|Administrative History||1. First Generation |
1.1 Thomas Russell Wade (1839-1914), BD, MRAS, grandfather of Stella Underhill
Born 14 October 1839 in Waldron in Sussex, the son of Charles Wade, miller, and Frances Wade, nee Colman.
From 1853 Wade attended school in Hanham, Bristol. In 1859 he enrolled at the Church Missionary College, Islington and achieved his Lambeth Bachelor of Divinity. On 26 July 1862 he was ordained a deacon by the Bishop of London; two years later he was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Calcutta.
On 4 January 1863 Wade went out as a missionary for the first time. Over the next 44 years of working overseas, he was occupied in preaching, school, medical mission, itinerating, literary and famine relief work as well as deputation work during periods of furlough back in England. His skills, experience and willingness to work wherever needed meant that he travelled to many different locations under the CMS North India Mission and, from 1878, the Punjab and Sindh Mission. His main bases of work were Peshawar, Lahore, the Kashmir Valley, Amritsar and Batala.
He began his missionary service in Peshawar. After six years overseas, much of 1869-1870 was spent in England on furlough. During his time in England he met and married his first wife, Alice Mary Moore, 6 October 1870. In November the couple left together for the Punjab. Alice died a year later in Peshawar.
In November 1872 Wade moved to assist at Lahore Divinity School.
In 1876, from 28 April to 23 October, he was based in Srinagar in charge of the Kashmir Medical Mission. He arrived as cholera was increasing. He spent 1877 and the first half of 1878 in England engaged in deputation work for the CMS before returning to the Kashmir Valley. He arrived back at Srinagar in June 1878; in an in memoriam article written December 1914, H. U. Weitbrecht comments on Rev Wade’s next three years in Kashmir:
'It was there that he did the most outstanding work of his missionary life. Side by side with Dr. Downes …. He helped to relieve untold suffering. Ably backed by Robert Clark as Secretary of the Mission, Wade collected money, treated the sick, and organised the import and distribution of foodstuffs, while so respecting the sensibilities of the State authorities as to elicit their co-operation.'
From 1881-1903 Wade lived at Amritsar, the centre of the CMS mission to the Punjab. During this time he married his second wife, Anna Elizabeth Blake, 18 April 1882; their two daughters, Margaret Ellen (‘Daisy’) Wade and Lilian Agnes Wade, were born in 1883 and 1885. He served as Acting Secretary of the Amritsar Mission 1891-1892. From 1900 to early 1904 he worked in Batala, including as acting principal of Baring High School for Christian boys 1900-early 1901. During this time, he also started working in connection with CMS Central Punjab District Church Council with centres at Ajnala Tahsil, Bahrwal and Clarkabad. He was on furlough in England for most of 1887 and 1888 and again April 1896-October 1897. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 1888.
From 22 February 1904 to 1 March 1905, he served as Acting Secretary at Lahore. Over the subsequent months, his work took him to Batala, Amritsar and Srinagar. In Srinagar his work was split between school and hospital work and taking services at St Luke's, the chapel in the grounds of the hospital.
On what was to be his final departure for England, he left Batala 12 April 1907 arriving back in England 3 May. He was instituted (1908) and inducted (1909) to the Living of Shrewton and Maddington in Wiltshire before his resignation from the CMS was officially accepted 17 May 1910. When they first moved back to England, the Wades lived at Kington Magna in Dorset (from July 1907). They moved to Maddington Vicarage, Wiltshire in 1910. The December 1913 issue of the 'Church Missionary Review' reported his retirement to Eastbourne after 'illness involving a grave operation'. By 1914, the Wades were living at 29, Enys Road, Eastbourne.
Rev Dr Thomas Russell Wade died in Eastbourne, 23 October 1914. His life is remembered in a biography by C. E. Tyndale-Biscoe: 'Thomas Russell Wade: a pioneer in Kashmir', London: CMS, 1921.
Written works (excluding articles):
/translation: 'The book of Common Prayer and administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church according to the use of the Church of England (in the Cashmírí language) published by the Punjab Christian Knowledge Society', Amritsar: printed at the Safir-i-hind Press by Rev Rajab Ali, 1884;
/'A Grammar of the Kashmiri Language: As Spoken in the Valley of Kashmir' London: 1888; /translation of books of the New Testament into Kashmiri, 1882-1899.
