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A bogus nurse 2 years 2 months ago #77507

  • BereniceUK
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At first glance Ruth Elizabeth Bagley (née Taylor) was a fantasist - there were no survivors of the sinking of the Titanic with the surname Taylor - but it's possible that she served in South Africa. There was 191 Sister Elizabeth Taylor, of Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service (Reserve).


....A strange story was related at the London Sessions, yesterday, concerning an attractive woman named Ruth Taylor, aged 37. described as a nurse, who stood in the dock in her professional dress, weeping silently. She pleaded guilty to a charge of obtaining credit to the amount of £23 15s. by false pretences, at the Washington Hotel. Paddington.
....Accused, it was stated, arrived at the hotel on the 16th of September in her uniform, on which were sewn two South African medals, with clasps for a number of engagements during the war. After 35 days' residence at the hotel she was arrested for fraud at Aldershot, and sentenced to a month's imprisonment.
....Evidence having been called to prove that the medals the accused wore were not issued by the War Office to women, Detective-Sergeant Parsons said that during the accused's stay at the hotel telephone messages were received for her purporting to come from the War Office, and requesting her attendance at Aldershot. A bugler in the Yorkshire Light Infantry also came to the hotel and was introduced by the accused as her orderly, who, she said, had come from the War Office with her instructions. These were directed to "Sister Taylor, M.D." Later the bugler explained that he met the woman at Aldershot and used to walk out with her, but he had "broken it off." She afterwards wrote to him to renew the acquaintance, stating that she had come into money and they could now settle down together comfortably. She added that she would buy his discharge. When he called at the hotel she impressed on him that he was not to appear friendly with her. The officer added that the accused was really a maternity nurse, and when unable to obtain employment as such she had taken domestic situations with success.
....Mr. Wallace. K.C., sentenced her to three months imprisonment, to run concurrently with the sentence of one month, which she was at present serving.
Manchester Courier, Saturday 20th November 1909

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, of 19.11.1909, had reported that "She had previously been cook-chamberlain at an Aldershot hotel."

....Death of War Heroine.—The funeral took place at Brownhills, on Thursday week, of Mrs. [Ruth] Elizabeth Bagley, an Army nurse, who served throughout the South African War and the earlier stages of the present war. By sheer perseverance Mrs. Bagley, who died at the age of 47, gained her M.D. degree. Attached to the Northumberland Fusiliers, she served in the South African War, and was honoured with the King's and Queen's medals, the latter with five bars—Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, and Transvaal. Her other medal bore two bars—one South Africa, 1901, and the other South Africa, 1902. It was during one of the Boer War engagements that Mrs. Bagley was struck by a bullet, which entered her side and inflicted a painful wound. Operations were necessary and pieces of bone were removed, but the injury gave trouble for the remainder of her life, and her death in a Birmingham Hospital, where she had been an inmate for nine weeks, was consequent upon a complaint arising from the wound. When war broke out. Sister Taylor, as she was then, was about to retire from the service, but sent straight to France, and at Mons she was tending the wounded in a hospital which the Germans heavily shelled. For the second time she was wounded, on this occasion in the foot and both arms, and towards the end of 1914 she was invalided home and granted her discharge. Her devoted services were recognised by the award of a special silver medal, accompanied by a personal note written by the late Lord Kitchener :—"Presented to Sister Taylor, M.D. With every success, hoping you live many years to wear it. Lord Kitchener." This message and medal arrived on the day previous to her marriage, on Jan. 3rd, 1915, to Mr. Amos Bagley, a widower with six children with whom she made a home at High Street, Brownhills. Mrs. Bagley was one of the survivors of the ill-fated Titanic, and she had also intended returning from Canada on the Empress of Ireland, but happily just missed the boat. The funeral took place with military honours, the Curate-in-charge (Rev. W. H. Scott) officiating. There was a large attendance at the Ogley Hay Cemetery, where the interment took place. A party of South Staffords from Lichfield was present, and twelve of them carried the coffin on their shoulders. When the coffin had been lowered the "Last Post" was sounded.
Lichfield Mercury, Friday 19th January 1917
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