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Staff Sister Bertha Mary Cooksley

Staff Sister Bertha Mary Cooksley

The very detailed logbook kept by the headteacher of the Higher Grade School in Newhampton Road noted that he had read in the Express & Star newspaper of the decoration of one of the school’s former female pupils, a Bertha Mary Cooksley. This enabled me to find the article, and to delve a bit deeper into the background of this woman.

Bertha Mary Cooksley was born in Taunton in 1885 and, according to the article, she was the daughter of Mr A. Cooksley. At some point the family clearly moved to Wolverhampton, as they were living at 156 Lea Road during the War and Bertha had attended the Higher Grade School.

After leaving school, she started her nursing training at the Queen’s Hospital in Birmingham in 1910, and, soon after the start of the War, she became a staff sister on the 1st Southern General Hospital in Dudley Road, Birmingham. The article in the Express & Star, dated 5 June 1916, tells of ten nurses at Birmingham hospitals who were awarded “the decoration of the Royal Red Cross in recognition of their services in connection with the war.” Bertha was one of these nurses.

Bertha married a George C. Corbett in Wolverhampton in 1919, and the couple had one child, Catherine, born in Birmingham in 1921. So far I have been unable to confirm the details of Bertha’s death.

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