Ellen Clayton

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In 1918 a young woman left her home in Peak Forest, Derbyshire, to work as a nurse in France. The First World War was drawing to a close and one can only guess at Ellen Clayton’s reasons for leaving home, against the wishes of her family.

While in France, Ellen (born 1895) carried an empty album with her, in which she asked British Tommies in the town of Audricq near Calais to pen a poem or a message or a little sketch. Their messages to the future reader reflect their situation; they had survived the war and were returning home, but at what cost?

On her return home, Ellen married (and her husband later became Mayor of Glossop) and the album was forgotten about. Till my friend Janet turned up at the office one day carrying her Grandmother’s album, and I thought this stuff deserved to see the light of day again

16 comments on “Ellen Clayton
  1. Neal. says:

    My Gran was a nurse to the troops in Ayr where she met my Grandad, he saw her on a station platform and fell in love at first sight.

  2. andyholmfirth says:

    Striking portrait.

  3. ​favourite waste of time​ says:

    my but you have done a great job snapping these — what a great portrait of her – has been kept well this old photo.

  4. pasujoba says:

    Surely the Boulonge Belle.

  5. Ian D B says:


    Bet you’re right!

  6. het broertje van.. says:

    ……………….this is beautiful man!!!

  7. Billy Currie says:

    Superb story and what a picture, I really love old pictures.

  8. sidewinder54 (Closed For Business) says:

    Wonderful period portrait Ian, superb transfer to digital.

  9. *Psycho Delia* says:

    What a lovely set of photos and memories you’ve shared with us.

  10. Anonymous says:

    its amazing how ancient/old photography looks more rich

  11. Anonymous says:

    its amazing how ancient/old photography looks more rich

  12. ΞLLΞ∩ says:

    Oh, she is such a Beauty ( I also like her name 😉 and the story gets me goosebumps .. so good there are these memories … (yes, of bad times …)
    Re: Thank you! 🙂

  13. Ian D B says:

    Thanks Ellen. Nice to see you Flickring again!

    Yes bad times and until women rule the world, I can’t see much changing.

  14. darkeyedgazelle says:

    What a lovely face! Old photographs make me feel less isolated and stuck in the 21st century – makes me think on things past and future… It’s good to get out of our own skin. This is such a lovely series, Ian. So glad you’ve shared with us. (Sometimes it only takes a good woman, behind a great man to promote change for the better. We all balance each other out…)

  15. queencashmere says:

    what a great idea from you to honour this lady in this way!!!

  16. cgullz says:

    very beautiful woman, in her looks but also in her heart. what a forward thinking and grand idea. fantastic tale, a great legacy.

    Thankyou for sharing

    with the War Stories Group

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