Military Monday Episode 3 – A Wartime Romance
By Lynsey Slater, Museums Officer for Military History
During the First World War, many country houses were transformed into hospitals for wounded soldiers. Among them was Hooton Pagnell Hall, in North-West Doncaster. The hospital was overseen by Julia Warde-Aldam, who owned the hall, and was the hospital’s commandant, matron and administrator. The Warde family connection with Hooton Pagnell Hall dates back to the early 1700s.
Among the soldiers who found a home away from home at Hooton Pagnell was Teddie Mulvey, a Canadian soldier. In June 1916, Edward (Teddie) Mulvey was admitted to the hospital to be treated for a crushed back and chest. Teddie kept in touch with his family while at the Hall, and his mother Cecilia Louisa Mulvey wrote a letter to Julia to thank her for caring for her son. She enclosed a photograph of herself and wrote that one day she hoped she could visit England and meet Julia.
‘He has written to me and praised you highly, never telling me how badly wounded he has been, always saying he was not badly hurt…’
Teddie spent 153 days at the Hall, and left in November 1916. When Teddie returned to the front, he stayed in touch with Julia Warde-Aldam, and Julia kept his letters, photographs and postcards.
During the course of the research into Teddie for an exhibition at Cusworth Hall, a marriage record was found for a marriage of an Edward J Mulvey and a Winifred Hayes in Spring 1919. On the 1921 census for Canada, there is a record of Edward J Mulvey and Winifred Mulvey living together, and she is listed as being Irish. There were photographs of a ‘Nurse Winifred’, also referred to as ‘Nurse Hayes’, among the photographs of the hospital, so did this mean there was a patient and nurse romance?
We were able to trace Teddie’s family and they shared more information about Teddie and Winifred’s life. The family shared that Teddie’s family lived in Canada and later in Chicago, and that Teddie had played baseball and football professionally earlier in his life. Teddie and Winifred did indeed meet while he was being treated at the hall. The family know that Ted was buried alive when a trench collapsed, and it’s likely this injury that he was treated for at Hooton Pagnell. When they were married in Spring 1919 they were both residing at addresses in Sheffield, and the couple celebrated their wedding reception at Hooton Pagnell Hall. The couple travelled to Canada shortly after and began a new life together. Winifred struggled with the weather, describing Canada as ‘the last place God made’ in a letter she wrote to her family in Ireland. Teddie and Winifred had a long and happy marriage, having four sons.
One of Winifred’s sons recalled that Winifred’s true love had been killed in France. She said that she married Teddie because, in her words, ‘he was a good man’. Their grandson remembered seeing the bullet wounds and shrapnel scars on Teddie’s chest, a remnant of his war time service. Throughout the course of his service Teddie had been wounded 5 times and awarded the Military Medal.
Teddie died in 1960 aged 73, and Winifred four years later aged 80.
Images and information by kind permission of Mark Warde-Norbury, Stephen Mulvey and Brian Mulvey.