Susannah Martha Campbell - Nurse
The picture shown on the left was found among a number of WW1 pictures of soldiers and nurses at Ossett Library with the simple inscription "Mrs. Campbell - Nurse." No information has been located to determine where Mrs. Campbell undertook her nursing service during WW1, although it is highly likely. There is also some uncertainty regarding whether what follows is the history of the Mrs. Campbell in the photograph or whether it is another woman of the same name.
What is known is that Mrs. Campbell in the photograph was a resident of Ossett at the time of WW1 and research has only identified one woman of that name living in Ossett. What follows is her story.
Susannah Martha Campbell is the only woman with that name living in Ossett in 1911. Nothing had previously been discovered about her prior to 1911 until 2022.
Susannah Martha Goodwin wasn't born in Ossett; she was born in Salford where she was baptised on June 18th 1884. Her parents Ada Foster and John Goodwin had married in Huddersfield in July 1879. Before her marriage Ada and her mother Jane, who was from Soothill, were both lodgers at a house in Savile Town, Dewsbury. Ada and John's first child who was born in Moldgreen, Huddersfield died in June 1880. This child, Ada Amelia Goodwin, died in Salford before she reached the age of two. This tragedy has helped to confirm that this is Susannah's family.
In 1901, 16 year old Susannah lived with her mother Ada (40) and her two brothers John James (17) and William Lewis (12), who would both go on to serve in WW1. Susannah was employed as a card room hand in a cotton mill in her hometown. Her job would be to align the cotton fibres so they made a strong thread when spun and would have left her covered in cotton fluff. Not a great job by all accounts but one that helped Susannah, along with her eldest brother, to support the family. Susannah's father John, who was a groom and coachman was absent from the family home, which perhaps explains why Ada had taken in a boarder who could also contribute to the household income.
On October 4th 1904, 19 year old Susannah Martha Goodwin married 26 year-old James Campbell who, though born in Leeds, was raised in Soothill. James was the youngest of the two children of Emily Bates of Wakefield and James Campbell of Oldham who had married in Leeds in 1865.
Susannah and James arrived in Ossett sometime before the birth of their son James Edward Campbell who was born here on December 8th 1910. In 1911 Susannah lived at 45, Westfield Street, Ossett with her husband, James Campbell, aged 32, who worked as a rag grinder for a local woollen manufacturer. It appears that by 1913, the Campbell family had moved to Wesley Street, Ossett.
After the outbreak of war the British Red Cross and the Order of St John of Jerusalem combined to form the Joint War Committee, pooled their resources and constituted a Home Hospital Reserve. Women were trained in first aid and home nursing, before volunteering on a part-time basis as members of the local Voluntary Aid Detachment, (VAD). Many of these women chose service in the Military Hospitals and VAD units at home but there were those who chose to enlist for foreign service as a part of the British Expeditionary Force.
A biography of Nurse Norah Ward also appears elsewhere in this section of the website. Her Ossett address was 24, Westfield Street, which is situated almost opposite Susannah Campbell’s home address at 45, Westfield Street. It is quite possible that the two knew one another and perhaps worked in the same hospital?
Unfortunately, service records for nurses in service during WW1 are incomplete, but Mrs Susannah Martha Campbell née Goodwin does not appear in those which are available online. It is, however, quite possible that her records do exist, but have not yet been made available online. However, she was the only Mrs Campbell, of the right age, in Ossett at that time.
Susannah died on January 29th 1939 at Dewsbury & District General Infirmary. She lived in Fearnley Street, West Town, Dewsbury and probate of £256 10s 5d was granted to her son James Edward, born 8th Dec 1910 in Ossett.
My thanks to Anne-Marie Fawcett for the additional research on Nurse Susannah Campbell that has given this biography much additional detail.