1.2 Alice Mary Wade (1850-1871), nee Moore, first wife of Stella Underhill's grandfather
Born in 1850, the daughter of Augusta Sophia Gardner (1824-1903) and Ponsonby Arthur Moore (1816-3 May 1871), Esquire. Alice Mary Moore married Rev T. R. Wade in England, 6 October 1870.
After arriving at Peshawar with her new husband 8 January 1871, she continued to learn Hindustani which she had begun to study in England. She superintended the girls' schools in Peshawar, worked with the Sunday day and night school and undertook district visiting. In the wake of the death of her father, and experiencing bouts of ill health, she left for the cooler air of Thandiani in June 1871 accompanied by her husband. They arrived back in Peshawar in September.
Alice Mary Wade died 8 October 1871, just a year after her wedding. Her life is remembered in a book by Mrs M[ary] Weitbrecht: 'The Women of India and Christian work in the Zenana', London: James Nisbett and Co, 1875.
1.3 Anna Elizabeth Wade (1846-1931), nee Blake, grandmother of Stella Underhill
Born in 1846, the daughter of Henry W. Blake.
Anna Elizabeth Blake offered for service with the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS) and, in February 1881, she was accepted to go to the Punjab as an honorary missionary. Appointed to the Amritsar Mission to undertake zenana work, she arrived in November 1881.
On 18 April 1882, she married T. R. Wade. The couple had three daughters: Margaret Ellen born 15 May 1883 and twins, Alice Mary and Lilian Agnes, born 30 June 1885; Alice Mary died when she was very young.
Although on her marriage she ceased to be a missionary under CEZMS, Anna Wade was actively engaged in mission work including giving weekly bible classes in English and in Urdu. She hosted meetings of the Amritsar Branch of the Gleaners’ Union, the first Gleaners' Union in India. She also contributed news and articles for the CMS home periodicals. Whilst in England with Rev Wade on furlough, she undertook deputation work. Between 1887 and 1888, she gave approximately 30 talks in England on behalf of the CEZMS.
Anna Elizabeth Wade died in Farnham, Surrey, 10 March 1931.
2. Second Generation
2.1 Lilian Agnes Underhill (1885-1977), formerly Starr, nee Wade, mother of Stella Underhill
Born at Dalhousie, North India, 30 June 1885, younger daughter of Thomas Russell Wade and Anna Elizabeth Wade.
Lilian was educated in England at the Anglo-French School of 'Fontainbleau', Boscombe; Sydenham High School for Girls and at Oak Hill House Boarding School in Hampstead run by Miss Thompson.
After finishing her schooling she returned to her family in Amritsar. She stayed with them as Rev Wade’s work took him to Batala and Lahore before returning to England.
Back in England, Lilian began the training which would see her return to the North-West Frontier as a missionary in her own right in 1913, six years after her parents moved back to England. From 1907- 1910 she trained at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital; she also underwent further training at Clapham Maternity Hospital in London and the Women's Hospital in Birmingham. She joined the Nurses' Missionary League before offering for service with the Church Missionary Society in October 1911. In 1912 she enrolled at 'The Willows', Stoke Newington, which at the time was a Mildmay training institution used by candidates of the CMS and Church of England Zenana Missionary Society.
She was accepted as a missionary 18 March 1913. On 31 October 1913 she left England to start work as nursing sister at the Mission Hospital in Peshawar under the CMS Punjab and Sindh Mission. The Hospital at Peshawar was her main base of work throughout two periods of overseas service with CMS 1913-1918 and 1919-1923. She also worked at the mission hospitals in Bannu, Srinagar and Shikarpur. For 10 years she held the additional responsibilities of hospital matron.
On 28 October 1915, Lilian Agnes Wade married Dr Vernon Harold Starr, surgeon at the Hospital. They worked together and holidayed in Kashmir trekking in the company of their dog, Murphy.
