Martha Mary Bradley, Red Cross Volunteer
Hurdsfield House Hospital, March 1915 to March 1919
Martha Mary Bradley was baptised on 24th June 1877 at Christ Church, Macclesfield, the second daughter of Sarah and Thomas Bradley, a farmer of Macclesfield. She was also known as Martha May Bradley.
In 1881, three year old Martha was living at Brick Kiln Farm, Henbury, with her parents and older sister Annie (5). Her widowed maternal grandfather, Joseph Batty, was living with the family, as were a domestic servant and two farm servants. Ten years later, Martha was a pupil at a boarding school at Hope Lea, Alexandria Place in Heaton Norris, Stockport.
By 1901, this affluent family had moved to Blakelow House, on Blakelow Road in Macclesfield. Thomas was ‘living on own means’ and his wife Sarah and daughters Annie and Martha were not employed, while the youngest daughter Mary, aged 17, was working as an apprentice Ladies’ Outfitter. Ten years later in 1911, Thomas was described as a ‘retired farmer’ and his wife and unmarried daughters were not employed.
Martha Bradley volunteered for the Red Cross in March 1915 and worked at Hurdsfield House Red Cross Hospital in Macclesfield. Initially, Martha helped in the kitchen but later, after training, she assisted with nursing. She served part-time for an average of 28 hours per week for four years until March 1919 – a total of over 5,800 hours.
During her period of service, Martha was awarded two War Service Stripes, a Blue Stripe, a Proficiency Badge & Bar in Hygiene and Sanitation, a Badge in First Aid and Nursing, and a Merit badge.
On 23rd November 1918 Martha was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ for ‘valuable services rendered in connexion with the War’ (The Times, 25th November 1918).
Like many women of her generation, Martha never married, and she died in 1968 at the age of 90. She is buried in a family grave in Macclesfield Cemetery (Ref. A 632).
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Census (England & Wales): 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
FindMyPast: Diocese of Chester Parish Baptisms (Christ Church, Macclesfield)
The Times: 25th November 1918
WW1 British Red Cross Volunteers Records
Family History Society of Cheshire: Macclesfield Area Monumental Inscriptions CD.