This is the story of Ada Shadbolt, a Cheltenham munitions worker during the First World War.
Ada’s granddaughter Dawn explains:
“Ada (pictured in her munitions uniform) was born in 1887. She was my paternal grandmother and was in service in various places before the war. The only definite detail that I have so far is that she was the cook at Ham House, Charlton Kings in 1911.
We know she worked in Munitions at Quedgeley and I have her triangular On War Service badge with 1918 on it. We also have this wonderful photo of her in her munitions uniform. We don’t know exactly when she worked here.”
(To read more about the munitions ‘filling factory’ at Quedgeley visit https://www.quedgeleynews.com/history/raf-quedgeley-in-ww1)
We also have her autograph book which has references to Naunton Park VAD hospital. Again we don’t know what her connection to the hospital was but there are some lovely poems and sketches drawn by recovering servicemen.
Ada married Douglas Henry Butler September 1918, just before the armistice was announced in November. Their address was 2 Oakland Street, Charlton Kings. They subsequently lived in Humber Road, Cheltenham and had three children (the youngest of which was my Father).
Grandad (Douglas Butler) and his brother, Harold Albert Butler, had joined the army in 1908 and were in reserve in August 1914. They were both Drivers with the Royal Field Artillery. They were with the BEF and Harold was killed on 24 August 1914 at Elouges (as far as I can tell) and has no known grave. Harold is thought to be the first Cheltonian killed and is named on both the Charlton Kings War Memorial and in St Mary’s.
Nan and Grandad are buried in St Mary’s in Charlton Kings.”
Dawn Berry (nee Butler)