Friday, 1 December 2017

Book Review: "The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode"

“The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode” is an extremely important social history record of the way of life of middle class people in Britain that disappeared completely after the First World War.   Edited by her great-nephew Michael Goode, and with a Foreword by Sir Chris Clark - Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University - Mabel’s diary takes us through the early days of the war and tell us how people at home saw the conflict develop and the effect it had on their lives.   Michael explains that Mabel’s perception of the war comes mainly from what she read in the newspapers – the quote from Lord Northcliffe about news at the start of Chapter two is particularly telling.  

 In the first seven chapters, Michael Goode explains the background to Mabel’s diary and her perception of the war and gives us photographs and biographical details about the three Goodes - Mabel and her two brothers, Henry, who became a doctor, and Stuart, who joined the British Army.  As teenagers, they spent some time living and studying in Germany.

Also included are copies of WW1 posters and postcards, as well as family photographs which serve to illustrate the text of Mabel’s diary.   There is also an index, a bibliography and explanatory notes on the text.

I was disappointed to find the final entry in Mabel’s diary was on 10th December 1916 as I would have loved to have read more of her writing.  Why did Mabel not continue writing her diary?  Was she too busy – we know that she studied art and after the war earned her living through painting.  During the war she knitted socks for the soldiers and bought jute to make sandbags to send to the troops at the front.   Mabel also helped out with hay-making and made cakes and so on to send to her brothers who were serving abroad.   There is however an Epilogue which explains what happened to Mabel and Henry after the war and a delightful unrequited love story.  What, I wonder, happened to Stuart? 

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was particularly interested to read about the day-to-day details of Mabel’s life.  During the war she lived in York with her brother Henry who had a medical practice there and we learn that Mabel helped ‘write out the bills’ – for there was no National Health Service in those days and people had to pay for the services of a doctor.    Mabel writes about the threat from Zeppelins – I did not know that the signal for imminent danger from Zeppelins was to lower the gas pressure which made the gas lights dim as a warning.  Mabel then describes how the household members took refuge in the basement.  I was amazed that Mabel used the word ‘duvets’ to describe bedding as I had no idea the word was in use during the early part of the 20th Century.  I imagine the Goodes must have brought the duvets back from Germany because at that time, people in Britain used flat sheets, blankets, bed-spreads and eiderdowns.

I was also delighted to discover that Mabel wrote poetry and several of her poems were published in the local press and are included in the book.   I can therefore add Mabel Goode to my list of Female Poets of the First World War and write up an exhibition panel about her.  I wonder if she wrote any other poems?

“The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode”, published by Pen & Sword History, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, £19.99.  For further details, please see

Jemima Wilson (1893 - 1917) - Scottish

JEMIMA WILSON, Service No. 3812. Gateshead Hostel, Member, Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps.

Jemima died of accidental injuries on 2nd December 1917. She was born in Scotland in 1893. Her parents were James and Margaret Wilson, of Ingleston Cottage, Moniaive, Dumfriesshire and her siblings were John (b. 1895), Thomas (b. 1896) and William (b. 1898).

Jemima was buried in Newcastle-upon-Tyne St Andrew’s and Jesmond Cemetery, Grave Reference: Q. U. 364. (Sources:  Find my Past and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War)

With thanks to Sabine Declerq in Belgium for finding this report:

The 'Dumfries and Galloway Standard' wrote on the 15th December 1917 about Jemima's death:

“Miss Jemima Wilson, aged 24, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Wilson, Ingleston Cottage, Moniaive, met her death under tragic circumstances. She was in service with Viscountess Baranton in London, and she recently left her employment there and joined the kitchen staff of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (W.A.A.C.) at Bensham, near Gateshead-on-Tyne, UK.  She went to turn on a tap to fill a boiler, and in order to reach the tap she had to stand on a box to get on to a bench. On stepping off the box the bench tilted, and she fell, upsetting some cans of hot tea, which scalded her badly about the arms and legs. She was immediately attended to, and was taken to a hospital, but she never rallied, death being due to blood poisoning. She was well liked by her girl workers, and she was buried with full military honours.