When her husband was murdered in March 1918, Lilian left the hospital soon afterwards. She spent some time in Kashmir with family friends and fellow CMS missionaries, the Tyndale-Biscoes. In October 1918, she travelled to Egypt to work at number 45 Indian General Hospital (a military hospital) at Abbassia, Cairo. She left Cairo for England in May 1919.
She re-offered to the CMS and was accepted for the second time, 12 November 1919. After a further year in England, by December 1920 Lilian Agnes Starr had begun work back at the Mission Hospital in Peshawar. Whilst on holiday in the summer of 1922, she travelled from Peshawar to Leh, the capital of Ladakh (or 'Lesser Tibet'), travelling much of the way on horseback. She recorded her experiences in a travel diary which formed the basis of part of the book which she wrote in 1923: 'Tales of Tirah and Lesser Tibet'.
Over four days in April 1923, she assisted in the rescue from kidnapping of Mollie Ellis, 17 year old daughter of Major and Mrs Ellis. Mollie’s mother had been killed at their home in Kohat 14 April and Mollie abducted and taken across the border into Tirah by Afridi tribesmen. At the request of Sir John Maffey, the British Commissioner, on 20 April Lilian set off with the rescue party led by Khan Bahadur Risaldar Moghal Baz Khan, a decorated ex-officer of the Indian Army, Corps of Guides, himself an Afridi. She finally met Mollie when, after much negotiation by the rescue party, Mollie was brought to the Khanki Bazar and released into their care, 22 April. They started off on the return journey the following day and Lilian arrived back at Peshawar 24 April. Lilian spent a further six days with Mollie before returning to her work at the hospital although the huge public response to the rescue was such that she spent some months away from Peshawar between June and September. The effects of the publicity surrounding her involvement would stay with the family for many years - even a news release relating to her then adult daughter Stella Underhill would refer back to 'Mrs Starr’s rescue' of Mollie Ellis. Although Lilian herself firmly credited success to other members of the rescue party, she was honoured for her involvement and the mission benefitted from financial gifts in the wake of the affair. She wrote an account of this 'trek' in the book, 'Tales of Tirah and Lesser Tibet'; the book was partly intended to counter inaccurate reports that had circulated in the British and American Press.
In November 1923, Lilian Agnes Starr was engaged to Major Guilford Edgar Charlton Underhill. She resigned from CMS 2 January 1924 and she and Guilford were married at Sialkot, 2 February 1924 in a ceremony performed by Reverend Selwyn, a family friend. The wedding took place on the way to a month long working tour of the Punjab that Guilford was due to undertake. After a weekend at Pathankot and Madhapore and a three day honeymoon at Dalhousie, now 'Lilian Agnes Underhill', she accompanied her husband as they marched, camped and travelled on horseback visiting three villages a day, Lilian meeting with the women. Once back in Peshawar they made their home at number 1 Gunner Lane.
Though not under CMS, after her marriage she resumed work at the hospital for a while. She also began to give 'Purdah Parties' for the women of the regiment - men outside, 'tea and talk' inside for the women. The welfare of the girls and women of India remained a cause dear to her heart and as well as giving more Purdah Parties, she was to speak and write about a range of issues over the years.
Between 1925 and 1926, Lilian and Guilford had two children. Lilian Starr Underhill known as 'Stella' was born 2 January 1925; Harold Wade Underhill, was born 16 September 1926. The nature of Guilford's work meant that some of the family's time living on the North-West Frontier was spent apart and in temporary accommodation. Lilian travelled to England with baby Stella in March 1925; she arrived back at Peshawar just in time to attend the opening of the Khyber Pass railway, 4 October 1925. Lilian and the children spent the winters of 1925 and 1926 in Army Mansions and at the Mission Hospital compound at Dera Ismail Khan whilst Guilford's regiment was stationed at Jamrud (1925) and Manzai in Waziristan (1926). Much of 1927 and some of 1928 was spent in Srinagar and holidaying at Gulmarg. Towards the end of the 1927 the family set up home in Jhelum where Lilian was again actively involved with the women and families of the regiment including working a 'dispensary' out of the military hospital which was in the charge of a 'trained Indian Christian woman'. She and Guilford also found time to entertain and to ride out together.
When Guilford retired at the start of 1929, the family moved back to England, settling in Farnham, Surrey.
