas Patenall, Mayor of Higham Ferrers), the Commandant at the Auxiliary V.A.D. Hospital at Higham Ferrers, has been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered in connection with the war.

No distinction has been more thoroughly deserved than this honour to Mrs Patenall, who has during the last three years given the most devoted and enthusiastic service to the care of the wounded soldiers at the hospital.

In addition to the strenuous work at the hospital she has ably carried out the duties falling to the Mayoress of the borough for the time being.

Probably no family in the kingdom has been more patriotic and more self-sacrificing during the war than the Mayor’s family. Alderman and Mrs Patenall’s two sons have been doing good service ever since the outbreak of the war—Mr H R Patenall as an ambulance officer and Mr Donald Patenall as a soldier. Alderman Patenall, besides managing important businesses, has ably filled the office of Mayor and has been chairman of the various war charity and other committees, while his Sundays have been occupied as a lay preacher, and he has also served as one of the circuit stewards of the Higham Ferrers Wesleyan circuit.

The Rushden Echo, 7th December 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Rushden Co-operative Orchestral Band visited the V.A.D. Hospital on Tuesday, and gave an interesting programme.

Rushden Echo, 22nd March 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Children’s Self Denial—Mrs. Patenall, the matron of the Auxiliary Hospital at Higham Ferrers, has received a letter from Mrs. E. Newman, teacher at Newton-road School, Rushden, as follows: “Enclosed please find P.O. to the value of 25s. 3d. as representing the pocket money of the children of Standard V., their savings during Lent. We would be extremely grateful if you would accept the same for cigarettes or other little comforts for the soldier.” The Matron has sent a letter acknowledging the gift.

Rushden Echo, 12th April 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Staff and Pupils of Campbell House School entertained the wounded soldiers at the V.A.D. Hospital on Wednesday, the programme being practically the same as that given at Rushden on Tuesday. Misses Lotinga were encored for the dance, and Miss Battersby for her recitation. Sergt. Baker expressed hearty thanks to Miss Payne, the teachers, and the pupils for their excellent entertainment, and the soldiers gave them three hearty cheers. The pupils of the school kindly supplied smokes for the wounded Tommies, and their gifts were greatly appreciated by the recipients.

Rushden Echo, 26th April 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Moor-Road and District Roll of Honour Committee held a whist drive and dance last night in St. Peter’s Church Room. There was a large number present, The M.C.’s were: Whist, Mr. John Bailey; dance, Mr. Sam Denton. Miss Doris Todd was pianist.

Winners for whist: Ladies, 1 Miss Tipler (113), 2 Miss Tomlinson (113) (after a cut), 3 Miss Harris (111); gentlemen, 1 Pte. Watts (111), 2 Mr. G. Bailey (110), 3 Mr. G. Tompkins (110). There were 34 tables. The wounded soldiers from Higham Ferrers V.A.D. Hospital were present by invitation, and spent a very pleasant time. War-time refreshments were served by the committee, and smokes and refreshments were handed to the wounded soldiers. A cushion cover, beautifully worked by Mr. John Bailey, was competed for, the sum of £1 6s. 7d. being realised. Five new-laid eggs made 4s. 3d. A vote of thanks was accorded by the soldiers to the committee for their kindness. The total proceeds were upwards of £10.

Rushden Echo, 13th September 1918

Mr. Virgo, photographer, of Rushden Hill, has presented to the V.A.D. Hospital a large framed photograph of the Commandant (Mrs. T. Patenall).

Nurse Ada Perkins and Stanley Harris

Stanley V Harris served in the 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers in France where he suffered frostbite in 1915. He was sent to the V.A.D. Hospital at Higham Ferrers to convalesce, and one of his nurses was Ada Perkins.

Stanley and Ada married in 1919.

During in WWII Stanley Harris
served as a Lieutenant in the
8th Northamptonshire Home Guard.

Extract from Diamond Wedding report 1936

Mrs Jane Lovell - during in the War she was a cook in the Higham Ferrers V.A.D. Hospital.

Mrs Jane Lovell

Rushden Echo, 10th January 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

Mrs T Patenall desires to express her sincere thanks to all who kindly lent articles to the hospital. There are one or two small bedsteads and a few blankets not yet claimed, and she would be pleased if the donors would kindly fetch them, as the names of the owners are not known.

Rushden Echo, 14th February 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

HONOUREDMrs. E. Pack, of the Higham Ferrers V.A.D. Hospital, is amongst those whose names have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War by the Chairman of the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England, for valuable services rendered in connection with the war.

STAFF NURSE SISTER Florence Hilda Colton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Colton, of York-road, Higham Ferrers, who has been nursing in a hospital in France, has been home on leave, and has now returned to France.

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