 When she was a girl she lived for a long time with her aunt and uncle, Mr and Mrs Johnstone, Cargenhelm Lodge, near Dumfries. Her brother, Private Tom Wilson, K.O.S.B., was killed at the Somme last year. Another brother is serving with the forces. Much sympathy is expressed for her parents in their bereavement.

Another of her brothers, John Wilson, served as a signaller in the Seaforth Highlanders, and another, Walter Wilson, served in the Royal Navy.”

Source: A. B. Hall & The Glencairn Memorial Book & Gladys Cuttle & Teesside Archives.
If anyone has a photograph of Jemima or any more information, please get in touch.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Dr. Elsie Inglis (1864 - 1917) – Scottish doctor and Suffragist

Elsie Maud Inglis was born on 16th August 1864 in Naini Tai, India where her father, John Forbes David Inglis, was a Civil Servant working with the East India Company. Elsie’s mother was Harriet Lowis Inglis, nee Thompson.

Educated privately, two years after the death of her Mother (1885), Elsie enrolled to study medicine at the newly opened Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women.  After she qualified, Elsie worked at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson New Hospital for Women in London and then at a Maternity Hospital in Ireland, before setting up her own medical practice in Edinburgh.

Elsie worked closely with the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies and in 1914 she set up the Scottish Women’s Hospitals.  The SWH supplied units consisting of women doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, orderlies and cooks for foreign assignments.  After being turned down by the British War Office, Elsie offered her units to France and was accepted.  SWH units served during WW1 in France, Malta, Romania, Russia, Salonika and Serbia.  

Elsie travelled with the unit which went to Serbia in 1915 and was captured by the Austrians and repatriated to Britain where she began to collect funds to equip a unit to be sent to Russia.   In April 1916 she was awarded the Order of the White Eagle by Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia. 

In 1916 Elsie went with a SWH unit to Odessa in Russia but was forced to return home in 1917 as she had developed cancer.  Elsie died in Newcastle-upon-Tyne immediately following her return to Britain, on 26th November 1917.  She was buried in Dean Cemetery, Dean, west of Edinburgh.

Commemorative events arranged to mark the Centenary of the death of Dr. Inglis are being organised in Scotland.  To find out more, follow this link:


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Mercedes Tiber (1898 – 1988) – British WW1 VAD - can anyone help identify Mercedes?

 Is this Mercedes?
Mercedes Isabel Tiber was born on 22nd June 1898 in Gibraltar. Her parents were Anthony B. Tiber, b. 1865 and Amelia Liza Tiber, b. 17th June 1865. Mercedes’ siblings were: Ernest L. Tiber, born in 1894 and Louis A. Tiber in 1897.  
By 1911 the family had moved to England and were living in Railway Street, Chatham, Kent.  Anthony Tiber's occupation was described as 'Manager'.  The family moved to the Portsmouth area where Anthony B. Tiber died in 1930.  Mercedes and her mother were living in Victoria Grove, Portsmouth in 1939.  Mercedes died in 1988 - her death was registered in Petersfield, Hampshire.  (Source: Find my Past)

During the First World War Louis served in the Northumberland Fusiliers (after the war he joined the RAF) and Mercedes joined a local Voluntary Aid Detachment as a clerk.  She worked in a laboratory in Higham and then at Fort Pitt Military Hospital in Kent.

Mercedes’ WW1 photo album came into the possession of Mick Halliday and he picks up the story:  “About 27 years ago I was given a photo album that my aunt rescued from a nursing home, it was to be disposed of, as the owner had died some years previous. My aunt gave me the album as she considered it too nice to be placed on the bonfire with the rest of the deceased’s belongings. I don’t believe the person was ever married or had any close family.

The album showed pictures from the First World War and just after, and was the record of VAD nurses from Kent. The person in question and owner of the album was called, Mercedes Isabel Tiber and she was born in 1898 in Gibraltar.

