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Susie Marie Colbourn Smith was a Staff Nurse, Service No 2/Reserve 670 in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, daughter of Ellen R. Smith, of 67, Allen Rd., Wolverhampton, and the late John I. Smith. She died 12/2/1916 at the age of 36, and was buried at the Wolverhampton Borough Council Merridale Cemetery, Grave Number 2981.

National Archives holds records at WO 399 for the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, and there are 63 digitised record pages for Susie Smith, including lengthy correspondence dated after her death, concerning queries about her funeral expenses and entitlement to National Insurance payments and sick leave pay. Also in the papers are:

  • the Declaration forming part of her application to join the service, dated 20th August 1914, when her address was the Staff Nurses’ Institution, Stoke on Trent, and a written reference from Thomas ?Withering of Caynham Court Ludlow, dated 23rd August 1914, who said that she was “home nursing for him, in good health and quite fit to do any nursing that she be called upon to perform.”
  • the Form of Application with Date and place of birth, March 1st 1879, Wolverhampton, Father’s Occupation: Master Wheelwright’s Engineer, Whether Parents Living and address: Father dead, 67 Allen Road Wolverhampton, Single, educated at Miss Pearson’s Private School, Health: Good – a medical certificate was required. Her training: three years and six months at the General Hospital, Nottingham, November 1906 to June 1910, when she had left. Her position: Staff Nurse, Sister’s Duties temporarily. Private Nursing had followed, at the Staffordshire Nursing Institution at Stoke on Trent from September 1910 to the present – August 1914. Mrs Beddows of “Beulah Villa”, Wergs Road, Tettenhall would provide a reference. The Application required Names and addresses of the Matron under whom she had been trained : Miss Knight, General Hospital Nottingham, and other Matrons under whom she had served: Miss Wolseley Lewis, Staffordshire Nursing Institution Stoke on Trent.
  • the Report by A B Cameron a/c Matron on Staff re Nurse Susie MC Smith, which is quite detailed. Summarising, she had joined at the Military Hospital on 16th November 1914, and her health had evidently caused concern. Annoyed about seeing the Medical Officer, when she did see him she was diagnosed as diabetic, and put on the sick list on July 15th 1915. Her great anxiety had been to return home and she had been considered quite fit to travel, and was seen off at the station.. The Report stated that she should have received a Railway Warrant for her journey and “I don’t know how this omission occurred.


The birth of Susie Marie C Smith was registered at Wolverhampton in the second quarter of 1879. The 1881 Census records Susie M B Smith age 2 living with her parents John J Smith and Ellen P Smith and her 3 year old brother John H S Smith age 3 living at 14 Dunstall Street with Harriet A Huband domestic servant. By 1891 Susie age 11 was a scholar, and living at St James Square Wolverhampton with her parents, her brothers John F. and George, age 13 and 8, her sister Nellie age 7 and their Domestic General Servant Annie E. Dukes age 16 . The Smith family is recorded on the 1901 Census living at 11 Union Street, and includes daughter Jessie M Smith a domestic. In 1911 the Census shows Susie Marie Smith living at Hartshill Road, Stoke on Trent, relationship to Ellen Frances Mary, Widow, of private means, head of household, Servant, Occupation Trained Nurse. The household included 4 more servants.