Elizabeth Ellen Kershaw was born in Hackney on 12th August 1893. She was the second eldest daughter of Ann Heath (born 1871, Hackney) and James Meadowcroft Kershaw (born 1870, Rochdale) an engineer fitter.
Elizabeth Kershaw married Thomas Griffiths Hughes, a mercantile clerk. The couple had three children: Muriel Hughes (29th July, 1914), Jack Hughes (11th March, 1920) and Stella Hughes (5th June, 1926).
During the First World War her husband served in the Royal Army Medical Corps.The RAMC operated the army's medical units and provided medical detachments for the infantry, artillery and other military units. It is believed he was based in Staffordshire. According to Elizabeth, he spent much of the time in an isolation ward because it was discovered that he was a diphtheria carrier.