A rare scrapbook created by a World War One nurse has made its way to Wiltshire and will go under the hammer for over £1,000.

Belonging to Madeline Riva Baxter, born in July 1890 in Lancashire, the scrapbook is expected to attract international collectors, museum curators and military enthusiasts to Royal Wootton Bassett’s new auction house.

The book primarily covers the years 1918 to 1919 when Madeline was volunteering with the British Committee of the French Red Cross in the Red Cross canteens of Vitry-le-Francois.

During that time, she witnessed destruction on the frontline in Vitry, which was at the centre of fighting during the First Battle of the Marne.

However, records of Madeline show that she was also a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment working as a volunteer nurse before sailing to France.

Swindon Advertiser: The scrapbook details Madeline's experiences from 1918 to 1919.The scrapbook details Madeline's experiences from 1918 to 1919. (Image: RWB Auctions)

The scrapbook includes newspaper clippings, postcards of Vitry-le-Francois, and unpublished photos of prisoners of war, African American troops and named military personnel.

Alongside these are Madeline’s own drawings and inscriptions, as well as official documents and personal correspondence.

The book will go under the hammer on Thursday, January 25, with a price estimate of £1,000 to £1,500.

Swindon Advertiser: The scrapbook has the Red Cross emblem on it.The scrapbook has the Red Cross emblem on it. (Image: RWB Auctions)

“This is a rare account of the experiences of a woman during the war close to the frontline and will be of interest to many,” said head auctioneer Gareth Wasp.

“Red Cross canteens are a poorly understood function of the First World War’s female-dominated civilian voluntary services. 

“Her scrapbook charts her journey via Le Havre, her work in the canteen and her social life among her fellow volunteers and the French, British and American soldiers moving through the region.”

In the end, Madeline Riva Baxter outlived both world wars and died in 1975 in Shropshire, aged 85. 

Her scrapbook is one of the first lots going under the hammer at the newly opened RWB Auctions in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Set up by silverware and coin dealer Jon White, the auction house sits across the road from the Old Bank Antiques Centre which he launched in 2019.

On January 15, 2024, Jon and his team welcomed members of the community to the grand opening of the £3 million auction house on 144 High Street.

The two-day sale on Wednesday, January 24 and Thursday, January 25, will be RWB Auction's first official sale since the grand opening and it will feature over 1000 lots including Madeline's scrapbook.