TO mark 100 years since the First World War, the Gazette & Herald has joined forces with the Rotary Club of Malton and Norton to remember local people who died in the conflict.

Sarah E Hornsey VAD

Sarah Edith Hornsey, remembered with honour. She served at Malton VAD Hospital and the Military Hospital Colchester, and died on May 31, 1918, aged 34. Home address - the Market Place, Malton.

The 1911 census records Sarah working in her father’s drapers shop at 40 Market Place, now Scrivens the opticians.

At the unveiling of the War Memorial on March 13, 1921, two wreaths, dedicated to Sarah, were laid by her parents and family and by the Red Cross Detachment Yorks 52.

Sarah E Hornsey is the only woman’s name listed among the many men on the Malton War Memorial.

Unlike the men, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has no record of her.

However, they have one clue about her service, the letters VAD after her name, standing for Voluntary Aid Detachment.

With great foresight, the Voluntary Aid Detachments were formed in 1909 with the aim of providing sufficient medical and nursing services in time of war without the expense of maintaining them in peacetime.

The majority of detachments consisted of a commandant, a medical officer, a quartermaster and 22 women of whom two were trained nurses.

VADs would meet at least once a month and were trained in basic first aid; others would then go on to specialise and receive further training in nursing, cookery or hygiene and sanitation.

Up to the start of the Great War, VADs received no payment for their services and had to pay for their own training, food, sleeping accommodation and uniform, which for a nurse cost £1 19s 2½d.

It was not surprising then that many VADs came from middle and upper-class families who had

plenty of free time on their hands, financial resources and could work for free.

Detachments were initially intended for home service, but in 1915 women over the age of 23 were allowed to serve overseas, mainly in France but some as far away as Mesopotamia and Gallipoli.

VADs could and would turn their hand to almost anything, earning the female contingent the nickname, “very adaptable dames”.

Malton VAD hospital opened on February 26, 1915, at Arncliffe House in York Road.

It was the family home of William Walter Lupton a member of a large family of wool merchants in Leeds.

William died in 1913 and it was his daughter Agnes who offered the house to the Red Cross as a 23-bed hospital and acted as commandant for the duration of the war.

The hospital closed January 8, 1919, having treated 500 patients without any fatalities.

Sarah’s death certificate records that she died at home on May 31, 1918, from cerebro-spinal fever.

Cerebro-spinal fever is an infection of the meningococcus bacillus and is spread hand to mouth by the transfer of saliva by coughing, sneezing, handkerchiefs, the fingers, etc.

It was found during the Great War that many soldiers were unwitting carriers without developing the disease.