Mary Jane Stuart Flynn or Gartside-Tipping, (51-52) – Murdered

Women’s Emergency Corps, 6th March 1917

Grave of Mary Stuart Gartside-Tipping at Vauxbuin French National Cemetery, Aisne, France: © Canaryguy (Find a Grave)

Synopsis of Life and Service

Mary Stuart Flynn or Gartside-Tipping was born in the last quarter of 1865 at Blackburn, Lancashire and was the daughter to her father Walter Henry Flynn, an Adjutant in the 5th Lancashire Artillery Volunteers and her mother Mary Elizabeth Pilkington. Mary had two sisters Annie and Ethel and were cared for by three servants. Her father died on 26 August 1872 when she was about 7 years old. In 1876, when Mary was about 11 years old, her mother re-married George A. Coombe, a House Surgeon at Southport Infirmary, he later changed his surname to Pilkington, the maiden name of his wife, her father had been a Member of Parliament for Blackburn. The now George A. Pilkington was to become Member of Parliament for Southport and later knighted in 1893.

Mary at around 25 years of age in the fourth quarter of 1890 at Ormskirk married Henry Thomas Gartside-Tipping who was about 42 years of age and a Naval Officer and soon thereafter moved to Quarr Wood, Binstead, Isle of Wight which Henry had inherited. They were to have three children by their union, Phyllis Mildreda, Vernon Danvers and Esther Pamela. Vernon died in the second quarter of 1911, aged 18 years.

At the start of The Great War, her husband Henry, who had been a retired Lieutenant in the Royal Navy rejoined the service. He was given command of the Royal Navy armoured yacht ‘Sanda’, which weighed 400 tonnes.

On 25 September 1915 while accompanied by other vessels who were bombarding the Belgian coast, an explosive shell sank H.M. Yacht “Sanda” and killed everyone on board.

In January 1916, after her husbands death in action on 25 September 1915, Mary Gartside-Tipping, volunteered and was accepted for service with the Woman’s Emergency Corps, she had prior to this worked for nearly a year at the Munition Workers’ Canteen, Woolwich

As a member of Woman’s Emergency Canteens for Soldiers Society, which was doing much valuable work in France under the presidency of Miss Hesketh, Mrs Tippings was shot and killed by a deranged French soldier. After shooting Mrs Tippings, the murderer turned the weapon on himself, but only succeeded in inflicting a slight wound, from which he recovered. She had done much devoted work among French troops. The General Commanding in the Sector where the crime occurred, visited the scene of the tragedy, and laid a Croix de Guerre on Mrs. Tipping’s coffin.

She was buried with full military honours at Vauxbuin French National Cemetery, Aisne, France.

© – Berwickshire News & General Advisor dated 13 March 1917.

Her Probate dated 18 July 1917 at London, which states she died on 4 March 1917 at Pethondes-sur-Aisne, France and her estate was valued at Effects £7,410, Resworn – £10,029.


Mary Stuart Flynn or Gartside-Tipping was born in the last quarter of 1865 at Blackburn, Lancashire. The following family members have been identified:-

  • Husband – Henry Thomas Gartside-Tipping, born 11 June 1848 at Dublin, Ireland.
  • Daughter – Phyllis Mildreda, born 18 March 1892 at Southport, Lancashire.
  • Son – Vernon Danvers, born c.1894 at Binstead, Isle of Wight – Naval Cadet (Invalided), died-1911.
  • Daughter – Esther Pamela, born c.1896 at Binstead, Isle of Wight.
  • Father – Walter Henry Flynn, born c.1853 at Southwark, London.
  • Mother – Mary Elizabeth Flynn, born c.1853 at Crayford, Kent.
  • Sister – Annie Lousia, born c.1868 at Southport, Lancashire.
  • Sister – Ethel, born c.1870 at Blackburn, Lancashire.


Records show that Mary lived at the following addresses :-

  • 1871 – 61 Preston Road, Blackburn, Lancashire.
  • 1881 – 61 Preston Road, Blackburn, Lancashire.
  • 1891 – Visitor at Plas Gwyn Mansion, Anglesey, Wales.
  • 1892 – Belle Vue, Southport.
  • 1901 – Quarr Wood, Binstead, Isle of Wight.
  • 1911 – Dunburgh House, Geldeston, Beccles, Norfolk.
  • 1917 – Quarr Wood, Binstead, Isle of Wight.
Members of the Women’s Emergency Corps – © IWM Q 2659


She was awarded the Croix de Guerre for her service in the Great War.


Mary Jane Stuart Flynn or Gartside-Tipping is honoured and remembered on the following memorial:-

  • Binstead War Memorial, Isle of Wight.
  • Southport War Memorial, London Square, Southport, Sefton, Merseyside.
Binstead War Memorial, Isle of Wight – © Mark Newton 4 June 2016 (WMR-21715)

Conflicting and Further Information

  • Several documents have the date of death for Mary as the 4th March 1917, however I have gone with the date which is on her headstone as 6th March 1917.
  • Her father Walter Henry Flynn left around £2,000 to her mother in his Will in 1873.

Links to Additional Information


  • 1871 Census. (Ancestry)
  • 1881 Census.(Ancestry)
  • 1901 Census.(Ancestry)
  • 1911 Census.(Ancestry)
  • Lancashire, Church of England, Birth and Baptism Records.(Ancestry)
  • Belfast News Letter newspaper dated 22 March 1892.(Ancestry)
  • England & Wales Registration of Marriage. (Ancestry)
  • England & Wales Registration Birth Index. (Ancestry)
  • England & Wales National Probate Calendar. (Ancestry)
  • Berwickshire News & General Advisor dated 13 March 1917. (British News Archive)
  • East Suffolk Gazette dated 13 March 1917.



  • Vincent Stuart
  • Mark Newton (Photo)
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