Lilian Agnes Underhill died in Farnham, Surrey, 3 January 1977.
/May 1923: the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal of the First Class for Public Service in India;
/June 1923: Bar to the Kaiser-i-Hind medal;
/1923: the gold life saving medal of the Order of St John awarded for gallantry in saving life on land.
Written works (excluding articles):
/'Vernon Harold Starr: 1882-1918 and after', Madras: Christian Literature Society for India, 1919;
/'Frontier Folk of the Afghan Border and Beyond', London: CMS, ;
/'Tales of Tirah and Lesser Tibet', London: Hodder and Stoughton, ;
/'Indian womanhood to-day', London: Highway Press, 1930;
/'Liberty for India', Farnham, E. W. Langham, 1932;
/'Extremes meet: some facts about India’s women', London: Highway Press, 1934.
2.2 Vernon Harold Starr (1882-1918), MB, BS, first husband of Stella Underhill's mother
Born at Hertford 21 May 1882, V. H. Starr was brought up in Oxford eldest of three brothers. An outstanding student, he was educated at Oxford High School on a scholarship. He left school at the age of 15 and from 1897-1901 was apprenticed to a chemist whilst studying part-time at the City Technical School. It was during this time that, inspired by a talk which her heard 11 October 1899, he set his heart on becoming a medical missionary.
From 1901-1908 he worked to prepare himself for missionary life. He proceeded with great focus of mind and diligence, working long hours with cheerfulness and purpose. He was nicknamed 'Very Hot Stuff' and 'Twinkle Twinkle' for his initials, his beaming smile and for his attitude. Between 1901 and 1903, he worked as a chemist’s assistant in Sidcup, Buxton and Hammersmith so that he would have the means to continue his studies. In 1901 he joined the University Correspondence College. In October 1903 he won a Worsley Scholarship and within days had started his medical training at King's College Hospital. In 1903 he became Associate of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. In 1904 he won the Leathes' Prize; he also won other prizes during his college career. In 1908 he was made Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Science (London).
With missionary work in mind, in 1901 he joined the CMS Home Preparation Union. He also taught Sunday classes and joined the Christian Endeavour Society. He was a leading member of King's College Christian Union. Whilst at King's, he and other students also helped with the Children's Special Service Mission (CSSM) which arranged holiday services and picnics for children in Wales. During the summers of 1904-1906 he joined other members of the Student Volunteer Missionary Union (SVMU) on evangelical caravan tours. After graduating from King's, he joined the surgical staff of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in 1908. On 21 July in the same year, he was accepted as a CMS missionary but continued to work at the hospital until autumn 1910.
On 16 December 1910, the dream he had worked so hard to achieve came to pass. He set out overseas to start work as a medical missionary appointed to the mission hospital at Peshawar under the CMS Punjab and Sindh Mission. He was never to return to England.
For over seven years he was chiefly based in the hospital at Peshawar. From 1913, he was left in charge of the hospital with a team under him that included Dr Janet Vaughan, Dr Richardson, Dr Lavy and Miss F. M. Clarke. His work at Peshawar included visiting Charsadda and other surrounding areas. He also spent some time working at the mission hospitals in Srinagar, Bannu and Shikarpur. As well as hospital administration, staff supervision, medical and surgical practice, he studied Urdu, taught Sunday school, gave lantern lectures and occasionally preached. He faced a near miss when he developed a symptom of bubonic plague but, catching it in time, his recovery was quick. In 1912, Olive, his fiancee back in England broke off their engagement.
In November 1913, Vernon H. Starr met Lilian Agnes Wade when she joined the staff of Peshawar hospital. He and Lilian married 28 October 1915. With Lilian at his side, he continued work at Peshawar during the First World War with a much reduced staff; in 1917, for the majority of the year he was the only doctor at the hospital.
Dr Vernon Harold Starr died 17 March 1918 after a group of two men and a boy came to the Starr's rooms during the night and stabbed him; an operation failed to save him and he died 12 hours later.
After his death, the widowed Lilian wrote the biography: 'Vernon Harold Starr 1882-1918 and After', 1919.
