Saturday, 31 December 2016

Lise Rischard - a housewife from Luxembourg - British Secret Agent in WW1

Among the inspirational women of the First World War on my list is Lise Rischard, an 'ordinary' housewife from Luxembourg.   Officially neutral in WW1, the people of Luxembourg had suffered greatly during the wars that ravaged Europe in the previous years.   Lise's son by her first marriage - Marcel Pelletier - was a member of the French Olympic Team sent to the Olympic Games held in Stockholm in 1912.

During a visit to her son, who was in the French Army and in Paris before being sent to the Front, Lise was recruited to help the Allied cause.  Her story is amazing as she travelled from her home in Luxembourg in the area held by the Germans via Switzerland to Paris, which remained a free city during WW1, and then set up a network to provide vital information to the British.

I mention Lise in "No Woman's Land" but you can find out the whole amazing story in the book 'The Secrets of Rue St. Roch' by Janet Morgan (London: Allen Lane, 2004).

Friday, 23 December 2016

Talk and exhibition: Volunteers and Voters: World War 1 and its Legacy - Wednesday, 18th January 2017 6 - 7 p.m.

World War 1 enabled a number of Worcestershire women to develop their skills and spheres of influence through voluntary work and prepared them to use their newly acquired vote in 1918. 

This talk and exhibition, by University of Worcester Lecturer Professor Maggie Andrews, to be held at The Hive in Worcester on Wednesday, 18th January 2017, explores the legacy of The First World War for women such as 

Lady Isabelle Margesson, 
Mrs Hooper, 
Mary Pakington and 
Mrs Rusher 

who became Justices of the Peace, ran women’s organisations, wrote plays or campaigned for improvements in maternal and child welfare in the inter-war years.

These events are free of charge but booking is recommended.
Light refreshments are provided at the start of the event.
Wednesday, 18th January, 2017 from 6 – 7 p.m.

Book via
http://www.thehiveworcester.org/events.html

The Hive
Sawmill Walk
The Butts
Worcester
WR1 3PD

Marie Baudet (1864 – 1917) – French artist, writer, feminist and nurse

My very grateful thanks to Phil Dawes whose tireless research in response to my cry for help has produced much of the following information about Marie.

Marie was born Marie Ludivine Antoinette Dupuit in 1864 in Tagnon, Ardennes, France, which is about 28 kilometers from Rheims.  Her brother was Léon Dupuit and her great-nephew, Pierre Boucher – Léon’s grandson - was a Mayor of Tagnon.

In 1889, Marie married Victor Baudet, an accountant.

Marie became a nurse and worked in the French Hospital for Fishermen (Société Hôpitaux Français d’Islande) in Iceland that was set up in 1903 and in operation until 1912.   Marie was an ardent feminist and apart from French she also spoke Breton, Icelandic, Danish and English.  Some of Marie’s paintings were exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in Paris in 1907 and in 1913.   She also wrote a book about the beggars and tramps she loved to sketch. 

Marie undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and travelled to Jerusalem.  She was instrumental in obtaining a sacred relic - a piece of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified - for keeping in the church in Tagnon.   Marie also organised a roadside ‘Calvary’ for her home town. These Calvaries are a traditional, commemorative religious area outside many towns and villages in France.  The Calvary on the outskirts of Tagnon was a large replica cross and was officially unveiled on 1st June 1914 when a special ceremony was held to dedicate the cross.  Hundreds of people attended the ceremony, with special trains bringing people from Rheims for the occasion. Marie painted the murals of the grotto at the base of the cross.

During the First World War, Marie worked at the hospital set up in October 1914 in the Palais de Compiègne to treat victims of the outbreak of Typhoid Fever. 

Marie may have been based at the St. Paul Hospital in Rheims.  She was killed during a bombing raid in the Place de la République in Rheims while helping wounded soldiers into an ambulance on 6th April 1917.

The Salon de Paris was an art exhibition started in 1903 by Matisse and other artists to counterbalance the rather conservative Salon de Paris which was founded in 1667 and organised by the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
 
Photo:  French nurses descending from a horse-drawn ambulance in 1914.

Sources:  Bénézit 1976, I, p. 515. Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs.


Thursday, 15 December 2016

Henni Lehmann (1862 – 1937) – German artist, writer and social reformer.

With thanks to Debbie Cameron for finding this German artist.

"Fine art, in the strictest sense, is the first creative power in the world; it separates light and darkness, separates water and land; it creates animals and plants, the image of man, and the true artist Knows to breathe the breath of his soul into all, that it may live." (Henni Lehmann, 1914)

Henriette Straßmann was born on 10th October 1862 in Berlin. Her father, Wolfgang Straßmann (1821 - 1885), was a German physician, liberal politician and social reformer who was a Chairman of Berlin City Council.

In 1888 Henni married Karl Lehmann, a German legal scientist (1858 – 1918).  After their marriage they converted to Protestantism. The couple went to live in Rostock.

They had two children - Eva Fiesel (née Lehmann) (1891 - 1937) and Karl Leo Heinrich Lehmann, who became an archaeologist (1894 - 1960). From 1907 onwards, the family spent their holidays on the Island of Hiddensee. In 1909, Henni was one of the founding members of the Co-operative Shipping Company on the Island.  She was also very involved in the creation of better living conditions on the island.  In 1913 she gave the islanders a loan to build a house for the doctor and in 1914 she was one of the founders and first directors of Nature and Cultural Heritage of Federal Hiddensee.

