1917 WWI Soldier Autograph Book to Nurse Ongley, Nethercourt Hosp Kent

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#AD050 Genealogy & Nethercourt Ramsgate History

This is a wonderful and historical 100 year old Edwardian era autograph book from World War WWI. It is signed by many WWI soldiers that VAD Nurse A. Ongley took care of at the Nethercourt VAD Hospital in Ramsgate, Kent, England. Ramsgate is in Thanet, East Kent, England and was heavily bombed in the first World War. It appears Nurse Ongley had wounded soldiers sign her autograph book as they left the hospital in their journeys.

The Voluntary Aid Detachment or V.A.D. was unit of civilians providing volunteer nursing care for military personnel in the UK. It was an independent unit who operated during World War I and in World War II. Most of the nurses were local to the areas of the VAD hospitals, although VAD nurses also worked in battlefields and field hospital settings. These hospitals were preferred by the wounded, as they were more like home. There were more than 3,000 of these Red Cross auxiliary hospitals with local women volunteers in WWI. Eventually it offered women new opportunities to train in the medical professions and as doctors because of severe understaffing at all hospitals during the war.

Nethercourt in Ramsgate was an auxiliary hospital during WWI. It appears to have been the early and large Kent estate in the 18th century of the Garrett family. It was taken down in 1957. See this wonderful website for more info and a picture of Nethercourt.

It is assumed the well loved Nurse Ongley was a local, and we believe we have found her. There are 2 bromley family entries in the book, as well as a entry signed "May", which we feel may be her daughter. The front the of the book is signed A. Ongley, thus we feel this nurse was Annie Ongley of Kent. She can be found in the England census as Annie Ongley, born circa 1870, along with Bromley family, and a daughter named May.

Found in Public Genealogy Records:
Ann Bromley Constable Ongley 1867–1927 born in Capel le Ferne, Kent and died in Thanet district, Kent, England. Her first husband was John Claringbould Constable 1863–1895 and her children were Albert James Constable 1889–1916, Charles James Constable born 1893, Jessie Constable Ongley 1895–1940 and May Ongley born 1902. Her second husband was Arthur Fisher Ongley 1874–1915 and May Ongley was a daughter by him.

Annie Ongley in the England and Wales Census, 1901
Event Place Folkestone, Kent, England
Ecclesiastical Parish St Peter
Registration District Elham
Residence Note East Cliff
Age 31
Occupation None
Relationship to Head of Household Wife
Birth Year (Estimated) 1870
Birthplace Capel, Kent
Household, Age, Birthplace:
Arthur Ongley Head M 27 Wateringbury, Kent
Annie Ongley Wife F 31 Capel, Kent
Albert Constable Step Son M 11 Capel, Kent
Charles Constable Step Son M 8 Capel, Kent
Jessie Constable Step Daughter F 6 Capel, Kent
Susannah Bromley Mother-In-Law F 68 Hougham, Kent
Austin Bromley Brother-In-Law M 46 Capel, Kent
Walter Bromley Brother-In-Law M 25 Capel, Kent

Annie Ongley England and Wales Census, 1911
Event Place St Lawrence Intra, Ramsgate, Kent, England
Registration District Thanet
Age 38
Marital Status (Original) MARRIED
Birth Year (Estimated) 1873
Birthplace Capel Folkstone, Kent
Relationship to Head of Household Wife
Household, Age, Birthplace:
Arthur Ongley Head M 37 Wateringbury, Kent
Annie Ongley Wife F 38 Capel Folkstone, Kent
Charles Ongley Constable Stepson M 17 Capel Folkstone, Kent
Jessie Ongley Constable Stepdaughter F 15 Capel Folkstone, Kent
May Ongley Daughter F 9 Capel Folkstone, Kent

May Ongley in England and Wales Census, 1911
Event Place St Lawrence Intra, Ramsgate, Kent, England
Registration District Thanet
Age 9
Birth Year (Estimated) 1902
Birthplace Capel Folkstone, Kent
Relationship to Head of Household Daughter
Household, Age, Birthplace:
Arthur Ongley Head M 37 Wateringbury, Kent
Annie Ongley Wife F 38 Capel Folkstone, Kent
Charles Ongley Constable Stepson M 17 Capel Folkstone, Kent
Jessie Ongley Constable Stepdaughter F 15 Capel Folkstone, Kent
May Ongley Daughter F 9 Capel Folkstone, Kent

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar Index of Wills 1858-1966
Annie Ongley
Death: Ramsgate, Kent, England 11 Oct 1927
Civil: 26 Nov 1927 London, England

Pages, Each Described, some are bound into the book and some are loose, as noted:

1. Inside front cover "A. Ongley" Handwriten in old fountain pen script.

1. Handwritten: "PLEASE DO NOT LOOK IN THIS ENVELOPE" glued to a small blue envelope. Signed in blurred fountain pen black ink, we believe to read "John E. Mason, 2/9th London Regt QVR 58th Division. Inside the envelope is a beautiful old military themed 2 page sepia printed note card that has printed "Yours Always" with a cannon on reverse. This page is loose, no longer bound.

