Miss Hester Mary GODFREY

Hester Godfrey Certificate

Title: Hester Godfrey Certificate
Description: SHC Ref: 6520/30 by-nc

Hester Mary GODFREY was born 16 October 1866 Moldgreen, Yorkshire. Her parents were George Brown GODFREY, an Engineer (b: abt 1837 Liverpool d: 1911 buried 2 May 1911) and Hester Ann GODFREY Nee Cochrane (b: abt 1846 Ireland  )

She was the eldest of 5 siblings

Joseph James (b: abt 1870 Hungary ), George C. (b: abt 1872 Ireland ),  Alfred Grice (b: 26 August 1873 ), Adeline Eleanor (b: 12.11.1879 Yorkshire  d: 1962, Sussex) and Florence Maud  (b: abt 1882 Yorkshire ) (Ref: Ancestry. com Census )

In 1881 Hester lived with her family in St Anns Villas, Bridlington, Yorkshire. Ten years later the family had moved to Brompton, London and had a cook, parlour maid, housemaid and a maid. From here Hester moved with her parents to West Gables, Cranleigh, Surrey where she stayed for many years. (Ref: Ancestry.com Census )

In 1894 her brother Alfred sent her a letter from Neville’s Masonic Hotel, Dordrecht*, Cape Colony dated 25 November.

‘Thank you very much for your letter, also for the papers which are most acceptable as reading matter is not too plentiful wen (sic) in Dordrecht. We expect to remove to Sterkstroom*  in a day or so and in fact are only awaiting orders to move camp. We intend to live in camp in Sterkstroom  if we can make it convenient as it is so much nicer and less expensive, just now we are only two in camp as some are off for a holiday. I intend to take one soon and get to Queenstown which is only about 2 hours from Sterkstroom  which is their country is like going from South Kensington to Temple and in fact you hear of people going there for afternoon tea.

 Adeline’s birthday was on the 12th and I quite forgot if I wrote to her or not. I am afraid I cannot get hold of that paper for …(unreadable), but will have one other try. It is so annoying because I could have had that paper I saw it in, and nearly sent you the cutting. Yesterday I had a game of tennis with two awfully nice girls and got beaten each time, which makes one feel foolish, with the best player we were 5 games all, and vantage all so I made a good show of it and I played better than I ever have done before, but she was too strong for me. I consider she plays nearly as well as Mrs Hilliayard and would do so with more practice.

 Kind love to all …. included from your loving brother Alfred J Godfrey’ (SHC Ref: 6520/4)

 *(Dordrecht, Cape Colony is in South Africa- Sterkstroom is a settlement in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.)

Hester started working at Oatlands Red Cross Hospital, Cranleigh as Quartermaster on 17 December 1912, during which time she was still living at West Gables Cranleigh. (Ref: British Red Cross web site) As well as her work at the hospital she helped in the organising of concerts and table top sales. (SHC Ref: 6520/65)

For Christmas she was given an autograph book and the patients and staff in the hospital signed it. Some people drew pictures and others wrote poems. (SHC Ref: 6520/1)

In November 1917 she was given a Certificate of Application for War Service Bar dated 5 Nov 1917 stating ‘This is to certify that Miss Hester M. Godfrey Member of V.A.D. No 8 County Surrey has served thirteen months 1st year twelve months second year in Oaklands Red Cross Hospital as Quartermaster and is recommended for the War Service Bar’   Signed head of hospital C.E.H. Rowcliffe Commandant  (SHC Ref: 6520/20)

After two years service as Quarter-Master at Oaklands Red Cross Hospital she was presented with a fountain pen and scent bottle on Christmas Day 1917 signed by 42 colleagues. (SHC Ref: 6520/22)

It appears she was not only good at her job but also well regarded by her colleagues as during her time at the Hospital she was given a card stating:

‘Presented to Miss Godfrey by the members of the Cranleigh Branch of the Red Cross Society as a token of appreciation of the kind help she has always given them’ It was signed by Mrs Rowcliffe and 19 other ladies. It is not known if there was a gift with the card but Hester must have appreciated such a kind thought. (SHC Ref: 6520/23)

She also received thank you letters from patients as the one dated 13 January 1918 from Mr A.J. Osgood shows:

‘Excuse me writing these few lines to you, but I thought I would like to thank you for your kindness to my wife at Xmas time she wrote and told me you went and saw her also I must thank you for the present you gave her’. (SHC Ref: 6520/24)

After the war she was recognised by the Secretary of State for War for ‘ WAR SERVICE IN SURREY HOSPITALS’. The newspaper article states ‘The names of the following have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered in connection with the war in Surrey hospitals:

Miss H. M. Godfrey, Oaklands Auxiliary Hospital, Cranleigh now closed: (SHC Ref: 6520/62)

Hester died: 1953 Cuckfield, Sussex


 The following material can be found at the Surrey History Centre

Programme of Knowle Fete on May 22nd 1918 – SHC Ref: 6520/27/1

Programme Oatlands Hospital Dec 26th 1916 Various songs and sketches  – SHC Ref: 6520/14

Printed postcard about Blandford Camp in rhyme to E. Godfrey.   – SHC Ref: 6520/17

Envelope to Miss H.M. Godfrey with a 2 page letter inside from G Lennie AB.- SHC Ref: 6520/18/2

Coloured greetings Card depicting 7 servicemen Xmas 1915  – SHC Ref: 6520/12

Post Office Telegraph dated 26 Nov 1914 from Lieutenant Barwell – SHC Ref: 6520/9

Postcard addressed to Mrs Godfrey – SHC Ref: 6520/13

Letter  dated  31.10.1915 – SHC Ref: 6520/11/1 and 6520/11/2

Programme of Music, dated  16 July 1912.  – SHC Ref: 6520/7

Card printed invitation to invite Miss Godfrey to a Reception of the British Red Cross Society – SHC Ref: 6520/6

Letter to Miss Godfrey dated 31.10.1915 – SHC Ref: 6520/10

Letter  dated July 2 – SHC Ref: 6520/15

Surrey Red Cross Week programme May 20 – 26thSHC Ref: 6520/26

War Poem  dated Whitsunday 1918  – SHC Ref: 6520/25

Newspaper report about Queen Alexandra at a Garden Party – SHC Ref: 6520/8


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