Hannah Ross, mother of Percy and daughter of Elizabeth Bird
The quite remarkable lady who sent her son to war and nursed the dying in South Africa.
I believe Hannah Ross lived at 69 St Helens Road, Tudor House, Hastings TN34 2JJ from at least the 1890's until the late 1930's. The 1896 Pikes Directory of Hastings lists Ross as the householder.
Hannah Ross donated to the Hastings Museum which had opened in 1892. A great many contents of the museum are gifts or loans from Mrs Ross of Tudor House and similar public spirited ladies and gentlemen.
13th January 1900
Collected by Mrs Ross of St Helens Road in aid of the Fund for the Wives and Families of the local reservists who have rejoined the colours include Mrs E.M.Ross £3 and Mrs H.Ross £1.
3rd February 1900
The Fund has this week received a fillip from several sources and we have another canine friend in Mrs Rosses pug, Pasha, which has collected £1 1s 3d.
24th February 1900 - see left
1st December 1900 - Mrs Ross returns to Hastings - I believe this to be Hannah Ross, mother of Percy Ross. The article (left) goes on to say that she was very reluctant to give an interview about her "visit to the seat of war and her work amongst the wounded". She said "Oh ! I have really nothing to say except they were all very grateful for anything I did for them and I was sorry to leave." Mrs Ross has earned the title "Lady Energetic" from her intimate friends and was showing her characteristic modesty when she claimed, "I only did what thousands of mothers would have done if they had the privalage and opportunity."
During her visit to South Africa she saw the principal battlefields and spent some time visiting Howick and the large hospitals at Pietermaritzburg. "The more you did for the poor fellows the more you felt you wanted to do." They were under canvas at Howick though she wasn't there long, "only till I got my permit to go to Ladysmith." She went to Ladysmith Hospital and "there I was able to give a good many comforts to the poor fellows." There was obviously a lack of water as she said "it was locked up and given out a pint at a time." She visited the Nazereth Home (presumably for injured soldiers) and found "the Tommies very grateful for everything done for them and I used to think it was so little after all. We took papers and games to them and they were delighted, especially with the games. They would play with boxes of draughts and dominoes like a lot of children."
Mrs Ross was received everywhere with the utmost hospitality and speaks highly of the kindness of the Colonials. With regard to the hospitals she pointed out the natural difficulties of the country, the impossibility in many instances of wagons and carts traversing the mountains and kopjes and the fact the authorities were at first not prepared for so many wounded. "They were lucky who could get down to the hospital ships. There they had every luxury one could think of." Spion Kop was the extreme point of her travels. She brought back many trophies and pieces of shell from the battlefields.
The article ends by saying how sorry they are that although Mrs Ross appears in excellent health, and spirits, she had the misfortune of spraining her ankle before leaving for England. "All will wish her a speedy recovery from this troublesome accident. Her gallent son, Mr Percy Ross is still fighting the battles of his country."
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