2. A large hand painted pink, green and red flower painting with light and fine pencil handwritten signature of the soldier artist: "Sincere Good Wishes to Nurse Ongley, Cpl. W. Waterson, Loyal N. Lancs, Nethercourt, 22/6/17" This referes to the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) infantry regiment in existence from 1881-1970. This page is bound.

3. Handwritten in fine old period pencil: "June 23, 1917, What, write in a book, where ladies look and critics spy, not I, Goodbye, I'm Shy. With all that's kind to Nurse Ongley. Pte Penfold, Nethercount VAD Hospital." This page is bound.

4. Handwritten in old black fountain pen ink: "Love is like an onion, you taste it with delite, and when your bit you wonder, what ever made you bite" signed. "B. Bromley." We feel this is a family member of Nurse Ongley, possibly a sibling? This page is bound.

5. A red one penny George V stamp, with words "By Gone, It's Stuck" to the left of it (there may be another identical stamp stuck underneath, it appears that way) Handwritten again in the same hand is "With all good wishes and many thanks to Nurse Ongley, Pte. H. Hill, 19th Can, 26/6/17." (Thought to be the 19th CANADA INF, 1st Central Ontario Regt) This page is bound.

6. Armorial military crest of arms hand painted flag, see photos. Handwritten in old fountain pen is "With Best Wishes to Nurse Ongley" and below is handwritten is, we believe, "TM Kerighan, 15 Batt, The Royal Scots." Note: this is difficult to read, may read "TM Kenighan, 12 Batt." See our close up Scan. This page is bound.

7. Handwritten in fine pencil script: "As through this world he travelled, and calling at many a port, Have not found one yet parallel, the one at Nethercourt. best Wishes, Thanks to Nurse Ongley, Corp. H. Manon." (may be H. Marron) The reverse is blank. This page is bound.

8. "2/7/17 With best Wishes and hearty greetings to Nurse Ongley for her kindness to me during my stay at Nethercourt. B. Heannie, R.D.F." is handwritten in fine old period pencil. This refers the RDF: Royal Dublin Fusiliers. This page is bound.

9. "A Wayward Thought as regards Air Raids: Though all we know depart, The old commandment stands, In courage keep your heart, In strength lift up your hand. -Rudyard Kipling. Signed "May", Nov. 15, 1917" handwritten in old black fountain pen. This page is bound. May be signed by her teenage daughter in census, May Ongley.

10. Line drawing, hand executed of a horse's hoof or lucky horsehoe and "Good Luck to Nurse Longley, Driver J. Barr, A battery, 86 Brigade (crossed off) 12603, R.F.A." all handwritten and drawn in old period pencil. The RFA is known to be the Royal Field Artillery and he would have been a driver. This page is bound.

11. "With best wishes to Nurse Ongley for her great help towards me during my stay at Nethercourt. Pt. A.J. Walker, 22825, 11th SWB, 7/10/17" is handwritten in old black fountain pen ink. SWB refers to the the South Wales Borderers. This page is bound.

12. "With best wishes to Nethercourt V.A.D. and Nurse Ongley, J. Lewis, 13 Cheshire" is handwritten in old fine pencil. VAD refers to Voluntary Aid Detachment, civilian volunteers unit providing nursing care during World War I and World War II. This page is bound.

13. "With best wishes from 23724 Pte. W. Main, 152 Machine Gun Corp, wounded at Ypres Note: Ypres, France is a Belgian city in the province of West Flanders. Ieper is the official name, but the English call it Ypres. The Battle of Ypres was a series of 5 engagements during the First World War between the German and the Allied armies of Belgian, France, the British Expeditionary Force and the Canadian Expeditionary Force. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties. This page is bound.

14. Artwork in old fountain pen ink for "Egypt, The Essex Regt." The artist signed in upper left is Jaffey, 11th Regmt, and 2 illegible words with the last word possible saying "Royal." This page is bound.

15. Handwritten in old period pencil: "Think of me when far away, Think of me when near, And I will always think of thee, with best wishes from L/O J. Faulkner, 200146, 1/4 South Lancashire Regt."

