ANYONE who stops to inspect the names on Skipton’s War Memorial will find the name of just one woman.

Although women’s role in the First World War was crucial, their service frequently went unrecognised but Amy Kynoch Butchart was an exception.

Born in Edinburgh in 1884, she came to Skipton at the age of 22 with her mother and father to be near her brother, Charles, who had taken up a post as a dental surgeon in Skipton. The four of them lived at 23 Devonshire Terrace in the town.

She started training as a nurse at Leeds Infirmary in 1910 but in June 1915, Amy signed up for service in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAMINS) and was quickly on the hospital ships for the disastrous Dardanelles campaign in modern Turkey.

In December of 1915 she had the following letter printed in the Craven Herald: “Allow me to express my thanks to all those kind friends who have so generously responded to my appeal on behalf of the nursing sisters who are stationed on the Island of Lemnos. I have received over £10 in money, besides numerous gifts of cakes, chocolates, fruit, etc. It has been almost impossible to thank all the kind donors personally, and I trust they will accept this formal acknowledgment. The money has all been spent in buying various necessities, and it will give me very great pleasure to hand over a handsome parcel to the Nursing Camps when I call at Lemnos in about a fortnight”.

Her work was arduous and led her to being invalided out of the QAMINS so she returned to Skipton and became a ward sister at St Luke’s Hospital, in Bradford.

Amy was a staunch member of St Andrew's Congregational Church, in Newmarket Street, Skipton, and is commemorated in the booklet “History of the Dales Congregational Churches” published in 1932.

Amy was at work at St Luke’s on June 22, 1919 when she collapsed and died almost immediately. The Craven Herald of June 27, 1919 gives the cause of death as “cerebral haemorrhage” although some accounts cite her as being a victim of the flu epidemic of that year (the suddenness of her death tends to cast doubt on that).

After a service at the Bradford Hospital, her body was taken by railway to Skipton and there loaded on a gun carriage. Members of the Royal Army Medical Corps escorted the gun carriage to Waltonwrays Cemetery where she was buried.

According to the Find a Grave website, Amy’s grave was cleaned and restored in August last year.

Not only is she the only woman commemorated on Skipton war memorial, she is the only Skiptonian remembered at York Minster where there is a war memorial to the women who lost their lives in the First World War. Her name can be found by the Five Sisters Window in St Nicholas’ Chapel in the north transept of the Minster.

Interestingly, her niece Jean (the daughter of her dentist brother Charles) also saw war service as detailed in an obituary in the Craven Herald in February 2020 when Jean died at the age of 101. Jean (married name Livingstone) working on radar installations on the east coast from 1939 to 1942 when she became pregnant.