I have studied the album on many occasions and still do not know which one is Mercedes. I think she moved to Portsmouth/Southsea area in the 1920’s (possibly Victoria Grove, then Outram Rd). She was still living in Southsea in 1976 and died in 1988 at West Meon.

The album contains 236 photographs, mainly of Kent, but there are some of Southsea, Chichester and Gosport and some of Portsmouth Dockyard. I have researched it over the years and something in the back of my mind seems to think Mercedes was a violin or music teacher when she lived in Southsea, unfortunately I can’t remember why I think this, (possibly from a Kelly’s Directory). There are some amazing photos in the album, especially of wounded First World War Soldiers

I applied to the Red Cross for information and found out she worked in the Laboratory at Higham and Fort Pitt Military Hospital in Kent.

Before moving to Portsmouth, Mercedes worked at the Fort Pitt Military Hospital, which in itself has great historic significance because Florence Nightingale started a medical school there which later moved to Netley. The building used to house Fort Pitt Military Hospital became a school in 1921.”

Mick Halliday posted many of the photographs from Mercedes' album on Debbie Cameron’s Facebook Page Remembering Women on the Home Front WW!.  If anyone knows anything about Mercedes and her family please get in touch.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

VADs in The First World War - British Voluntary Aid Detachments

When you hear the acronym VAD these days, you tend to think ‘nurse’ but there is rather more to those initials – a whole network of organisations in fact. From 1915 onwards, the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment recruited thousands of women to be clerks, cooks, drivers, orderlies, cleaners and so on as well as nurses.

The idea of the Voluntary Aid Detachments came about because during the South African War (Boer War), the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade supplied 2,000 men and orderlies to care for the sick and wounded.  In 1905 The British Red Cross Society was founded with the aim of supplying help for home defence during wartime.  The organisation received its Royal Charter in 1908.  With the consent of the War Office, the Red Cross set up Voluntary Aid Detachments as a supplement to the Territorial Medical Service in 1909/1910.  A great many Voluntary Aid Societies already existed in Britain at that time, but they all acted independently.  At first the Order of St. John in Jerusalem Ambulance Brigade and the British Red Cross were the main organisations supplying volunteers, but Territorial Force Association V.A. Detachments already existed, so it was decided that these Detachments should be co-ordinated and that the County system, which had been followed by the Territorial Force Association, should be adopted.  

V.A. Detachments were composed of groups of men and women volunteers and performed many different roles, not solely nursing.   These Voluntary Aid Detachments formed part of the technical reserve and their duties included transport, the organisation of rest stations and auxiliary hospitals, as well as nursing.  

The Red Cross Archive is wonderful for researching VADs in WW1 and most of their records are now available on line.  There is also a facility for posting photographs of unidentified VADs.

Friday, 3 November 2017

"Tipperary to Flanders Fields" commemorating WW1 Remembrance Weekend 2017, Kent, UK

The UK Kent-based Actors’ Co-operative Katapult Productions presents "Tipperary to Flanders Fields" which commemorates the First World War in words and music, using some of the songs and poems from the era.  Some of the content tells the story of the women in WW1 in their own words.  

Devised and directed by Michael Thomas, the performers will be Julia Burnett, Marie Kelly, Alan Simmons and Ann Lindsey Wickens.

Performances of “Tipperary to Flanders Fields” will be held during Remembrance Weekend 2017 at the following venues:

The Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne, ME10 4DN on 11th November 2017 at 7.30pm;

at The Astor, Deal, CT14 6AB on 12/11/2017 at 4pm;

and at The Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, RM11 1QT on 13/11/2017 at 2.30pm.

Tickets available from the box offices of the theatres.

Initial information shared from Remembering Women on the Home Front Facebook page, with further information provided by Katapult Productions.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Elizabeth Lucas (1873 - ?) - British writer

Elizabeth was born Florence Elizabeth Gertrude Griffin in 1873 in Hampstead, London.  Her father, James Theodore Griffin was an agricultural engineer who had held a commission in the American Army.  Elizabeth’s mother, Elizabeth E. Griffin, was born in Scotland.  Elizabeth had a brother, William Hall, born in 1857 and a sister Ethel M., born in 1873 and the family lived in Hampstead in London, UK.  Elizabeth became a writer.

