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de t'Serclaes nee Bayly, England c.1900
Posted by: Jenny Decker Date: March 09, 2000 at 15:49:36
  of 151

I am currently researching a book on British women at the war front, and am seeking the family background of the Baroness de t'Serclaes, a famous WWI ambulance worker, nurse, hospital founder and humanitarian. After the death of her young parents (father's name unknown, but died about 1887; was born circa 1850-55; was a well-to-do physician in an unidentified rural English town), she was separated from her four older siblings and adopted out to an unidentified childless couple. The adoptive father was headmaster of a boys' school "near the Downs," so could be Devon, Sussex, etc.
They treated her as a charity child; consequently her autobiography avoids names as if her family history has shame attached.
She trained as a nurse and was among the first medical volunteers to enter Belgium after the start of WWI and the German invasion. She married an aristocratic Belgium fighter pilot who was killed almost immediately; thereafter as the Baroness de t'Serclaes she earned fame as a wartime humanitarian.
The only family member named in the book is Georgina Bayly, identified as this woman's "real" maiden aunt. If any of you Baylys in England (or with folk in England early in the 20th century) recognize this story or its people, I would be very grateful to hear from you and--who knows!--the relatives you research may be preserved for posterity when our book is published.

Jenny Decker


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