2.3 Guilford Edgar Charlton Underhill (1882-1965), father of Stella Underhill
Born in Dudley, Staffordshire, 2 February 1882, Guilford was the second child of Thomas Edgar Underhill and Mary Isabel, nee Charlton. He was educated at Bromsgrove School and graduated from Staff College, Camberley (military training college).
He served as an officer in the Indian Army, 62nd Punjabis, an infantry regiment which in 1922 became 1st Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment (Punjab Regiment of the Pakistan Army since 1956). During the First World War he served in the Middle East as a Captain in the 62nd Punjabis alongside Captain Claude Auchinleck [later Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck (1884-1981), Commander-in-chief, Indian Army].
He met Lilian Agnes Starr, nee Wade, whilst he was based with the regiment in Peshawar; by this time he had reached the rank of Major. He proposed 3 November 1923. He and Lilian were married 2 February 1924 en route to his starting a working tour of the Punjab beginning at Ferozepore Cantonment 9 February and ending at Jullundur 11 March.
By 1925 he had been promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and was Commanding Officer of the 1st Punjab Regiment when it moved to Jamrud.
He retired in 1929 and moved back to England with his family. He was succeeded by Claude Auchinleck who had re-joined the regiment as Guilford's second-in-command at the beginning of the year.
Lieutenant-Colonel Underhill died October 1965.
3. Third Generation
3.1 Lilian Starr Walter (1925-2019), MB BS, nee Underhill; known as Stella
Born in Peshawar, 2 January 1925, eldest child of Lilian Agnes Underhill and Guilford Edgar Charlton Underhill. She was named Lilian for her mother and 'Aunt Lilian' (Guilford's eldest sister) and Starr for Vernon Harold Starr. Educated at Wadhurst College, a boarding school for girls in Sussex, she went on to qualify as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and prepare for missionary service.
She began her medical training in 1943, seeing the end of the Second World War and the birth of the National Health Service whilst in training in London at the Royal Free Hospital Medical School and taking postgraduate work at Whipps' Cross, the Royal Berkshire and Rochford hospitals. During her time at the Royal Free, she suffered acid burns when a V-2 bomb hit the school in February 1945. She had skin grafts and plastic surgery returning to complete her studies after a year's convalescence.
In 1953, Dr Stella Underhill enrolled as a student at 'Foxbury', the CMS women's training home in Chiselhurst, Kent.
In 1955, she followed in her family's footsteps when she went back out to the North-West Frontier Province to start work at the mission hospital in Bannu under the CMS West Pakistan Mission (successor to the 'Punjab and Sindh Mission'). She sailed out on the Cilicia 16 April and arrived in May 1955. In her first months, she attended the language school and spent some time in Quetta and Multan before taking up her duties as doctor in charge of the women's hospital from January 1956. The men's hospital was in the charge of fellow CMS medical missionary, Dr Arthur Durnford Iliff.
In 1963 she left the Hospital when her marriage to William Walter, a chaplain in the Royal Canadian Navy and friend from her student days, necessitated her move to North Manitoba, Canada. It was recorded in the ‘Church Missionary Historical Record’ that the Hospital suffered a great blow in the way of gynaecological and obstetric care when Stella resigned in 1963. Stella and William married back in Farnham, England in August 1963. They had three children all of whom were born in Canada: Alan James William Walter (b 1953) and David Andrew Walter (b 1954), sons from William's first marriage, and Nigel Hugh Walter (b 1965). Out in Canada, William became chaplain to the forces base in Churchill, Hudson Bay. Stella was medical officer.
In 1977, she returned briefly to Bannu to fill a locum post at the Pennell Memorial Hospital.
Dr Stella Walter died 26 July 2019.
3.2 Harold Wade Underhill (b 1926), brother of Stella Underhill
Born at the Mission Hospital, Srinagar, Kashmir, 16 September 1926, Harold is the youngest child of Lilian Agnes Underhill and Guilford Edgar Charlton Underhill. Named Wade for his grandfather and Harold for Vernon Harold Starr.
Harold was educated at Hildersham House boarding school for boys, Broadstairs, from autumn 1937. He travelled to Pakistan in the 1990s and visited some of his mother, Lilian Agnes Underhill's, 'old haunts'. Whilst in Bannu, he was presented with a copy of her book 'Vernon Harold Starr 1882-1918 and after'. This copy is now held in the collection with photographs of Lilian and Vernon Harold Starr which Harold also donated for preservation in the Archive in 2019.
