|Date of Birth||December 22, 1896|
|Place of Birth||Norwich, Norfolk|
|Trade / Calling||Waitress|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Regimental Number||VAD 16284|
|Battalion||No 73 General Hospital, Trouville, France|
|Branch||Voluntary Aid Detachment|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||117 Beaconsfield Road, Norwich, Norfolk, England|
|Date of Enlistment||April 6, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||21|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||February 5, 1987|
|Age at Death||90|
|Buried At||Memorial Park Cemetery, Oroville, Butte, California|
Gertrude Maude Tate was born on 22 December 1896 in Norwich, Norfolk in England. Her parents were Miles William Tate, a tin plate worker/tinsmith, and Leah Miriam Lovick who married during the last quarter of 1890 in the registration district of Norwich. Children born to the couple were William (1894), Leah (1895), Gertrude, Lily Rose (1899), Violet Blanche (1900), Ethel (1903), Nellie Annie (1905), George Arthur (1909), Edith (1913), and Gladys (1915). Sadly, Ethel and Edith died in infancy or childhood.
Gertrude served during WW1 as a Voluntary Aid Detachment with the British Red Cross and the Order of St John of Jerusalem. She had been working as a waitress and living with her family on Beaconsfield Road in Norwich when she began her service on 6 April 1918. Her service record transcription indicated that she worked as a ward maid at the No 73 General Hospital in Trouville in France, service ended on 5 April 1919. Gertrude’s sister Lily also volunteered in May of 1918 and saw service in Salonica, service ending on 20 April 1919. Both girls were awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for their service during the war.
During the second quarter of 1919 in the Registration district of Eastbourne in Sussex, Gertrude married Alfred Frederick Stevenson. Born on 3 December 1898 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario in Canada, Alfred was the son of Andrew Stevenson and Hannah McClelland. With the onset of conscription in the latter part of the war, Alfred had arrived in England with a draft of the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment in mid September of 1918 where he served with the 11th and 18th Reserve Battalions.
With the end of the war, Gertrude and Alfred arrived in Canada aboard the Baltic on 21 August 1919. Alfred was discharged from service on demobilization on 27 August in Halifax, intended residence given as Kenora.
At the time of the 1921 census Gertrude and Alfred were living in Kenora where Alfred was working as a locomotive fireman. They had given birth to daughter Monica in April of 1920. In 1922, in Toronto, the couple gave birth to daughter Doreen Elvera, followed by Yvonne in 1924 and Joan in 1927, both in Kenora, and Lois in 1929 in Winnipeg.
In August of 1930 the family immigrated to the United States, settling in San Francisco in California. However at some point the marriage failed, with Alfred marrying Ina Opal Kephart on 27 November 1936 in Santa Rosa. Gertrude married Edwin Robert Matsen on 27 April 1937 in San Francisco. Born on 22 March 1888 in Copenhagen in Denmark, Edwin had separated from his wife Edelweiss around 1935. With Edelweiss he had a daughter Cleo who was born about 1925. Edwin had served as a Seaman with the US Coast Guard from 2 June 1909 until 4 March 1919, recognized for his service during the war.
For the 1940 census Gertrude, Edwin, Edwin’s daughter Cleo and Gertrude’s daughters Yvonne, Joan and Lois were living on Griffiths Street in San Francisco. At the time Edwin was working as a janitor and Gertrude as a seamstress for a wholesale company. It appears that Edwin served during WW2, working for the US Army Transport Service at Fort Mason in the San Francisco Bay area.
Gertrude’s husband Edwin died on 16 December 1957 in Oroville, Butte in California. Her first husband Alfred died on 9 March 1973 in Concord, Contra Costa, California. Gertrude later died on 5 February 1987 in Modesto, Stanislaus, California. Gertrude and Edwin are interred in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Oroville.
By Judy Stockham
Gertrude’s grave marker photograph by Sue Hofius, findagrave.com
Edwin’s grave marker photograph by Steven R Goff, findagrave.com