Willie Hodgkinson’s Sister Ada V.A.D. Nurse at Leeswood Hall Auxiliary Hospital
After the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, The British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John, joined forces to form ‘The Joint War Committee’. This Committee organised Voluntary Aid Detachments (V.A.Ds). Members were all trained in first aid and others undertook training in cookery, hygene, sanitation or nursing. Ada Hodgkinson chose to do nursing. Throughout the war VAD nurses worked in hospitals, convalescent homes and resting stations.
‘The Joint War Committee’ secured many buildings in the UK to use as temporary hospitals. These included town halls, schools and private houses. Leeswood Hall in Flintshire was used for this purpose. Auxiliary Hospitals were attached to central military hospitals. They were usually staffed by a Commandant, a Quartermaster, a Matron, Professional nursing staff and members of the local V.A.D. In many cases ladies in the neighbourhood, volunteered on a part time basis. Ada Hodgkinson was such a lady.
Patients at these hospitals were generally less seriously wounded or in need of convalescence. Servicemen preferred the auxiliary hospitals where the discipline was not so strict as in the military hospitals. Conditions were less crowded and generally more homely.
The Hodgkinson family has loaned us a number of mementos from Ada’s time at Leeswood Hall and we reproduce them below. Perhaps the most special of these is her autograph book. Ada’s brother John gave her the book as a birthday present. She asked many people to write or draw in her book including the patients at the hospital. We have scanned a selection of the pages from this wonderful book.
Many thanks to Mary Marrow and Robert Hodgkinson for these lovely family archives.