52 residents in 52 weeks #3 Elizabeth Jane Bradshaw

With the centenary of the start of WW1 last year I, like many others, started to look at the role played in the war by people from my place. I looked for soldiers and duly found them. I looked for those who contributed in the local community and found a couple of those. I looked for conscientious objectors and haven’t found any yet.

I also found Elizabeth Jane Bradshaw, whose role in WW1 I found surprising.

But to begin at the beginning.

Elizabeth Jane Bradshaw was born 1899, registered in q1.. She is certainly on the 1911 census as living with her father Richard (miner - quarry) and mother Mary Ellen in 7 Nuttall Row, Cloughfold with her 4 sisters, 2 brothers and a female servant. In 1901 Elixabeth Jane worked as a cotton weaver, age 12. Interesting that a family who could afford a servant put their 12 yr old children out to work.

The family are duly recorded in the same house in the 1901 census with the same children in the same order, except that there ‘Elizabeth Jane’ is down as ‘Margaret A’, age 2. Well the ‘age 2’ bit fits. There was a ‘Margaret Jane Bradshaw’ born q3 1899 in the Haslingden registration district (which covers our area) but she wouldn’t have been 2 at the time of the census and they obviously weren’t twins. Mmm, interesting. Elizabeth Jane at birth, Margaret A in 1901 and Elizabeth Jane in 1911? Really? Richard Bradshaw gave his occupation in 1901 as ‘coal miner’, and so may have worked for one of John Ashworth’s companies - he of Springhill House.

To return to the Great War.

Elizabeth enrolled with the QMAAC on 6/6/18 aged 20. At the time of enrolment she was living in Bacup. She was posted initially to Chadderton Camp, Royton, then 53 (YS) Bn South Wales Borderers 16/7/1918. In Oct 1918 she was moved to the dispersal Camp Shoreham-on-sea Oct 1918 then to Sommerton Camp, Eastbourne on 4/4/19. She was discharged 5/12/1919 on termination of engagement.

Her records are incompletely completed (a common feature in this study!) so we know that she was 4'11" and 100 lbs, but her hair and eye colour omitted. She was described as 'small very nice bright girl, seems suitable' by M E Quinlan on her application form. At the time of application she was a glove machinist, having been a slipper worker in the meantime.

The thing I found surprising is that she was assessed for service as a waitress. Now i appreciate that even in war one must maintain standards but was waitresses really Britain’s greatest need at that time?

The question ‘what do you know of the applicant’s qualifications as a waitress and how qualified are you to speak for her?’ is variously answered by her referees:
‘in no way’
‘make a good one’ and
‘I don’t know what sort of waitress she would make’

Further details are available in the
transcripts of her service records.