Who Goes There? A collection with a connection?


Sergeant A.S. McHardy, 1st Gordons

Last month a local auction house featured a lot containing a large collection of photographs and some military postcards. Unfortunately I was not the successful bidder however a couple of weeks later I stumbled across eight of the postcards in a local shop.

While previewing the lot prior to the auction it appeared the collection originated from a family in Keighley, West Yorkshire. Two of the postcards were presented to “Mrs Powell” but no address or other details were provided.

The soldiers in the postcards belonged to a variety of units but most contain no information written on the back. However the two addressed to Mrs Powell do include names. The first is Sergeant A. S. McHardy of the 1st Gordons dated Oct. 7, 1918 and the second is George Smith, who I believe was a Lance-Sergeant in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (#22938). Smith indicates he was a patient in Morton Banks War Hospital from March 26, 1918 to March 9, 1919. There were more than a dozen “George Smith”s in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment however only one was a Lance-Sergeant.

A middle initial is usually helpful but in the case of Sgt. McHardy it has been exactly the opposite. I located a 21-year old Sergeant Alexander McHardy in the Gordon Highlanders (#S/14057), a Military Medal winner who recovered from wounds in Manchester’s 2nd Western General Hospital from mid-1918 to early 1919. However his service records do not include a middle initial and he appears to have served in the 2nd and 7th Battalions rather than the 1st. My investigation was brief and so there is more work to be done.

Could Mrs Powell have been connected to a hospital, perhaps as a volunteer who visited soldiers who were far from home? There is no guarantee that there is a connection in this collection of soldiers but if you have any theories please leave a comment below or contact me. Thanks very much.

6 replies

  1. Hi, I have stumbled on this post while researching for an organisation I volunteer for called Men of Worth Project, which commemorates the men and women of the Worth Valley area who served in wartime. I am working through a list provided by the Red Cross of VADs in the area. One of the ladies I have researched may be the Mrs Powell you are looking for: https://www.menofworth.org.uk/women/vad-annie-powell/
    She worked at Morton Banks as a VAD nurse.
    Hope the info is of use to you!

    • HI Carole … thanks very much for your comments and the link to your blog post on Annie Powell. It appears all of the photos were taken in photographic studios, presumably from throughout the Britain however it seems likely they are connected to VAD Powell and Morton Banks. Your article mentioned that she worked at Morton Banks in 1916 and 1917 which is earlier than the “1918” notations on two of the postcards but perhaps she was still associated with the hospital in some way? The fact that two postcards were addressed to “Mrs Powell” rather than “Nurse Powell” may support this theory. Thanks again, Steve.

  2. No problem.
    I’m no expert with photos but if you want to look any further – on the first photo, the man sat on the left looks similar to Samuel Clough who was mayor of Keighley and a major donor and contributor to the war hospitals – his wife Martha volunteered and there is a page about her on our site which has a photo of him. If so, the lady on the photo could be Martha.
    The RAMC chap looks a lot like Dr William Scatterty – he and his wife and daughter set up SJAB in this area and ran the military hospitals, again there is a page on the Scatterty family.

    • I haven’t had a chance to look into Samuel Clough but I did look up Dr. Scatterty. It appears he was a Captain during the war so that would rule out the RAMC chap as he was not an officer. I do see some resemblance though so perhaps he was related? Thanks.

  3. Hi again, I just saw a photo today that shows Dr Scatterty at Morton Banks with another man called Surgeon Major General Bedford who looks similar. Not sure if I can upload the photo here. I’d be happy to email it to you if you like?

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