Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse Ursula Lascelles is the first of our Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters in our Made in North Yorkshire series.

Our Made in North Yorkshire series is celebrating the people and places that have made the county what it is today.

Ursula travelled from the village of Slingsby to the battlefields of France to support the war effort during World War One. She was born in Sheriff Hutton in July 1890, and died in 1992, aged 102.

Ursula was the daughter of the vicar of Sheriff Hutton and was educated at the girls’ grammar school in York. At the outbreak of World War One, Ursula, then 24, and her mother, Elizabeth, began volunteering as VAD nurses. This was a role created by the Red Cross during the First World War due to a shortage of professionally trained nurses. VAD nurses were volunteers who helped care for injured soldiers in military hospitals across the UK and Europe.

Ursula began volunteering at the British Red Cross Hospital in Swinton Grange, near Malton. She put herself forward to nurse on the frontline in France. In 1917, she was accepted to work at the No.6 General Hospital in Rouen, France, where she worked as a VAD nurse until 1919.

After the First World War, and throughout her life, Ursula continued to fundraise for the British Red Cross.

Her influence on the patients she treated is evident in the records held at the County Record Office. The Lascelles family collection includes hundreds of letters from soldiers she looked after thanking Ursula for her care. Ursula kept in contact with many soldiers after the war.

Although Ursula came from a privileged background, she dedicated her life to supporting those in need and less fortunate than herself.

Made in North Yorkshire is unearthing stories from the archives of North Yorkshire’s County Record Office to throw light on the greatness that is woven through the county’s history.


We need your help

But we need your help to ensure we present a true picture of the county’s great sons and daughters. If you have a story of someone who made a difference in your community, get in touch to share your heritage. Contact madeinnorthyorkshire@northyorks.gov.uk

When the series of Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughter is complete, the public will be invited to vote for the person they believe has been the most influential.

Read more of Ursula’s story and find out more about the amazing resources within the County Record Office.