Molly uncovers the news of her brother’s death

Captain Charles Wilmot Evans of the 6th South Staffordshires was killed on 1 Jul 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. At the time, his sister Molly Evans was working at the No 2 General hospital in Le Havre. Below are extracts from her diary that chronicle how she found out the news and how it affected those around her. It contrasts with the account of this very same episode narrated in Alan MacDonald’s Book, “Lack of Offensive Spirit” which is based on the records of her letters to the War Office. Continue reading →
Last updated on 28 January 2019 by JJ Morgan

Marriage proposal in Boulogne, 17 Mar 1918

Molly Evans had been working in the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Dunkirk from Sep 1917 and had returned to England on 28 Feb 1918 for two weeks leave to her parents in Hagley, Worcestershire. According to her diary, the two weeks after her return to France, were the most memorable experiences of her life. Molly writes extensively about the bombardment and evacuation of the hospital on the night of 23 Mar 1918, but the whole week of her return to the hospital covered the full range and intensity of experiences of being in a war. Continue reading →
Last updated on 12 August 2019 by JJ Morgan

The Grosvenor Family of Broome House

George William Grosvenor, the head of Woodward Grosvenor & Co, Kidderminster Carpet Manufacturers, and his family lived in Broome House in Broome to the West of Hagley from about 1875 to 1899. He was a JP, Deputy Lieutenant and in 1897 High Sheriff of Worcestershire. Broome House was sold in 1904 for £6500 and the family then moved first to Elmley House in Blakedown and finally to Park House, Hagley, where he died in 1923. The four children feature in some of the photos and correspondence held by the Downing and Evans family of Hagley. Continue reading →
Last updated on 5 September 2019 by JJ Morgan

The Hatton Family of Hagley House

The family of George Hatton moved into Hagley House in about 1912. Hagley House was a large Georgian building on the corner of the Birmingham and Stourbridge Roads. The previous occupant recorded in the 1911 census was Henrietta Moore, the grandmother of Hal Barlow. Henrietta’s husband Joseph Moore, a brick manufacturer, had died there in 1901. Continue reading →
Last updated on 8 January 2019 by JJ Morgan

Hospital Evacuation under Fire, Dunkirk, Mar 1918

The following is a narrative account from the diary of Molly Evans, a VAD nurse in the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Dunkirk. She had returned from leave on 17 Mar and the three days from 20 to 23 March 1918 were the worst experienced so far. She wrote up a special piece in the diary to describe it, starting on the evening of 20 Mar 1918. Continue reading →
Last updated on 7 March 2019 by JJ Morgan

Rachel Eveline Wilson

Rachel Wilson was born on 19 Dec 1894 to a wealthy Quaker family in Kidderminster. After the outbreak of the First World War, she trained as a nurse and eventually joined the Queen Alexandra Hospital run by the Friends’ Ambulance Unit (FAU) in Dunkirk in 1917. She became a close friend of Molly Evans. Continue reading →
Last updated on 3 December 2018 by JJ Morgan

Elizabeth Hardy

Elizabeth Hardy was born on 5 Jun 1889, the only daughter of Rev Theodore Bayley Hardy, VC  Before 1914 she worked as a schoolmistress, having obtained a degree from London University. After war broke out, she trained with the Red Cross in London and later joined the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Dunkirk on 7 Feb 1917. She became a life-long friend of Molly Evans. Continue reading →
Last updated on 12 August 2019 by JJ Morgan

Future Officers, 4th Public Schools Battalion

The 4th Public Schools Battalion, 21st Royal Fusiliers, did not land in France until Nov 1915, approximately one year after they first gathered in Ashtead, Surrey as newly enlisted recruits. We have pieced together from the photos in Noel Downing‘s (PS/2581) collection, the names and identities of some of his comrades in arms.  Continue reading →
Last updated on 13 November 2018 by JJ Morgan

Old Mulgravians’ War Memorial

The Old Mulgravians’ War Memorial, a stained-glass window in Lady Chapel of  St Oswald’s Church, Lythe near Whitby, was unveiled on 28 Mar 1920. Noel Downing was among the former pupils of the Mulgrave Castle School who together with the headmaster Lord Normanby contributed in honouring their fallen friends. The surviving correspondence below includes 2 letters – a letter of appeal and a detailed description of the Memorial on its completion. The list would indicate that about 20 per cent of all the school pupils were killed. Continue reading →
Last updated on 27 October 2018 by E Morgan

The Cottage, Upton, Near Andover, Hampshire

Noel and Molly Downing bought The Cottage, Upton in Oct 1945 for their retirement. It had six or seven bedrooms and for the next twenty nine years the house welcomed a number of guests – old friends and family that came to stay or just visit for the day. Noel died in Oct 1965 and Molly in Sep 1974.  Continue reading →
Last updated on 9 January 2019 by JJ Morgan

Rev Thomas Henley Flynn

Tom Flynn was born in Falmouth on 11 Jan 1889 the son of Rev Canon John Stephen Flynn. He attended Harrow School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, matriculating in 1908. He was a life long friend of Noel Downing who was a contemporary of him at both Harrow and Oxford.  Continue reading →
Last updated on 11 October 2019 by JJ Morgan

The Pow-Wow: Unofficial Journal of U.P.S. Brigade

The Pow-Wow as defined by its creators was The Unofficial Journal of the Universities and Public Schools  (U.P.S.) Brigade (118th and later 98th). The intention was both to chronicle training in Epsom, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Woodcote, Clipstone and Tidworth and to amuse “two or  three thousand members of the Brigade for a few minutes each Friday”. Noel Downing treasured a complete set of 38 numbers issued from 18 Nov 1914 to 3 Sep 1915. Continue reading →
Last updated on 17 January 2019 by E Morgan