Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 21st March 1918
Nationality : British
Credits : Roger Frankish
Ellen Andrews was born on 1st January 1886 in Lincolnshire, the daughter of Frederick Andrews (blacksmith) and his wife Hannah (nee Drew) of Wrawby. Five years later in January 1896 her father died aged 26 leaving Hannah to raise Ellen aged 5 and her two younger brothers, James Arthur and Henry. In 1904 Hannah married Robert Leeson but he sadly died the following summer leaving Hannah as a widow once more, which she remained until her death in 1940. On the 1901 census, Ellen was resident at Railway Street, Barnetby, Lincolnshire where she was listed as a servant of William Ffrench and his wife working as a domestic nurse. By 1911 she was working as a hospital nurse at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
On 26th August 1914 following the outbreak of the war, Ellen joined the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) at the 5th Northern General Hospital, Leicester where she was working by March 1915. By 1917 Ellen had been promoted to Sister and on 10th March 1917 she signed the necessary paperwork for TFNS members willing to serve overseas and after passing a medical on 11th April 1917 she was accepted to serve abroad. Following the necessary inoculations and a period of embarkation leave, she was posted to the 59th General Hospital at St Omer, France on 14th July 1917, joining the Officers Hospital for Shell Shock cases at Moulle close to St Omer on 17th July 1917. The exact date of her transfer to the 58th Casualty Clearing Station at Lillers, France is not known but on 21st March 1918, four nurses were crossing railway lines from the hospital to their billets when an enemy air raid commenced. A bomb fell nearby killing Sister Andrews and seriously wounding Sister Maxey, TFNS. Acting Sister M.D. Lutwick, QAIMNSR, Canada crossed the open bomb-swept ground to procure help while Acting Sister M.A. Brown, QAIMNSR, remained with the casualties and tended them until help arrived.
Research courtesy of Roger Frankish.
A Staffordshire Regiment Soldier wrote the following entry relating to the attack in his war diary:
21st Thursday/23rd Saturday
Myself included in a party of 18 B Sect march to Lillers for temporary attached Duty with No. 58 C.C.S. The place bombed at night and the Station by Hospital also one train of ammunition blown up, and fired. Shells blown all over the town and into Hospital. Many casualties. Nurse killed and Matron badly wounded. We turned out in Stretcher Squads to the scene, the bombing continued for hours.
Albert returns from leave on the 19th.
Ward Duty in the No. 2 Serious Surgical Wounds
Ellen Andrews was buried in Lillers Communal Cemetery, France, Grave V.A. 15.
Photograph © IWM (WWC H19-8)