In 1897 Elizabeth married the Quaker poet, writer, journalist and publisher Edward Verrall Lucas in Hampstead.  Their daughter Audrey was born in 1898.

In 1915, with financial backing from British writer J.M. Barrie (best remembered for “Peter Pan”) and help from the Society of Friends, Elizabeth set up and ran a home for orphaned and wounded children in the Chateau Bettancourt, near Rheims, close to the Belgian border in France. Audrey Lucas helped out at the refuge during the school holidays.  

After the war, Elizabeth and Edward went their separate ways.

Photograph:  Photographer unknown.  Chateau de Bettancourt c. 1916. Assembled staff at the orphanage refuge. In the middle of the middle row are Audrey Lucas, the Refuge Matron and Elizabeth Lucas.  The photograph was previously published in the book “Dear Turley” in 1942.

Kevin Telfer "Peter Pan's XI" (Sceptre, 2010)
Andrew Birkin "J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys" (Constable, London, 1979) and Find my Past

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Lady Randolph Churchill (1854 – 1921) – American born socialite (mother of the British soldier and politician, Sir Winston Churchill)

Reading Siegfried Sassoon’s “Siegfried’s Journey, 1916 – 1920”, I noticed a reference to Lady Randolph Churchill:  “I had already become known to Lady Randolph at the Lancaster Gate Hospital, where she acted as a sort of Olympian head-matron.” (p. 101).  

I had to find out more about the 'Olympian' woman, and by a curious coincidence, the following day in a charity shop I found a book that answered all my questions.

Jennie Jerome was born in New York on 9th January 1854.  She was the second of four daughters born to Leonard Jerome, a New York financier who made and lost several fortunes, and his wife, Clarissa, nee Hall, who was known as Clara.  Jennie’s sisters were Clarita, later known as Clara, (1851 – 1935), Camille (1855 – 1863) and Leonie (1859 – 1943).   The sisters were brought up in New York society to be accomplished horsewomen and musicians.  Strikingly beautiful, their father ensured they were well educated and taught to speak several European languages.  They were encouraged by their father to be strong, independent women and from their mother they learnt the importance of ensuring a ‘harmonious family life’.

According to Kehoe, society life in New York during the American Civil War (1861 - 1865) continued much as before.   In 1867 the family travelled to France where they lived in Paris and were presented at the Court of the Empress Eugénie.  Jennie attended a boarding school outside Paris.

During the Franco-Prussian War (19th July 1870 – 10th May 1871), the Jerome women left Paris on the last train before the Prussians began the Siege of the city.  They took refuge in England, first in Brighton then in London, returning on a visit to Paris - a ruined city - in the winter of 1871.

Jennie met Lord Randolph Churchill, the third son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough, at a reception on board the ship “Ariadne” during a summer vacation in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, UK in 1873.   The couple were married on 15th April 1874 at the British Embassy in Paris.  They had two sons – Winston (1874 – 1965) and John (1880 – 1947).

After the death of Lord Randolph in 1895, Jennie continued her life as a socialite and during the Second Boer War (October 1899 – May 1902), she helped to raise funds to equip a hospital ship to send to South Africa to treat wounded soldiers. Jennie chaired the American Ladies Hospital Ship Fund and American millionaire Bernard Nagel Baker, founder of the Atlantic Transport Company, lent his steam ship “Swansea” for use as a hospital ship, which was fitted out and re-named the “Maine”.  Jennie travelled to South Africa aboard the “Maine”, to help keep the peace between the American nurses and the British officers.  The photograph shows Jennie seated among the nurses, clad in white like the nurses and wearing a distinctive Red Cross armband.  For her work during the Boer War, Jennie was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal in 1902.

Although I have not been able to find any further reference to Jennie’s WW1 work, it seems obvious to me that she continued to help out. Apart from her work at the Lancaster Gate Hospital, in 1916 she published a book called “Women’s War Work”.   Jennie died after surgery following an accident, on 29th June 1921 and was buried in the Churchill Family plot in St. Martin’s Church, Bladon, Oxfordshire, UK.

