Sunday, 18 June 2017

Miss Kathleen Robertson, a Red Cross hospital in Cheltenham and a hill station in India

I am off looking for the story of Ms Kathleen Robertson.

The Nilgiri Hills
She was a nurse with the Red Cross in Cheltenham during the Great War and her medals have just been acquired by David Harrop who has a collection of memorabilia from both world wars.

David was keen to add theses to the collection because they compliment an autograph book from the St John’s Red Cross Hospital in Cheltenham which was started in 1916 and ran through to the end of the war.

The book contains poems, pictures and comments from men recovering from wounds.  Some of the men were wounded at Gallipoli and others in the opening weeks of the Battle of the Somme.

Now I think I have found her in Cheltenham in 1911, and already the story has taken a fascinating turn.  She was born in 1897 at Coonoor in Madras which  is the second highest hill station in the Nilgiri mountains. It was a popular summer and weekend getaway for the British during the colonial days.

And I suspect that her mother will have chosen to settle there for Kathleen’s birth.
Now that is a bit of a supposition but in 1911 she was living with her grandmother at 29 Park Place Cheltenham.

All of which would suggest that her parents were still in India.

So there is much still to do from tracking her mother and father, discovering  more about Miss Robertson’s time the Red Cross and what happened to her after the Great War.

This will I hope involve the help of the local studies centre in Cheltenham who may be able to locate the staff list of the hospital.  As yet the Red Cross have yet to digitize all their staff records and I am hoping the centre will be able to find her.


And along the way I might find out more about her grandmother who was born in Tasmania.

In the meantime I await David’s pictures of Miss Robertson’s medals.

Picture; Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu  http://www.flickr.com/photos/enchant_me/144986171/sizes/o/ , his file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en, no changes were made to this image

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