Gaskell, Lily

Lily Gaskell, Staff Nurse, Territorial Force Nursing Service
Died of pneumonia 3 January 1919 at Dulcie Avenue Military Hospital, Manchester, aged 35



Lily Gaskell was born in Macclesfield on 16 August and baptised at Sunderland Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on 10 September 1883, the daughter of Margaret and Samuel Gaskell, a pork butcher of 79 Mill St, Macclesfield. Lily’s twin brother Frank died on 12 April 1884 and her mother died on 10 January 1888.

In 1891, seven-year-old Lily was living at 79 Mill Street with her paternal grandparents, widowed father and siblings Elizabeth (16), Maggie (14), Arthur (12), and Nellie (6). By 1901, the family was still at 79 Mill Street and Lily’s father had married again; he and his new wife Elizabeth had three children: Sam (7), Philip (5), and Cora (1). Ten years later Lily was still living at home with the rest of the family, with no occupation.

Lily’s stepmother Elizabeth died on 27 August 1912 and her father Samuel died on Christmas Day, 1913. Both are buried in the family grave.



It is not known whether Lily had any previous nursing experience, but her Territorial Force Nursing Service records show that she joined the TFNS on 12 May 1916 and, after training, served as a Staff Nurse at the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester. The Register of Nurses, 1916-1919 shows that she trained at Manchester Royal Infirmary and lived at 27 Cawdor Road, Fallowfield with her sister Maggie.

From the Rusholme and Victoria Park Archive (Military Hospitals) website:

When WW1 started in 1914 the 2nd Western General Hospital was established in Manchester where its HQ was Central High School for Boys, Whitworth Street… Initially 520 beds were provided at this site but during the duration of the war a total of 25,000 beds came under the one command. This huge number of hospital beds were scattered throughout Manchester and surrounding towns, becoming the largest military hospital in the UK…

In the area immediately around Rusholme, the government requisitioned Ducie Avenue School on the north side of Whitworth Park, the Elizabeth Gaskell School of Domestic Economy on High Street, (Hathersage Rd) and the Moseley Road school in Fallowfield. Nearby over 1200 beds were under canvas in the grounds of The Firs, the mansion built by Sir Joseph Whitworth off of Oak Drive, Fallowfield. Fairview, another large house on Wilbraham Road in Fallowfield was acquired by the Red Cross and used as a hospital with initially 20 beds although eventually 36 beds were provided.

This website includes several photographs of buildings, staff and patients at Dulcie Avenue hospital.

It seems likely that both Lily and her sister Maggie served in these hospitals in the Rusholme area, and Lily died of pneumonia on 3 January 1919 in the hospital in Dulcie Avenue School. Her next of kin was her older sister Maggie, of 27 Cawdor Rd, Fallowfield, Manchester, a former nurse who had been invalided out of the service in June 1917.

The TFNS Matron in Chief wrote in a letter to Maggie:

A record will be kept at the war office of the cheerful, willing service Staff Nurse Gaskell has rendered to her country while on Active Service at home, and it is with the deepest regret that the report of her death is received.

Lily’s death was announced in the Macclesfield Advertiser on 10 January 1919:

GASKELL – on Jan 6 (sic), at Ducie Avenue Military Hospital, Manchester, Lily Gaskell, aged 35.



Lily Gaskell is buried in family grave ref M. 9722 at Macclesfield Cemetery. The gravestone is inscribed:


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Staff Nurse Lily Gaskell, and she is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.



Sister of Maggie Gaskell, who also served with the Territorial Force Nursing Service at the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester, was invalided out of the service on 30 June 1917, died at 27 Cawdor Rd, Fallowfield, Manchester on 6 July 1919 and is buried in the same family grave in Macclesfield cemetery.


GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Deaths
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
Cheshire Non-conformist & Roman Catholic Registers (Find My Past): Baptisms
UK & Ireland Nursing Registers, 1898-1968 (Ancestry)
The National Archives, Territorial Force Nursing Service records, Ref WO 399/11432

Rusholme and Victoria Park Archive (Military Hospitals)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Advertiser:
10 January 1919

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