Until the family moved to Göttingen in 1911, Henni Lehmann was chairman of Rostock Women's Association.   She campaigned for women to be allowed to have the same education as men and to be able to attend the most prestigious schools and universities.

During the First World War, Henni was director of the Göttingen Department of The National Women's Service (NFD) inside the Patriotic War Forum.

After her husband's death in 1918, Henni moved to Weimar.   During the Weimar Republic she joined the Socialist Democratic Party and became committed to helping the workers in their struggles.   Henni wrote socially motivated novels and gave lectures.  She was also a poet.

In 1919, Henni founded the artists group known as the Hiddensoer Künstlerinnenbund and also acquired a venue for holding exhibitions - the Kunstscheune, later called the Blaue Scheune - in Vitte.

From 1919 the Hiddensoer Artists met regularly in the Lehmann holiday home in Vitte.   Other members of the Group included Clara Arnheim , Elisabeth Büchsel and Käthe Loewenthal.

Diagnosed with Cancer, in order to spare her family – one of her children had died and the other had gone to live in America - Henni committed suicide on 18th February 1937.  Sources:  Debbie Cameron’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/1468972083412699/ and https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henni_Lehmann

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Book Review: “Menus, Munitions & Keeping the Peace The Home Front Diaries of Gabrielle West, 1914 - 1917”

Gabrielle West was born in 1883 and lived to celebrate her 100th birthday.  Her diaries were written as letters to her younger brother Michael, who worked for the Education Service in India and joined the 49th Bengal Regiment in 1918.   

 
Gabrielle’s diary begins in June 1914 and gives us a valuable insight into life in Britain just prior to the conflict.  Gabrielle worked in a variety of kitchens in convalescent hospitals and munitions factories and her diaries include details of how to feed a large number of people in wartime, which I found particularly interesting.

 
The munitions factories were targets of Zeppelin raids and Gabrielle describes some that she witnessed in great detail.    She also explains the layout of the factories and what each department produced, taking us on virtual tours – all illustrated with diagrams and drawings - which I found fascinating.

 
There was a brief period when Gabrielle was out of work. Her efforts to find paid employment are described in detail up to the moment when she and her friend responded to an advertisement in the women’s magazine “Home Chat” for women to join the newly formed Women’s Police Service to work at munitions factories. On 4th December 1916 Gabrielle became a woman police officer.   The Government's main concerns were the moral behaviour of the women workers who were doing dangerous work and being paid more than they had dreamed possible.  In the early days of their formation, women police did not have powers to make any arrests, in spite of some very hair-raising moments involving large numbers of women workers.   There is a wonderful photograph on page 127 showing Gabrielle and her fellow women police officers in their uniform, complete with tin helmets.

In 1917 the air-raids became more frequent, as did the problems with the workers in the factories, so Gabrielle and her colleagues had their work cut out to ‘keep the peace’.   The diaries end in May 1918 with a description of an explosion in the munitions factory in which Gabrielle was working at the time.  

Gabrielle’s Great Niece has added an Afterword that tells us that Gabrielle ran a successful tea room for a time after the war and though, like so many women of that generation, she never married, she had a full and happy life.   Also in the book you will find photographs of Gabrielle and her co-workers and background stories of Gabrielle’s family. 

 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it very highly – it is a very important contribution to the history of the First World War.  

“Menus, Munitions & Keeping the Peace The Home Front Diaries of Gabrielle West, 1914 - 1917” Edited by Avalon Weston and published by Pen & Sword, Barnsley, Yorkshire, 2016.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Sarah Broome Macnaughtan (1864 - 1916)


Sarah B. Macnaughtan was born in Scotland on 26th October 1864. She was the daughter of Peter Macnaughtan and his wife Julia nee Blackman who had a large family.   According to her niece, Betty Salmon (nee Keays-Young) who was married to Lionel Salmon and who edited Sarah's war diaries after her death, Sarah was generous, witty, energetic, vivacious, charming and very religious.  Sarah had many interests from music, literature, art, shooting, big game hunting, riding, travel - she went to The Argentine, Canada, South America, South Africa, the Middle East and India - and she adored 'adventure of every kind'. "As a girl she was unpunctual."  She was ambitious and clever but devoted to her family.  Her father, elder brother and a sister are mentioned in the summing up by Sarah's niece. 

Sarah was a writer of novels and plays, her first work being published in 1898.  When her parents died, Sarah left Scotland and moved to Kent.  She joined the Suffragettes, worked with the poor in London's East End, was a Red Cross volunteer during the Second Boer War and helped those who were suffering during the Balkan War.

When war broke out in August 1914, at the age of 50, Sarah Macnaughtan volunteered with the Red Cross and went to Belgium on 20th September 1914 with Mabel St. Clair Stobart's Group, arriving in Antwerp on 22nd September.

On 10th October as the Germans drew ever closer after the fall of Antwerp, Mrs Stobart took her group back to England but  Sarah remained behind and joined Dr. Hector Monro's Flying Ambulance Unit.
 
"This evening Dr. Hector Munro came in from Ghent with his oddly-dressed ladies, and at first one was inclined to call them masqueraders in their knickerbockers and puttees and caps, but I believe they have done excellent work. It is a queer side of war to see young, pretty English girls in khaki and thick boots, coming in from the trenches, where they have been picking up wounded men within a hundred yards of the enemy's lines, and carrying them away on stretchers. Wonderful little Walküres in knickerbockers, I lift my hat to you!

Dr. Munro asked me to come on to his convoy, and I gladly did so: he sent home a lady whose nerves were gone, and I was put in her place."   We know that May Sinclair was sent back to England suffering from Shell Shock after six weeks working in Belgium as Dr. Munro's Personal Assistant.
 
A few days later, Monro's Ambulance Unit reached Furnes and Sarah Macnaughtan was mentioned in British nurse Matilda Emily Clark's  "A War Nurse's Diary Sketches from A Belgian Field Hospital".  In October 1914 in a makeshift hospital in a Roman Catholic College in Furnes:  "In our ward there was a little elderly lady who quietly offered her services, and as she looked capable I sent her to clear away the evening meal and wipe down the tables.  She never bothered me again but quietly busied herself setting things in order.  Soon two big oil-lamps relieved the darkness and some large scissors that we had longer for lay to hand to rip the men's clothes off them.  The unassuming little helper had been out to buy them.  A few days after, when we had time to breathe, we were introduced.  It was Miss McNaughton, the writer of "A Lame Dog's Diary" and other books.

She was a delicate little woman, highly strung and nervous."  After helping the nurses out in the ward for several days, Miss McNaughton "procured a tiny room at the station and ran a soup-kitchen for the wounded.   Now, this sounds a homely and commonplace sort of occupation, but when you realise the circumstances you will know what courage it required." (pp. 31 - 33) 

After setting up soup kitchens for the Belgian troops and going to Russia and Persia, Sarah managed to get back to her home in London where she died on 24th June 1916.  She was exhausted after working as a volunteer orderly with The Red Cross from the early days of the war. Sarah was buried in Chart Sutton, a small village south of Maidstone in Kent.  
 
Sarah's war diary was published by her niece after her death and was dedicated to all who fought in the conflict and in particular Sarah's own nephews - Captain Lionel Salmon, 1st Bn. the Welch Regiment, Captain Helier Percival, M.C., 9th Bn. the Welch Regiment, Captain Alan Young, 2nd Bn. the Welch Regiment, Captain Colin Macnaughtan, 2nd Dragoon Guards and Lieutenant Richard Young, 9th Bn. the Welch Regiment.

Sarah McNaughton's "My War Experiences in Two Continents" is available as a download free on http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18364/18364-h/18364-h.htm

Matilda Emily Clark's "A War Nurse's Diary Sketches from a Belgian Field Hospital" is available as a download free on https://archive.org/stream/warnursesdiarysk00newy#page/n7/mode/2up

Sources:  

http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk
http://www.findmypast.co.uk
Sarah Macnaughtan's and the war nurse's books via the Internet.
and on Wikipedia

The photo is of Miss Sarah Macnaughton during WW1 from "A War Nurse's Diary" page 32

If anyone has any information about the nurse who wrote "A War Nurse's Diary Sketches from a Belgian Field Hospital" I would love to hear from them.  The story of her experiences as a nurse during the early days of the war is absolutely amazing.  She was at the fall of Antwerp and travelled in buses with some of the wounded British Marines. At one stage, she was obliged to return to London as it was felt unsafe for British civilians to remain in Belgium.  However, she was soon back in Belgium then France to continue nursing the wounded - both military and civilian. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Marie Baudet - French artist and nurse killed during an air raid

As you know, I am researching the women who were involved in WW1 from all nations for commemorative exhibitions.  Marie Baudet was French - born in Tagnon (Ardennes).  She lived in Rheims and painted the everyday scenes she saw there. Influenced by Gaugin, her work was exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1907 and 1913.   Marie is featured in Tim Cross's book "The Lost Voices of World War 1" (Bloomsbury, London, 1988) but I have not been able to find out much about Marie on the Internet.   She was apparently killed during an air raid on Rheims while nursing the wounded in either 1916 or 1917.

If anyone knows anything more about Marie - and has a photograph of her - please get in touch.

Marie's lovely painting of a market in Rheims is for sale via  http://harborviewantiques.com/product/marie-baudet-french-19th-20th-c-market-scene-in-reims/

Friday, 25 November 2016

Researching the women of The First World War who died or were killed

Jim Strawbridge is looking for photos of the graves of women who died or were killed during WW1.  For the past 18 years, Jim has been preparing a Register of WW1 serving female casualties for publication at his own expense as a lasting memorial to these oft-forgotten women. 

The Register will show the women in alphabetical order and will comprise a short biography together with photographs of them, their graves and  their memorials.  The photos Jim is currently looking for are listed on this thread of discussion on the Great War Forum website: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3929-wanted-photos-nationwide/&page=64

If you are able to send photos of graves to Jim, he will place your name against the photos you supply, as an  acknowledgement.  Jim's e-mail address is jimstrawbridge@coinsale.fsnet.co.uk

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Lelia, Lady Mathilda Samuelson (1852 – 1915) – Nurse in WW1

Lelia Lady Mathilda Samuelson was born in Belgium in 1852.  Her parents were Chevalier Leon Serena, who was born in Italy, and his wife Caroline, who was born in Belgium.  In 1874, Lelia married William Denny, a shipbuilder from Dumbarton, Scotland. They had two sons and two daughters.   The boys became Captains in the Dragoon Guards - Peter Robert Denny was killed during the Boer War and Leon Serena Denny was killed in Flanders on 13th May 1915.  

After the death of her first husband, Lelia married the Rt. Hon. Sir Bernard Samuelson, Bart and became step-mother of Sir H.B. Samuelson, Bart.  Sir Bernard died in 1905.

When war broke out, Lelia volunteered to work as a nurse in Belgium where her knowledge of languages would be of great use.  She went to work in the Anglo-Belgian Hospital Albert 1st in Rouen, France.  Lelia died on 18th June 1915 at the age of 63.  

With thanks to Sue Robinson of the Group Wenches in Trenches The Roses of No Man’s Land and Neil Thornton for the information.
Sue is campaigning for memorials to all the women of WW1. Find out more and donate on the Wenches' website:  http://www.wenchesintrenches.co.uk/
Neil has just published a book about Rorke’s Drift - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rorkes-Drift-Perspective-Neil-Thornton/dp/1781555532
Photo from the Dumbarton Cemetery website.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Margaret Dorothy Roberts (1870 - 1917) – British nurse

Margaret Dorothy Roberts was born on 30th October 1870 in Dolgellau  Union Workhouse in Merionethshire, Wales.  Her mother was Laura Roberts, her father unknown.   Margaret’s mother died from TB when Margaret was five years old.  She was educated at the Board School in Dolgellau and then St. Augustine’s Upper Grade Girls School in Kilburn, London. When she was thirteen, Margaret was sent to work for the Sisters of the Church in Kilburn, an Anglican order.  She took a job as a children’s nanny, trained as a nurse, specialising in fever nursing, and from 1900 to 1907 worked at the South Western Hospital in Stockwell.  Margaret emigrated to Australia in 1907, recruited to work in an orphanage south of Perth.  In 1908, Margaret went to work in the Children’s Hospital in Perth.

Margaret returned to Britain in September 1909 where she worked in the Park Hospital in Lewisham as a Staff Nurse.  In 1912, she went back to Australia as Matron of a ship taking domestic servants and immigrants to Australia.   In 1913 Margaret was appointed Sister in Queen’s Memorial Hospital, Fairfield.  Margaret’s next assignment was as nurse to an Aboriginal Settlement in Taroon, Queensland.

Margaret was 45 when WW1 broke out – too old to join the Australian Army Nursing Service - so she applied to join the British Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.  She was accepted, providing that she returned to Britain at her own expense.  Back in Britain, Margaret worked at the Fargo Military Hospital in Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, which treated the Australian and New Zealand troops based in Britain before being sent to the various theatres of war.  Many of those Australian soldiers died and are buried in Wiltshire cemeteries. (For information about the Australian soldiers buried in Wiltshire, see posts on www.fascinatingfactsofww1.blogspot.co.uk)

On 17th December 1917 Margaret began preparations for service in Egypt.  She boarded the Hospital Ship “Osmanieh” on 28th December 1917 and was drowned when the ship hit a mine, exploded and sank near the entrance to Alexandria Harbour.   With seven of her nursing colleagues who were also on board the “Osmanieh”, Margaret was buried in the Hadra War Memorial Cemetery in Alexandria, Egypt.   Margaret Dorothy Roberts is also commemorated on the QAIMNS memorial plaque in York Minster, York, UK.

Margaret Dorothy Roberts (1870 - 1917) – British nurse

Margaret Dorothy Roberts was born on 30th October 1870 in Dolgellau  Union Workhouse in Merionethshire, Wales.  Her mother was Laura Roberts, her father unknown.   Margaret’s mother died from TB when Margaret was five years old.  She was educated at the Board School in Dolgellau and then St. Augustine’s Upper Grade Girls School in Kilburn, London. When she was thirteen, Margaret was sent to work for the Sisters of the Church in Kilburn, an Anglican order.  She took a job as a children’s nanny, trained as a nurse, specialising in fever nursing, and from 1900 to 1907 worked at the South Western Hospital in Stockwell.  Margaret emigrated to Australia in 1907, recruited to work in an orphanage south of Perth.  In 1908, Margaret went to work in the Children’s Hospital in Perth.

Margaret returned to Britain in September 1909 where she worked in the Park Hospital in Lewisham as a Staff Nurse.  In 1912, she went back to Australia as Matron of a ship taking domestic servants and immigrants to Australia.   In 1913 Margaret was appointed Sister in Queen’s Memorial Hospital, Fairfield.  Margaret’s next assignment was as nurse to an Aboriginal Settlement in Taroon, Queensland.

Margaret was 45 when WW1 broke out – too old to join the Australian Army Nursing Service - so she applied to join the British Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.  She was accepted, providing that she returned to Britain at her own expense.  Back in Britain, Margaret worked at the Fargo Military Hospital in Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, which treated the Australian and New Zealand troops based in Britain before being sent to the various theatres of war.  Many of those Australian soldiers died and are buried in Wiltshire cemeteries. (For information about the Australian soldiers buried in Wiltshire, see posts on www.fascinatingfactsofww1.blogspot.co.uk)

On 17th December 1917 Margaret began preparations for service in Egypt.  She boarded the Hospital Ship “Osmanieh” on 28th December 1917 and was drowned when the ship hit a mine, exploded and sank near the entrance to Alexandria Harbour.   With seven of her nursing colleagues who were also on board the “Osmanieh”, Margaret was buried in the Hadra War Memorial Cemetery in Alexandria, Egypt.   Margaret Dorothy Roberts is also commemorated on the QAIMNS memorial plaque in York Minster, York, UK.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Dr. Isobel Addey Tate (1877 - 1917) - Irish Medical Doctor

Isobel Addey Tate was born in County Armagh, Northern Ireland on 1st May 1877.  Her parents were John Tate and his wife Isabella Cherry Tate.  Isobel was the fifth child and first daughter of the family. 

Isobel studied medicine at Queen’s College, Royal University of Ireland in Belfast and graduated in 1899 with Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Arts in Obstetrics degrees.

Isobel worked initially in Dublin and continued her studies. In 1902, she qualified as a Doctor of Medicine from the Royal University of Ireland. On the 1901 Census, Isobel was living in Beverley in Yorkshire and working as an assistant to a surgeon.

In 1904, she was awarded the Diploma of Public Health from the Victoria University, Manchester and was appointed Resident Medical officer at Burnley Union Infirmary. 

By June 1908 Isobel was the Medical Officer for the Inspection of School Children in Shropshire and in 1914 she was appointed Public Health Officer at Manchester City Council.

During the First World War, Isabel joined Mabel Stobart’s Serbian Relief Fund as senior surgeon with the unit, in charge of the X- ray section. Her Unit sailed for Greece in April 1915, and landed in Salonika on the 17th April 1915.  The unit moved north to Kragujevac in Serbia, which housed the Serbian arsenal.  Isobel contracted typhoid fever soon after she arrived in Serbia, and was sent to Belgrade Hospital but was sent home just before the retreat from Serbia. 

Isobel died on 28th January 1917 after a short illness - her death certificate stated that she died at 5 Victoria Junction, Sliema.  She was buried on  30th January 1917 with full military honours in Pieta Military Cemetery in Malta, where the following nurses were also buried: Staff Nurse Frances E. Brace of the QAUMNS, Staff Nurse Mary Clough, Nurse Helen Batchelor Taylor, a VAD with the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, and Staff Nurse Dorothy Watson of the Territorial Force Nursing Service, attached to St. John’s Military Hospital.

From the “Burnley Express” Newspaper of 13th February 1917

“Mrs Cunliffe, of Eanam Street, Blackburn, has received from her husband, Dr Riley Cunliffe (Royal Army Medical Corps), a letter describing the Military funeral, at Malta of Dr Isobel Tate.

“The funeral was quite an imposing ceremony,” writes Dr Cunliffe, “About 100 officers walked, with band, firing party, and some troops, as well as mounted police. The body was covered with the Union Jack, and drawn on a gun carriage. All the troops marched with reversed arms and dead slow. She was buried in the cemetery in the same reserved part of the ground where there are so many officers and men who have died here—Brigadier-General Lee, and others.”

In all, 82 lady doctors served in war hospitals in Malta during the First World War.

Additional information supplied and written by Andrew Thornton from “Burnley Express” and “Burnley Gazette” and Jean Siddall.

"The Roses of No Man’s Land" a WW1 song by Jack Caddigan and James Alexander Brennan

Many thanks to Sue Robinson of the Group Wenches in Trenches The Roses of No Man's Land for bringing the song "The Roses of No Man's Land" to my attention.
 
Sue Robinson is campaigning for recognition of all the women of WW1 and a special memorial is to be unveiled at Lochnagar Crater.   The Women of War Memorial will be unveiled at Lochnagar Crater, La Boisselle, France at 2.30 pm on 11/11/2016, just after the main ceremony.  All welcome.
To find out more about Sue’s work please see the website http://www.wenchesintrenches.co.uk/
The song was co-written by Jack Caddigan the lyricist (1879 - 1952) and James Alexander Brennan the song-writer (1885 - 1956). The lyrics were translated into French by Louis Delamarre and the song became popular during the First World War.
It was written as a tribute to the women who went to all the theatres of the conflict to nurse the wounded. The song is still in copyright but you can read both sets of lyrics - English and French - here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rose_of_No_Man%27s_Land
Photo: The cover of the sheet music to the song.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Gertrude Jekyll (1843 - 1932) - British Garden Designer, Writer and Artist

Gertrude was born in Mayfair in London, the fifth child of seven born to Captain Edward J.H. Jekyll of the Grenadier Guards and his wife, Julia, nee Hammersley.  The family moved to Surrey, where Gertrude grew up.   Gertrude studied art at South Kensington School of Art and formed the Arts and Crafts Movement with the architect Edward Lutyens (1885 – 1987), who also studied at the South Kensington School of Art. 

Beginning in 1888, when they first met while working on a house in Surrey, the pair worked together on creating homes of distinction such as this one in France: http://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens/les_bois_des_moutiers

After the end of the First World War Gertrude and Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was knighted in 1918, worked together on some of the cemeteries and memorials on the Western Front.  According to Anne Powell, Gertrude planned “…to plant rose bushes so every grave would fall under the shadow sometime during the day.  She extended the plan of an English country garden to the boundary planting, to reflect the hedgerows of home.” (p. 38).

Sir Edwin Lutyens gained fame when his work was reported in “Country Life” Magazine which began in 1897.   He was one of three architects commissioned by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which at that time was called The Imperial War Graves Commission, to design memorials and cemeteries.  Among his most famous memorials are The Cenotaph and Tower Hill Memorial in London and the Memorial to the Missing in Thiepval, Somme, France.

Sources:  Wikipedia and “Gardens Behind the Lines, 1914 – 1918 Gardens Found and Made on the Western and Eastern Front”, by Anne Powell, published by Cecil Woolf, London in 2015

Monday, 17 October 2016

Sue Robinson of the Facebook Group and website Wenches in Trenches The Roses of No Man's Land, with her band of loyal, willing helpers, is campaigning for recognition of the women who sacrificed so much during the First World War.   Sue has already succeeded in getting a seat placed at Lochnagar Crater in France and would like to have a commemorative statue placed somewhere in the UK.

Sue tells me that there is to be a granite memorial to all the women of the First World War placed at Lochnagar Crater in France on 11th November 2016.  

Find out more about Sue's work on the Wenches in Trenches website and or Facebook page:



Lochnagar Crater also has a website http://www.lochnagarcrater.org/

Photo: by kind permission of Sue Robinson - one of the Wenches with the Lochnagar Crater memorial seat, France 
 
Lucy London

Monday, 12 September 2016

Vera Barclay Update

My grateful thanks to those wonderful researchers Debbie Cameron and Jane Crossen who spotted Vera's grave recently.  Jane has taken some photos of Vera's grave.

 
 
I never realised until I read up about Vera that DIB DIB DIB was in fact 'Do Your Best' and DOB DOB DOB was 'Do Our Best'.
 
 
 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Vera Charlesworth Barclay (1893 - 1989) – British writer; co-founder of the Cubs (Scout Movement)

Vera used the pen-names Margaret Beech, Vera Charlesworth, Hugh Chichester

 “It is impossible for a woman, however observant, however experienced who has not been a boy, to understand, to be in tune with, the boy’s mind.  J.S. Wilson in the preface to “The Scout Way”, 1919, one of Vera’s many published works.

 
An e-mail from writer Fiona Mercey suggesting that I include Vera in my Inspirational Women of World War One exhibition prompted me to look into Vera’s fascinating life.

 
Vera was born in Hartford, Hertfordshire, UK on 10th November 1893. Her father was the Reverend Charles Wright Barclay, a Church of England Minister, and his wife, Florence Louisa Charlesworth, a writer.  Vera’s siblings were Magdalen (b. 1882), Muriel (b. 1883), Cyril (b. 1884), Ursula (b. 1886), Guy (b. 1887), Claudia (b.1895) and Angela (b.1900).  In 1901, Vera's father was Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Little Amwell, Hertford.  The girls were educated at home by a governess.

The family travelled regularly to Switzerland where Vera liked skiing and sledging.  She was one of the first women to try the Cresta Run.  At that time it was still unusual for women to wear anything but long dresses, so Vera's sporting outfits were skirts or riding breeches.  Vera injured her knee during one of those vacations.

Vera’s mother Florence became ill and was bed-ridden for a while.  During that time she began writing novels and in 1910 had a novel published that became No. 1 best-seller in America.

In 1912 Vera joined the Scout Movement, which began with a camping trip to Brownsea Island in Dorset in the summer of 1907 organised by Lieutenant-General Robert Baden Powell.  Baden Powell came up with the idea of the Scouts after successfully employing school boys as assistants during the siege of Mafeking in the Boer War in 1900.

Vera soon became one of the first Scoutmistresses.  She also noticed the eagerness of younger boys to emulate the older boys who were members of the Scout movement as their regular meetings looked like fun and decided to do something about it.

During the First World War, Vera volunteered to work with the Red Cross and went to the Red Cross Hospital in Netley, Hampshire.  

In 1916, encouraged by Baden Powell, Vera came up with the idea of having a similar group for younger boys and on 16th June 1916 the Wolf Cub section was formed at Caxton Hall in London.   Baden Powell used the ideas of his friend Rudyard Kipling in his “Jungle Book”.

Vera resigned from her nursing job, which had become more difficult due to her earlier knee injury, and concentrated on organising Cub packs in Britain.  Between 1923 and 1926, she went to Chamerande in France to set up Cub and Scout packs and train leaders. Vera went to live in France in 1931, returning to Britain in around 1939.

Retiring to Sheringham in Norfolk to be cared for by her niece, Vera died in Sheringham's St. Nicholas Nursing Home in 1989 and is buried in Sheringham Cemetery.

Netley Military Hospital was built on the south coast of Hampshire after the Crimean War and opened in 1863.  During WW1, a large Red Cross Hospital was constructed in huts to the rear of the main hospital building, with a capacity of around 2,500 beds.  Demolished in the 1970s, all that remains of the original building are the Hospital Chapel and Military Cemetery. http://www.netley-military-cemetery.co.uk/#   There is also a Facebook Page dedicated to the commemoration of Netley Military Hospital.

Sue Robinson of Wenches in Trenches set up the group in memory of her grandmother who nursed at Netley Hospital in WW1 http://www.wenchesintrenches.co.uk/-

Sources:  “The Years of Promise” by Cecil Roberts (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1968)



Fiona Mercey’s book about Vera’s scouting activities in France - “Le Grand Jeu de l’Enfance” - has recently been published by Carrick Publishing in France  

https://www.carrick.fr/librairie/formation-des-chefs/les-fondateurs/2344-vera-barclay-le-grand-jeu-de-l-enfance-9782913539518.html

Photo of Vera Barclay's grave in Sheringham taken by and reproduced with kind permission of Jane Crossen.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Elizabeth Jungmann (1894 – 1958) – German

Elizabeth was born in Lublinitz, Upper Silesia I 1894.  Her parents were Adolf and Agnes Jungmann and her siblings were Otto Jungmann and Eva Gabriele a sociologist whose married name was Reichmann.

Elizabeth served as a nurse on the Wester Front for the German Army during WW1.  After the war she became secretary/interpreter to Gerhart Hauptmann from 1922 – 1933.  She then worked for German poet Rudolf G. Binding who wanted to marry her but was prevented from doing so by his Nazi convictions.

Prior to the Second World War, Elizabeth went to live in the United Kingdom. In 1956 she married her friend Sir Max Beerbohm, whose secretary she became after the death of his first wife in 1951.

Elizabeth died in Italy on 28th December 1958.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Staff Nurse Nellie Spindler (1891 - 1917) - British WW1 nurse

Staff Nurse Nellie SPINDLER of the 44th Casualty Clearing Station, was a member of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS).

Staff Nurse Spindler was born in Wakefield in Yorkshire in 1891.  She was killed by a shell during an artillery bombardment on 21st August 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele, while working at the 44th Casualty Clearing station in Brandhoek, Flanders.  She was 28 years old.  According to reports, Nellie died in the arms of Minnie Wood, the Sister-in-Charge of the CCS - see the earlier post about Minnie Wood posted on 27th July 2016.

Nellie was the daughter of George and Elizabeth Spindler of Wakefield.   She was buried with full military honours in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery - Plot XVI, Row A, Grave  One of only two British female casualties of the Great War buried in Belgium. 


Source:  Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War and Free BMD


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Gabrielle M. Vassal (1880 - 1959) - writer and journalist

Gabrielle Maud Candler was born in Uppingham in the county of Rutland in England, her father Howard, was a schoolmaster from Islington, London who ran a boarding school in Uppingham.  He was born in 1848.  Her mother Edith Ellen, nee Tablor from Sutton Hall near Rochford in Essex, was born in 1846.  Gabrielle's siblings were Edward, Edith, Mary, Lucy, Alice, Walter, Arthur and Bertha.   By 1901, the family had moved to Hampstead in London by which time her elder brother Edward worked as a solicitor and Arthur as an articled clerk to an accountant.  Her youngest sister Bertha Nelly studied art.

Gabrielle married Joseph Marguerite Jean Vassal in Hampstead in 1903.  During the Napoleonic wars a Joseph Vassal was a prisoner of war.  Joseph was a French doctor.  Gabrielle travelled with her husband to his various postings as a doctor to French colonies, writing about her experiences.  She was adept at shooting and liked to go hunting.

During the First World War Gabrielle's husband served with the small division of the French Army that joined the British contingent in Gallipoli.   His letters to Gabrielle during that time under the title "Uncensored Letters from the Dardanelles" were initially published by Gabrielle in French.  She translated the letters into English and had them published in 1916. You can read the English version of Joseph's letters to his wife here: https://archive.org/stream/uncensoredletter00vassuoft#page/n11/mode/2up  In 1918 Gabrielle had a novel published - "A Romance of the Western Front".

During the Second World War Gabrielle joined the French Resistance.   

Was she Countess von Hoenstadt as some publishers seem to think?  Katrina Gulliver thinks probably not :  ttp://nq.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2009/08/20/notesj.gjp095.short 

Gabrielle died in England in 1959.  

She sounds amazing - I should love to find out more about Gabrielle.

Some of her books are available as free downloads : "On and Off Duty in Annam" by Gabrielle Vassal is available on Archive:   https://archive.org/details/onoffdutyinannam00vassiala

"In and around Yunan Fou" about their time in Vietnam https://archive.org/stream/inroundyunnanfou00vassrich/inroundyunnanfou00vassrich_djvu.txt

With thanks to The Gallipoli Association whose Autumn 2016 Magazine "The Gallipolian" has an article about Gabrielle on page 65.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Dorothy Peel, OBE (1868 - 1934) - British businesswoman, writer and journalist

Constance Dorothy Evelyn Bayliff was born on 27th April 1868 in Ganarew, Herefordshire, the seventh of nine children, four of whom died in infancy.  Her parents were Richard Bayliff, an Army Officer, and his wife Henrietta, nee Peel.   Dorothy's siblings were Charlotte, born 1862, Hugh, born 1964, Richard born 1867 and Rosa, born 1873.  The family moved to Bristol where the boys were educated at Clifton Academy.

Dorothy was initially educated by her parents - education for children did not become compulsory in Britain until a law was passed in 1880 and an Act of Parliament decreed that all children between the ages of five and ten years old had to be educated either in a school or at home.   At that time, 'boys were educated intellectually, girls socially - they were expected to marry someone able to support them financially.  Not to be married was to announce oneself a failure.   Legally women belonged to their husbands.  It was the duty of a woman to provide a comfortable home life, with the help of servants, for her family'. (p. 15).   Dorothy was brought up to know that "it was the duty of wealthier people to do what they could to help the poor".

When Dorothy was seventeen, the family moved to Twickenham.  Dorothy's cousin Mrs Talbot Cole wrote articles for "The Queen" newspaper which Dorothy's sister Charlotte illustrated.   Dorothy wrote an article which she entered into a competition run by "Woman" magazine and she won.   When Arnold Bennett took over the post of editor of "Woman" he encouraged Dorothy and helped her to become a professional writer, writing mainly about domestic matters and cookery.  In addition to writing for the "Daily Mail" and other publications, Dorothy also ran her own business - a hat shop.   She lectured and gave demonstrations on the art of cookery.

In 1894, Dorothy married her second cousin Charles Steers Peel, an engineer, in St. Paul's Church, Knightsbridge.  As well as working, Dorothy brought up a family and managed the household.  Dorothy and Charles  had two daughters and lost a third child.   Once married, Dorothy wrote under the name of Mrs C.S. Peel.

"It needed the war to accustom us to women in trousers" (p.56) because until then, "women dribbled about in muddied petticoats which cramped their movements and added to the fatigue of their tasks." (p.63).   During the First World War, Dorothy ran a club for the wives of men in the forces, continued with her charity work among the poor and co-directed the Ministry of Food during the period when food was rationed.  In 1918, she was given the editorship of the women's page of the 'Daily Mail"  For her services during WW1, in 1919 Dorothy was awarded the Order of the British Empire.  

Dorothy's account of her life "Life's Enchanted Cup: An Autobiography 1872 - 1933" was published in 1933.

Dorothy died on 7th August 1934 in Kensington.   

All quotes from "The Life and Times of Dorothy Peel, OBE Bicycles, Bloomers and Great War Recipes",
 by Dorothy's great-granddaughter Vicky Straker, published by Pen & Sword, Barnsley, 2016.

For a review of the book please see http://fascinatingfactsofww1.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/review-bicycles-bloomers-and-great-war.html

Lady Alda Hoare (1861 - 1947)

I had not realised before reading Deb Fisher's weblog about her recent visit to Stourhead, a National Trust property in Wiltshire, that the house and gardens are in Mere.  Shame on me!  I used to live in Salisbury yet I never visited Stourhead.  By a coincidence, one of the soldier poets featured in the Somme Poets exhibition and book, Colin Mitchell (1890 - 1918), was from Mere :(http://forgottenpoetsofww1.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=somme+poets).

Deb, who is the Secretary of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, has written a very interesting account and in it mentions Lady Alda Hoare and her First World War activities. 

Alda Anne Weston was born in 1861 in Weymouth, Dorset.

Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare was born in 1865 in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire

They met when they were children and were married in December 1887 in Bicester.  After the wedding, they lived at Wavedon House, Cross End, Wavedon, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, where their only son Henry Colt Arthur, known as Harry, was born in 1889.

Henry senior inherited a Baronetcy from his cousin Sir Henry Ainslie and the estate known as Stourhead in Stourton, Mere, Wiltshire, went with the title.  As the property had been abandoned and closed for ten years, the Palladian-style house and grounds were in a very dilapidated condition.  Henry and Alda Hoare set about restoring the house and gardens to its former glory.       

Harry, who joined the Dorset Yeomanry at the outbreak of war, was badly wounded fighting in Egypt and died of his injuries in Alexandria on 19th December 1917.   At their home Stourhead, Henry and Alda welcomed recuperating soldiers from the Red Cross Hospital in Mere and Lady Hoare organised tea parties and entertainment. 

Henry and Adla died within hours of each other in 1947, and, after being inherited by a nephew, the house was given to the nation.

During the Centenary years of the First World War, the National Trust is holding special events at Stourhead to commemorate the work of Henry and Alda Hoare and the life of their son Harry, so now is the time to plan a visit.

Sources:

Deb Fisher's weblog:  http://sassoonfellowship.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/a-wiltshire-tragedy.html

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/features/harrys-story

http://www.theftr.co.uk/remembering-harry-and-alda-at-stourhead/

http://www.wiltshiremagazine.co.uk/out-about/behind_closed_doors_1_1632804

Find my Past and Free BMD

Photo from http://www.ntsouthwest.co.uk/2014/03/harrys-story-tells-how-the-first-world-war-changed-the-future-for-stourhead/ 

On the 1901 Census Henry and Alda had nine live-in servants and lived at Stourhead, Stourton, Mere, Wiltshire, England, which was a Palladian-style manor house with beautiful gardens.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Matilde Bonnet - Italian woman WW1 doctor

With thanks to Elena Branca from the Italian Red Cross for this information about an Italian woman doctor in WW1.  Another name for the list of Italian women doctors in WW1 posted earlier.

Matilde Bonnet, born on 29th November 1879, was the daughter of Protestant Pastor Jules Bonnet.  In 1898, Matlda enrolled to study medicine in Catania, before moving to Turin in 1901, where she graduated in 1904 with 105 out of 110 marks, qualified as a doctor and pharmacist.   Matilda then joined the Italian Red Cross (CRI) and served at the Red Cross Hospital in Ivrea during the First World War.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Women porters on the Italian Front in WW1

Italy joined the conflict on the side of Britain in May 1915. Troops from the Italian Army fought along her border with Austria in the mountains of the Italian Alps, on the Western Front and also in the Middle East.

Due to the large number of troops needed on the Italian Front during the First World War, women were used as porters to take supplies up to the front-line in the mountains.  The women who volunteered for the work were aged between 16 and 60 years. They wore a red arm band with an identification number stamped on it.   

They hauled loads of concrete and wire as well as ammunition, food and supplies for the troops in the mountains.  Although all the women were extremely brave in very harsh conditions and worked hard clearing snow away as well as delivering supplies, three of them stood out as particularly brave: Maria Muser Olivotto, Maria Silverio Matiz, Rosalia Primes and Maria Plozner Menthyl.   Maria Plozner Menthyl was one of the leaders, encouraging her co-workers when they were tired and urging them to pray when they felt their courage slipping when they came under fire.

On 15th February 1916 after delivering supplies, Maria and her friend were resting before returning to their base, when they came under fire from an Austrian sniper.  Maria was shot and badly wounded. She died in a field hospital at Paluzza a few hours later and was buried with full military honours in the cemetery at Timau.  Maria, whose husband was fighting with the Italian Army at Carso, left four children - the eldest was ten and the youngest six months.

In 1997, the Italian President awarded the italian gold medal for military bravery - The Motu Proprio - to Maria Plozner Menthyl to commemorate all Italian the women porters of WW1.  The medal was presented to Dorina - Maria's daughter.  

With thanks to Elena Branca of the Italian Red Cross for posting a link about Italian women porters in The First World War:  http://www.cimeetrincee.it/portatri.htm