Daisy Chamberlayne

Margaret Elisabeth (b 1884) known as Daisy was the second daughter of the Chamberlaynes of Stoneythorpe. (see Miriam Chamberlayne for family background).

   She was Commandant of the Long Itchington St John Ambulance who worked on joint exercises with Red Cross early in the conflict. This picture shows the two Commandants side by side, scouts with their leader, Red Cross members including Sisters, and the St John group which included men, women and children.

   Daisy trained in Southam 1914 and went as a VAD to France. Daisy rode with the hunt fortnightly and newspaper reports show she hunted in 1915 until the season closed in April. She arrived in France in time to tend the wounded of the conflict in Berges, near Dunkirk in June/July 1915.

   These postcard photographs (below) pasted into the family album show that she worked both in or near a tented hospital (Daisy front row extreme right, and another VAD third from right) and on a Red Cross barge.

   Daisy returned to Britain after one contract with the Red Cross (minimum term six months) and we loose sight of her until her marrage on 29th September 1917, when she married Captain John Inchbald Johnson RAMC.  She had known him since the cricketing days of her youth before the war when he appeared on photographs playing for the Stoneythorpe side. He was not a local man but originated from Yorkshire, trained at Edinburgh after boarding school in Bedfordshire, and  qualified as a physian and surgeon before moving to Culworth in Oxfordshire. There he served the community as a general practictioner.  In WWI, as an older recruit (b. 1871), he served at the hospital of the army camp at Chiseldon in Wiltshire, where a special station was built to off-load the vast trainloads of the wounded.

   He had two or three days off and their wedding was a high profile wedding with the county hunting set and many titled individuals attending. The Leamington Courier reported the event, and the vast list of gifts, extensively. All the VADs led by the Commandant attended and followed the bride down the aisle. The soldiers made an archway at the entrance to the church then all went to Stoneythorpe for the celebration. In the evening there was a feast also laid on for the tenantry.

   On this picture all the men have sticks and some have gone to the party despite their wounds and crutches. They are the same cohort of men  pictured alongside the volunteers (see Volunteer page). Interesting to note there are 50 VADs on the photograph with the senior staff in the middle. It shows how large the volunteer work force was at the hospital.

   We see Daisy again at Frances Gahagan’s wedding in November 1918.  Here Daisy (left) stands next to another VAD. This young woman has not been identified.

   Daisy lived in Culworth as a country doctor’s wife.  They had only thirteen years together as he died in 1930. She lived until 1962 and they are buried side by side in Culworth Churchyard. Her great neice Gill Reid remembers visiting her at Culworth in the ‘50s.  Although by then an old lady, Daisy was still caring for the injured as she nursed a sick hound.