May Benson was born in 1892 in France, the daughter of Alfred Edward Benson (1863-1899) and his wife, Dora Sophia Turner (1862-1896). The 1911 census shows that May had moved to England and was living with her mother’s sister, Alice Andrews, and her husband, Henry Andrews, at The Limes, Hollingbourne Kent. All of the family are shown as having ‘private means’.

Records of the Red Cross show that May was living at 9, Granville Road, Sevenoaks, when she was taken on as a Nurse Probationer in March 1917 at the Cornwall Hall VAD hospital. May worked part-time on night duty until March 1918. Throughout her time she kept an album, given to her by her aunt, Alice Andrews, which she used to ask wounded servicemen, including some Belgians, to sign. Many of the men wrote or sketched in May’s book, often giving their regiment and other details, making it in an invaluable source for further research. I’d be very pleased to her from anyone who thinks they may have a connection to any of the men mentioned and to May herself.

May Benson married Arthur Clarke and lived until 1983 when she died, aged 91, in York.

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