Appeal for information on First World War Darwen nurses

The nurses with the soldiers from New Zealand

Ethel Shorrock

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A WOMAN who has published her Darwen grandmother’s First World War memoirs has launched an appeal to identify nurses who worked in the family home after it was transformed into a hospital.

Ethel Shorrock, the wife of mill owner William Gordon ‘Don’ Shorrock, a great grandson of India Mill founder Eccles, kept a diary during the First and Second World Wars.

At a time when diaries for women were unusual, certainly spanning wartime Darwen, it provides a fascinating insight into life at the time.

When war broke out, the family turned Moss Bridge House into a military hospital.

And while writing up her grandmother’s memoirs for ‘Granny’s War’, published last month, Jill Faux came across a picture of a large group of New Zealand soldiers at the hospital.

She said: “I have the names, battalions and injury details of all the soldiers, but no details of the nurses.

“I assume this is because Granny knew them all so she didn’t bother to write down their names. But I do wonder if anyone local to Darwen might know who the nurses pictured are and would love for them to write to me.”

Ethel had a special interest in New Zealand as she emigrated from the islands in the late 19th-century and lived in Eastbourne.

She married Don in 1909 and the couple moved to Darwen, where the family still owned the Bowling Green Mill and had interests at India Mill.

They lived at Oakleigh in Bolton Road until 1913 when they moved to New Meadow at Entwistle, ‘probably to get above the smog which would have covered Darwen at the time’, said Mrs Faux.

Before the Second World War, they moved to Warton, on the Fylde, and later to the Lake District.

Mrs Faux, who decided to publish the diaries after discovering them last year, said: “The first entry was written a month after war was declared.

“It is very factual and she was very much a cheerleader for the troops and particularly the Navy.

“She doesn’t talk much about personal things, but you do get a sense of what life was like at the time.”

Anyone with information about the nurses can contact Mrs Faux at Cardew Farm, Dalston, Carlisle, CA5 7JQ.

The book, published by 2QT, costs £15.99 and is available to borrow from Darwen Library.

Comments (1)

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2:31am Sat 26 Jul 14

kenbro says...

As a child in the 1930's I lived at Moss Bridge but never heard of a hospital there. Does anyone know where Moss Bridge House was located ?
As a child in the 1930's I lived at Moss Bridge but never heard of a hospital there. Does anyone know where Moss Bridge House was located ? kenbro
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