UNDERWOOD Elsie Janet – VAD Nurse
Elsie Underwood was born Elsie Janet Boulton on 3rd April 1885 in Alvechurch. She was the daughter of Harry and Ellen Boulton and she had 2 older sisters Dorothy and Margaret and an older brother John. In 1891 the family resided at The Leys, Alvechurch and another daughter, Phyllis, had been born.
On the 1901 census Elsie J. Boulton, aged 15, born Alvechurch, Worcestershire, was a pupil at Woodvale, Woodstock Rd, Moseley, Birmingham. Her parents, 2 sisters and her brother lived in the Moat House, Radford Road, Alvechurch. Her father was a farmer and an employer. By 1911, Elsie was a teacher at a Ladies school in Mortimer Road, Clifton, Bristol.
On 22nd December 1914 Elsie married Harold S. Underwood in Alvechurch. Prior to their wedding, Harold aged 35 had enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery on 17th November 1914. Shortly afterwards on 2nd January 1915 he was transferred to the Motor Transport Section of the Army Service Corps. He never saw overseas service, he was discharged from the army on 14th May 1916 as being no longer physically fit for military service due to a tubercle of the lung. On 1st August 1916 Elsie joined the British Red Cross as a part time Probationer, working from 1st August to 20th September 1916 and from 31st July 1917 to 22nd September 1917 in the Red Cross Hospital at Wimborne, Dorset possibly to be close to her husband who was admitted to hospital during this time with pneumonia. Her date of termination was given as 31st December 1917 and this may be to nurse her husband as sadly Harold died in early 1918 at the age of 39.
After his death Elsie served in France with the British Committee of the French Red Cross from 30th August 1918 working as an orderly at the Scottish Women’s Hospital in Sallanches. Sadly, she died in the same hospital on 21st October 1918. Her body was brought back to Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire and she was buried in the same grave as her husband. Her effects totalling £1778 13s 9d were left to her mother Ellen Boulton.
The following report appears in the Bromsgrove Messenger, 2nd November 1918: Alvechurch Lady’s Death in FranceWe regret to record the death of Mrs Underwood, widow of the late Mr Harold S Underwood of Wanstead and daughter of Mr and Mrs H.W. Boulton which occurred on Monday in last week at the Elsie Inglis Hospital for Serbians, France from double pneumonia following influenza.
Bromsgrove Messenger researched by Martin Stephens, courtesy and copyright of: http://www.bromsgrovebmsgh.co.uk/