16. Handwritten in fountain pen ink: "Look always on the sunny side, and you'll never see the moon, and if you always get too late, you'll never get too soon. B. Bromley" We belieb this is signed by Nurse Ongley's family member.

17. Handwritten in old period pencil: "Ah! Woman, in they hour of ease, Uncertain, Coy and Hard to Please, When tears and sorrow wring the brow, A ministering angel art thou. A token of gratitude and esteem from a patient who has benefitted by your many actos of kindness. Fred W. Rae, Sgt., 2nd Gordon Highlanders, 7th Division, B.E.F." Note: BEF refers to the British Expeditionary Force sent to the Western Front during the First World War. This entry was taken from an 1808 poem by Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet 1771-1832, Scottish poet, historical novelist, playwright, esteemed historian:
“O, Woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou!”
―Sir Walter Scott

18. A pencil drawing of the official badge of the Loyal North Lancashire. Underneath is handwritten in all caps in old pencil: "With best luck from Pte, H, Myerscough to Nurse Ongley." This page is bound.

19. Boldly handwritten in large fountain pen ink: "It is easy enough to be pleasant when life goes along with a song, but the man worth while, is the one who will smile, when everything goes dead wrong, signed A.B" This page is bound.

20. Handwritten in old period pencil: "With best wishes from L. Cpl. C.S. Cole. 13 Glosters Pioneers" Note: The 13th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment was a pioneer battalion made up from the men of the Forest of Dean. This page is bound.

21. Handwritten in old period pencil: "We are but little soldiers weak, We only get five francs a week, the more we do, the more we may, it makes no difference to our pay.-With all best wishes and best of luck to "Nethercourt" and Nurse Ongley. A.S. Pearce Corporal, Nethercourt, 27/7/17. (he also drew and signed next page) This page is bound.

22. Hand drawn in old period pencil: Armorial crest of the "Springers" and badge of the Wiltshire Regiment. Signed "A.S. Pearce Corporal, 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, 27th July, 1917." Note: also see preceding page. This page is bound.

23. Handwritten in old fountain pen: "Womans faults are many, Mens are but two, Every thing they say, and Every thing they do...JCP, March 18, 1918." This page is bound.

24. Scrawled boldly in pencil "Best Wishes to Nurse Ongley thanking them all at Nether Court for these services they have rendered. Bomber J. Sweeny (or Sweeney) 11th Royal Field (we believe this is correct) Wounded on 10 Aug at Westhoek Ridge 20/8/17" NOTE: The Capture of Westhoek in August of 1917 took place on the near Ypres in Belgium, during the Third Battle of Ypres WWI. This page is bound.

25. Handwritten in old period pencil: "Pal O' Mine: Ginger. wasn't much to look at, 'e was dirty-valgar-low, but I'm bettin' 'esa, fav' rite. we're game-dyin' soldiers go, 'e'd never 'as no schoolin, and 'el sell his shirt for wine, but I loved him as a brother-lion hearted pal o' mine. B.J. Sweeney." This page is bound.

26. Handwritten in old period pencil: "Private George Weaver, 2 Essex Regt, with best wishes to Nurse Ongley from Stumpy. When others you are thinking of, while the sun is sinking down, I wonder if you will then, sometimes remember me."

27. Handwritten in old period pencil: "A wise old owle sat in an old oak, the more he saw, the less he spoke, the less he spoke, the more he heard, why can't we be like that old bird. Pte. W. Wheeler, 6th Royal Berks Regt., Nethercourt V.A.D, August 2nd, 1917, With best wishes to Nurse Ongley" This page is bound.

28. Handwritten in old period pencil: "Mary had a little lamb, and it was a good "un", It never used to stray away, for it was a wood "un". With all best wishes to Nurse Ongley, Nethercourt V.A.D., Pte. E. Greenwood, 2nd Wilt Regt, 2/9/17. This page is bound.

29. Handwritten in old period pencil: "With all the Scotchies there is in this world, McMillan is the world's reknown. With all the fishes in the sea, McMilan says the Herring is the fish for me." Pte H. McMillan, 13 Platton, Stumpy 13/5/17, D Coy, wounded May 13, Arrus, before you come up.

Note: Arras was located in Nord-Pas-de-Calais during WWI in Northern France at the confluence of the Scarpe river and the Crinchon River. The Battle of Arras was a WWI British Western Front offensive battle fought April-May 1917, whereby the British attacked German defences. Also see page below. This page is bound.

30. Handwritten in old period pencil: "Best wishes for Nurse Ongley and Nethercourt from 361397 Pte. H. McMilland 1/8 A D 8 H, and D. Coy 13 Platoon B 6 7, wounded Arras May 13, 1917." Also see page above. This page is bound.

