Margaret Evans Thomas was born in 1890 and died at 1:20 on 8th November 1918 aged 28.
It is assumed that her mother died when Margaret was very young as she was brought up by Mrs E Elizabeth Summers, wife of John Summers, Station Square, Pwllheli since she was 9 yrs. old. This is stated in a letter dated 15th Jan 1920 from Elizabeth Summers to the War Office. The 1901 and 1911 census’s showing the Summers family at Station Square when Margaret would have been 10 and 20 respectively does not have her listed there.
Margaret was a Staff Nurse at 1st London General Hospital (See Historical Note below) where she died of influenza and pneumonia. It has not been able to establish details of her time there, however a lot of the medical and nursing staff in the 1st London General Hospital were seconded from St Bartholomew’s Hospital. So may well have been working there previously
As well as the Welsh Nurses memorial in St Asaph Cathedral, Margaret is Commemorated on the United Kingdom 1914-1918 Memorial, Brookwood, Surrey, on the York Minster Memorial and on the Pwllheli memorial where she is buried in Sec.A. B.A. Grave 24as acording to the CWGC. There are also records of funeral expenses in that town.
Except for the above facts it has not been possible to find much information about the life of Margaret. However the following information obtained from the National Archives has been used to try and put together her most likely family.
Form 107 referred to in Elizabeth Summers letter to the War Office above gives the names of Margaret’s uncle and aunty i.e. her mother’s brother and sister as Hugh Evans and Jane Roberts
Jane’s maiden name would most likely have been Evans, and Elizabeth Summers’ maiden name, who is mentioned as being Margaret’s aunt, would also probably have been Evans and possibly why Margaret’s middle name was Evans.
Elizabeth Summers according to the census was born in Tydweiliog, Caernarfonshire, Wales.
Back tracking for an Elizabeth Evans born in Tydweiliog resulted in finding an Evans family comprising the following according to the 1861 census: –
Hugh Evans (father) 44; Mary Evans (mother) 40; Jane 11; Ellen 14; Elizabeth 6; Mary 4; Hugh 1;
I.e. includes a Jane, Elizabeth and Hugh plus two other sisters Ellen and Mary.
The 1871 census has a new sister called Margaret (not our Margaret as she wasn’t born until 1890) but maybe the person she was named after.
Hugh Evans Snr is listed as a farmer, and in one of the invoices for an advertisement related to Margaret’s funeral notifications it refers to the Cambrian News and Welsh Farmers Gazette. I.e. with the implication that Margaret’s Family was in the farming community and again tying it back again to the Evans family mentioned above.
Following the other 3 sisters i.e. Ellen, Mary and Margaret, forward through the censuses does not give any link of any of them to a marriage with a Thomas. The only tenuous link is that on the 1871 census there was a lodger named Joseph Thomas living with the Evans family who was a School Master aged 36 and as our Margaret wasn’t born for another 19 years it is very unlikely that this person was her father. In the 1881 census he has moved away and is living with his brother in Denbighshire.
The funeral of Margaret in Pwllheli looks to have been a fairly grand affair as there is an invoice for £3.0s0d covering a Hearse and Pair (Horses) and 2 Carriage and Pairs plus drivers. There is also reference to John Summers being a Councillor.
She is remembered on the nurses memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.
A Memorial to Voluntary Aid Detachment and Professional Nurses who lost their lives in the 1st and 2nd World Wars, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, dedicated and unveiled on 4th June 2018 at an event attended by HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO, Royal Patron of the Nursing Memorial Appeal. The memorial takes the form of hands cast in bronze holding a globe carrying the names of nurses who lost their lives in service in the two World Wars. Further information about the memorial can be found on the Nursing Memorial Appeal website at www.nursingmemorialappeal.org.uk