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Grace Sophia HORSFIELD (later VANDERBERG) (1885-1972)

Biographical Details

Grace Sophia Horsfield (1885-1972) became friendly with the Sladden family when she moved to Evesham with her parents, possibly in about 1910.

Grace was born on 7th April 1885 at Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire, the fourth of five children and only daughter of Thomas Horsfield, a chartered accountant, and his wife, Sophia (née Kay).  At the time of the 1901 census, she was a boarder at a school in Ripon, Yorkshire.  By 1911, she had moved to Evesham with her parents.  She became friendly with the Sladden family and often played tennis with them.

According to references in the Sladden family letters, by 1914 Grace was engaged to a Dr McNicholl or Dr McNicol.  In a letter of 29th September 1914, Mela Brown Constable mentons that Grace’s fiancé, who was in the Evesham Territorials, had recently joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, but had not yet been sent abroad.  In a letter of 7th July 1915, Mela said that Dr McNicol had got a special mention in the newspapers and been awarded the Military medal because, for three days near Ypres, he was bringing in wounded under fire without any rest.  He was now on a month’s leave and staying with the Horsfields.  It is most likely that this was John Hart McNicol, a graduate of Glasgow University.  He was awarded the Military Cross.  The full citation stated:  "On the 24th and 25th May 1915, at Ypres, with untiring energy and gallantry [John Hart McNicol] attended to wounded men under heavy rifle and shell fire, saving the lives of many men. On the night of 25th May he searched a wood near Bellegarde for the wounded, attended to them, and had them brought in. This wood was close up to the German trenches. He has shown the greatest courage in attending to the wounded in action."

Grace never married Dr McNicol.  If her fiancé was indeed John Hart McNicol, he died on 10th October 1918 in Macedonia, having contracted influenza and pneumonia.

Grace is thought to have remained living with her parents until their deaths in 1931 and 1934 respectively.  Just over two months after the death of Sophia Horsfield at the end of January, Grace married Charles Heynsbergh Vanderberg, Clerk in Holy Orders, at Holy Trinity, Lower Beeding, Sussex.  She was 45 and Charles was 52.  Her brother, Harry, and his wife, Florence, were witnesses.  Canon Allsebrook, Vicar of Badsey and Wickhamford, travelled to Sussex to conduct the wedding.

By 1939, they were living at Newton Abbot, Devon.  Charles died at Newton Abbot in 1942.  Grace was widowed for 30 years.  She died at Sturminster, Dorset, in 1972, aged 86.

Letters mentioning this person: