I received this email, via my website, last week;
Hi Kylie, Thank you for your website. I was just wondering if you had come across a brief letter of inquiry written by a Miss May A Scadden of “Riverview” Buffalo, South Gippsland to the AIF about an Arthur Evans who died in France in 1916. This letter can be viewed at http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/DetailsReports/ItemDetail.aspx?Barcode=1908431 (digital record page 19). Could this be your May Alice Scadden? and is there a story to be told here? (My interest is that Arthur Evans’ brother Horace Sidney Evans married one of my wife’s relations).
This message intrigued me and as I am currently researching the Scadden branch of my tree I followed it up straight away. May Alice Scadden is my first cousin once removed. My paternal grandmother was her Aunt.
Why did May write to the AIF on Arthur’s mother’s behalf?
I turned to Trove to help me find out. I couldn’t find any evidence of May and Arthur being romantically linked however Arthur was living in Buffalo, Victoria, Australia, where May lived, when he enlisted.
Was it part of her job or simply a helpful and good thing to do?
May and her sisters wrote to soldiers and sent care packages as the following article shows.
May and her sister Janet attended a fancy dress ball where May was dressed as a Red Cross Nurse. I wonder if May was a Red Cross nurse or she desired to be one. Either way it shows a concern for others and, with the letters written to soldiers, an interest in world events.
Maybe they were involved, maybe they weren’t. I don’t know, however it is sad that Arthur didn’t return from the war, he died at the Battle of the Somme and his grieving mother may or may not have received his personal effects.
May went on to marry a local chap, Malcolm McFarlane, in 1918.
(Unfortunately I had some problems with Trove this morning so I haven’t been able to include links to the two newspaper articles above)