Friday, 10 October 2014

Remembering WWI: My Grandmother Winifred Quigley

Winifred Quigley married my Grandfather Goff in 1918. But during WWI she was a nurse.

I have two photographs one of which I think must have been kept because Granny is standing in the background. I'll call her Granny because she didn't like Winifred and my Great Grandfather Martin Quigley carelessly only gave her one name so she didn't have a second to fall back on. Martin must have been a busy man as by the time he got around to registering her birth he had forgotten when she was born.

Granny came from Sligo on the West coast of Ireland. I believe she trained as a nurse in London but she never talked about that, even as she never talked about her wartime experiences. The only thing she would say was she didn't get paid very much and she had to buy her own uniform. The stockings, it seems, were very expensive.

King George Hospital
I'm fairly certain that Granny is the nurse standing under the palm at the back; the nurse to the right. Because otherwise why would my grandparents keep the photograph? The photograph is firmly labelled 1914 but various websites assure me that the King George Hospital was in a commandeered warehouse in Stamford Street in London, and it did not accept its first patients until May 1915. 

I found an interesting blog about women who served as military nurses and one of the images of a ward in King George Hospital is very similar to this one. You can also see it is the same building as the windows are the same as those shown in a view of the front elevation. 
I'm guessing my photograph was not labelled until years later and it's easy to get dates wrong.

10 Stationary Hospital 1915
This hospital was opened in late 1914 in the building previously occupied by the School of St Joseph in St Omer. It's now the Lycée Alexandre Ribot. My Grandmother is not in this photograph; she's certainly not the stout one with glasses, and the one at the window has the wrong colour hair. 
So again I'm guessing that Granny must have nursed here.

This is Winfred Quigley.

And here are my Grandparents Tommy & Winifred.
The photograph is dated 1918 so perhaps this was taken to celebrate their engagement. 
The wedding was in Chelsea on 3 October 1918
My cousin Josephine always used to insist they met when Granny nursed Tommy during the war. 
My mother told me that in fact they bumped into each other turning a corner in London. 
They were married for 55 years and died on the same night, both in their late 80s.


  1. Ma'am,

    Do you know if your grandmother was a nurse in Egypt during WWI?

    Marc Carlson (email marc-carlson at