4. Fourth Generation
4.1 Alan James William Walter (b 1953), stepson of Stella Underhill
Born in Saskatchewan, Canada 12 February 1953, elder son of William and Pat Walter. Pat Walter died in a road accident in 1962. After being awarded a degree in Chemistry from Surrey University, England, at the time of cataloguing (2018) Alan had been working for 34 years in the NHS Clinical Biochemistry Department in Guildford. Like his Wade family relatives, he has travelled extensively in Pakistan. Alan's work on the Wade family papers forms part of this archive.
4.2 David Andrew Walter (b 1954), stepson of Stella Underhill
Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, 25 May 1954, the younger son of William and Pat Walter. David was awarded a Degree in Social Anthropology (Sussex University) before training in Law at Guildford Law College.
4.3 Nigel Hugh Walter (b 1965), son of Stella Underhill
Born in Canada, 19 April 1965, the son of William Walter and Stella Walter, nee Underhill. Returning to England in 1965, he was educated at Marlborough College and Jesus College Cambridge. Although there are no records held as part of this collection, Nigel also worked with CMS. As a short term mission partner he went out to Islamabad to serve as project manager on an architectural project for St Thomas' Church, Islamabad 1987-1988, before qualifying as an architect in 1990. In 1990, he married Louise, nee Eskins; Nigel and Louise have three daughters.
Sources: The records; 'Thomas Valpy French', History of Missiology, URL: http://www.bu.edu/missiology/missionarybiography/e-f/french-thomas-valpy-1825-1891/, accessed 13 July 2018; C. E. Tyndale-Biscoe 'Thomas Russell Wade: a pioneer in Kashmir' London: CMS, 1921; H. U. Weitbrecht 'Reminiscences of the Rev. Thomas Russell Wade' in 'The Church Missionary Review', December 1914, pp 751-752; 'The Women of India and Christian work in the Zenana' by M. Weitbrecht available online through the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/womenindiaandch00weitgoog/ page/n234/mode/2up?q=%22Alice+Mary+Wade, accessed 14 August 2020; CMS Register of Missionaries, 1804-1928 and 1905-1918; Records of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society, Roll of Missionaries, volume 1 (CEZ/C/AM 1/1); 'Church Missionary Gleaner', volume 2, August 1875 and September 1889; 'India’s Women China’s daughters', May-June 1881, November-December 1888 and February 1934; 'Church Missionary Intelligencer and Record', May 1884, and May 1887; 'The Church Missionary Review', June 1927; S. Conceicao, 'Who was Mollie Ellis?', Quora (2018), URL: https://www.quora.com/Who-was-Mollie-Ellis-Why-did-a-Afridi-tribesman-kidnap-her-in-Pakistan-s-North-West-Frontier-in-1923, accessed 13 July 2018; L. A. Starr 'Vernon Harold Starr 1882-1918 and After', London, 1918; 'Mercy and Truth', July-August 1918 and January-February 1919; 'The Church Missionary Outlook', July 1923, May 1955 and July 1955; 'YES', July-August 1988; Dr Stella Walter, 'Royal Free Hospital: Missionaries', 'All in a Day's Work - Though Happily Not Every Day', nd [20th century]; 'The Bromsgrovian', volume 29, number 1, November 1914 (available online at http://www.bromsgrove-schoolarchive.co.uk.; accessed 18 August 2020); E. McGilvray 'Field Marshall Claude Auchinleck' [due December 2020]: Google Books preview available online at https://books.google.co.uk/, accessed 19 August 2020; Website of Ancestry.co.uk at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/genealogy/records/thomas-edgar-underhill24-j6bpz, accessed 19 August 2020; Church Missionary Society, Mission Partners' Fellowship Tributes, February 2020: in memoriam tribute to Dr (Lilian) Stella Walter by Nigel Walter. Available online at https://churchmissionsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/MPF_Tributes_Feb2020_8pp_LR.pdf. Personal communication with Alan Walter at the time of donation.