Gladys Laura White AM

b. 20/07/1883 Portsmouth, Hampshire. d. 01/11/1963 Portsmouth, Hampshire.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 01/10/1918 Rousbrugge, Belgium.

Gladys L White AM

Gladys was the youngest of six children of Alfred W and Louisa White (nee Young). She did her nurse’s training at Guy’s Hospital, London between 1907-1910 and by 1915 was nursing for the British Red Cross Society on the Western Front. She was also a qualified masseuse as well as a midwife. From 1914-15 she was a member of the Millicent Sutherland Ambulance. By the end of the war, in addition to the Albert Medal, she had been awarded the Royal Red Cross, Second Class (ARRC), been mentioned in despatches and was awarded the BRCS Special Service Cross. Her final accolade was the rare Florence Nightingale Medal, which she received in 1920. She then returned to civilian nursing becoming Assistant Matron, then Matron of the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, Surrey. She volunteered again for the BRCS in WWII and served from 1941-1946 as Commandant of a local VAD. She retired to Portsmouth, where she died aged 80 in 1963.



Early in the morning of the 1st October 1918, a serious fire occurred in No. 36 Casualty Clearing Station at Rousbrugge, in Belgium. At the time some of the patients were undergoing serious operations in the abdominal and general operating theatres, the walls of which were composed of wood. The first intimation of danger in the theatres was the extinction of the electric light accompanied by volumes of smoke, and almost immediately the wooden walls burst into flames. The two sisters and the staff nurse assisted in carrying the unconscious patients tosafety, and returned to the burning wards to assist in carrying out other patients. During this time ether bottles and nitrous oxide cylinders were continually exploding, filling the air with fumes and flying fragments of steel.