Sarah Ann Wiggin, Red Cross (Joint War Committee) Nurse
Died of pneumonia 2 November 1918 at Moor Park Military Hospital, Preston, aged 30
Sarah Ann Wiggin was born in Brindley Ford, Staffordshire, in 1888, the daughter of Lucy Emma and Joseph Wiggin, a roller in the nearby ironworks. Sarah’s mother died in March 1889. In 1891, Sarah was living at Brindley Ford with her widowed father and siblings Hannah (20), Richard (13), Mary (11), Christiannah (9), Joseph (7) and Isabella (5). Hannah seems to have taken on the role of mother to the younger children.
By 1901, thirteen-year-old Sarah was a domestic servant in the household of Jabez Hancock, a baker who lived at 17 King Street, Tunstall, and ten years later she was employed as a domestic servant by Nathan Birkbeck Storey and his wife Harriet Jane, of 54 West Bond Street, Macclesfield. Nathan Storey gave his occupation as “Town Missionary for the Manchester City Mission” and his wife was described as “Deaconess for the Manchester City Mission”. It seems likely that Sarah worshipped at the Mission, on Mill Street, Macclesfield, with the Storeys.
No records of Sarah’s service during the Great War can be found, but the letter accompanying a photograph of Sarah in uniform (left), sent to the Imperial War Museum by her sister Hannah, confirms that she served as a nursing sister with the Red Cross (Joint War Committee) and died of pneumonia contracted on duty at Moor Park Military Hospital, Preston on 2 November 1918 at the age of 30.
From the Preston Remembers website:
The Moor Park Military Hospital was a temporary hospital at the north east end of Moor Park which opened in January 1915. It was created from a wooden pavilion used by the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Society for their annual shows. The hospital was originally suitable for 35 patients, but further buildings and wards were added so that by 1918 it catered for 270 patients. The hospital also used a house at 1 Moor Park Avenue.
The hospital was run by the Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.), a nursing unit founded by the Red Cross and the Order of St John. The matron was Mrs Howard and the management committee was chaired by Lady Hollins. It closed in March 1919 and during its lifetime was staffed by over 300 volunteer nurses.
No records of the hospital survive; however, recently the Europeana project documented a fascinating autograph album which belonged to a nurse at Moor Park Hospital called Amy Tomlinson. The Preston Digital Archive also has a large number of pictures of the hospital.
Sarah Wiggin is believed to be buried in the family grave at St James’ Church, Newchapel, Staffordshire, not far from the family home in Brindley Ford. The gravestone is inscribed:
… ALSO SARAH ANN, THEIR DAUGHTER
WHO DIED AT THE MILITARY HOME HOSPITAL,
MOOR PARK, PRESTON, NOV 2ND 1918
AGED 30 YEARS
SHE GAVE HER LIFE FOR OTHERS…
In Macclesfield, Sarah Wiggin is commemorated on the Mill Street Mission war memorial.
Elsewhere, she is named on the Brindley Ford war memorial, and she is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Deaths
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
Lives of the First World War website
Preston Remembers website
Imperial War Museum online collections
Billion Graves website