31. Handwritten in old dark period pencil: "The Truth if told with good intent, Beats all the lies you could invent. Sgt. F. Rowlinson." This page is bound.

32. Handwritten in old period pencil: "3/9/17 Best Wishes to Nurse Ongley and Nether Court from Rfm (Rifleman) A.W. Fowler, 36548, 17th Kings Royal Rifles, 39 Division, wounded Aug 4, 1917." This page is bound.

33. Handwritten in old period pencil: "With kindred regards & remembrances to "Nurse Ongley", Nethercourt for her great kindness & civility whilst there. Gunner J.E. Edwards, R.F.A. (Royal Field Artillery), The Great War, 1914-Wounded at Ypres Sepember 1917, Au Revoir." This page is bound.

34. A beautiful black pen and ink line drawing of the badge for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, showing a deer in center around a wreath. It has a small signature which appears to read "H.A. Byson, 15/9/17." This page is bound.

35. Handwritten in old period pencil: "With all good wishes and kind regards to Nurse Ongley for her kindness during my stay at "Nethercourt", also to all the sisters and nurses in the "C" Ward, Pte. H. Nicholson, 11th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. Note: The Cheshire Regiment was an infantry regiment of the Prince of Wales' Division.

36. Hand drawn in old period pencil: The badge of "The Queens" with ram and flag. Handwriting says "The Queens, late Kings Royal Rifles. With Best wishes to Nurse Ongley for her kindness while at Nethercourt. Pte. J.S. Hilsbury 5/10/17. Note: The Queen's Royal Regiment of West Surrey spent the entire war on the Western Front.

37. Handwritten in old fountain pen: "May she to whom this book belongs, have troubles few if any. The hours of gloom, may they flew, and sunny days be many. With kind regards to Nurse Ongley. H. Phillips, 1/6 Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 5/10/17." This page is bound.

38. Very light in tone, barely visible hand drawn scene of 3 soldiers seen on page almost as a light shadow. Possible traced. This page is bound.

39. Handwritten in old period pencil: "With best wishes and kind regards to Nurse Ongley, Pte H. Garfield, 3rd Battalion, Worcester Regt. Nethercourt, 6/10/17." This page is loose, no longer bound.

40. This page is loose, no longer bound. Handwritten in old period pencil from poet William Wordsworth 1770–1850: "But all things else about her drawn From May-time and the cheerful Dawn; A dancing Shape, an Image gay, To haunt, to startle, and waylay. With best wishes to Nurse Ongley and Nethercourt.

41. Handwritten in old period pencil: "To Nurse Ongley with best wishes and kind regards, thanking you and all the staff for the kindness during my stay in "Nethercourt" but the best of friends must part. Signaller John N. Christie, 31st battalion, R.F.A." (Royal Field Artillery) This page is bound.

42. Hand drawn in old period pencil: 2 crossed Vickers machine guns underneath a kings crown or royal crown, which is the official the badge for the Machine Gun Corps. Handwritten is "With kind regards of Nurse Ongley, Nethercourt 5/10/17. M.G. (machine Gunner) W. Ball, wounded at Ypres 8/8/17." This page is bound.

43. Handwritten in old fountain pen ink: "By hook or by crook, I will be last in the book. With best wishes for Nurse Ongley for her kind attention and care while at Nethercourt from 591368 Stapley. 1st battalion, London Irish Rifles, 25/6/17" This page is bound.

This old original and rare red paper autograph book is bound with white string to hold pages, gold gilt paper edges and 2 red or marroon covers. 3 of the pages are loose and no longer bound. It was found in Exeter, Devon, England and is a beautiful and rare piece of antique paper, and one of a kind. Click images to see condition in very close up and movable views. Click again to see full images on your screen to scroll through. A wonderful Ongley genealogy piece, as well as a great record for each of these wounded soldiers who made it back to England. We see this surname also spelled as Onghley in genealogy records.

Incidently, this old piece came in an old 1920's era red gift box, as found. It will be included in it's original box, where we believe it has been stored for the ages. Any help or correction on this info is greatly appreciated, email Debra here. A wonderful antique medical collectible piece as well.

Size: 5.25 inches square, 1/2 inch thick, see photos
debra clifford antiques     Welcome! We have a 100% approval policy. Also visit Debra's other 2 sites: Ancestorville, with thousands of early signed vintage lost family photos of the 19th century for genealogy, and Vintage Poster Works, a vintage antique advertising site. email Debra with any questions here. We proudly use recycled packaging when we can.

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