Jennie’s outstanding legacy lived on in her son who became one of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers and later accepted a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.



“Siegfried’s Journey 1916 – 1920” by Siegfried Sassoon, published by Faber and Faber, London, 1945 and

“Fortune’s Daughters: The Extravagant Lives of the Jerome Sisters: Jennie Churchill, Clara Frewen and Leonie Leslie” by Elisabeth Kehoe, published by Atlantic Books, London in paperback 2005.

Internet sites: 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Margaret Anabella Campbell Gibson, MM (1877 - 1918) - Administrator (= Officer), WAAC

Remembering today Margaret Anabella Campbell GIBSON, M.M., Unit Administrator (equivalent to the rank of Officer in the Men’s Army) – of the 1st Hostel, Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps, who died on 17th September 1918.   

Margaret Anabella Campbell Elliott was born in Mauritius on 12th July 1877. Her parents were Thomas Elliott, C.M.G. and his wife, Georgina Celia Campbell Elliott.  

Margaret married John MacDougall Gibson, a Captain in the British Army.  She was the first member of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) or, as the Corps later became known, the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, to be awarded a Military Medal for ‘conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of a QMAAC Camp during an enemy air raid’.  Mrs Gibson was buried in Mont Huon Military Cemetery in Le Treport, Seine-Maritime, France, where two other women who died serving during WW1 are buried.

I found the photograph of Margaret that is featured here on the weblog of Nick Metcalfe and contacted him at once.  Nick has kindly given my permission to use the photo, which, he tells me, is now out of copyright. Nick told me that the source of the photo is: ‘For King and Country: Officers on the Role of Honour.’ (19 October 1918). Illustrated London News. Issue 4148, Vol CLIII, p 15.  My thanks to Nick Metcalfe for his help

For a review of a recently-published book about the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, please see an earlier post on the weblog.

Further information from Nick’s website:

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Review of “The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France 1917 – 1921” by Samantha Philo-Gill, published by Pen & Sword History, Barnsley, 2017.

These days, when women serve in the British Armed forces alongside their male colleagues, it is all too easy to forget how different things were a hundred years ago.

Drawing on official documents, letters and diaries written by those involved from the WAAC’s inception in 1917, through the change of name to the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, disbandment in 1920, founding of the WAAC Old Comrades Association, up to the laying up of the Corps’ flag in Guildford Cathedral in 2012 and present day commemorations, this book gives us the story of one of the Corps in which women served during the First World War.  It is a reminder of the on-going struggle for emancipation that women in Britain had in the early years of the 20th Century.

Philo-Gill takes us on a voyage of discovery finding out about the background to the setting up of the Corps at a time when Britain was in desperate need of men to fight at the front and the women who were brought in to help.  As she points out, this was the first time in Britain’s history that women had ‘officially work(ed) alongside the British Army’.  

The book gives a clear explanation of how the various women’s suffrage societies were involved in the setting up of the WAAC – ‘no woman was to be employed unless a soldier was released for combat’ - the establishment of rules of conduct, rates of pay – deductions for board and lodging, etc. – uniforms, recruitment methods and so on. This is followed by a description of the work undertaken in France by the Corps members and the women who were in charge of them and the locations in which the women worked, such as Officers’ Clubs, base camps, records offices and Army schools of instruction.   Initial reluctance to the idea of women near the front lines eventually led to acceptance that women were needed to help win the war.  Women could undertake such tasks as clerical work, telephonists (they had to speak French), cooking, baking bread, cleaning, waiting at tables, driving, gardening and looking after graves in cemeteries – not grave digging as that was undertaken by men.

The women posted to France worked extremely long hours, sometimes 8 hours on and 8 hours off, and, when possible, had a half-day off each week, yet the healthy life with regular exercise, even with a rather Spartan diet, meant that the women who joined the WAAC were a happy band.  They were also “expected to attend church parade and service on Sundays”.

I found so much of interest that it is hard to choose just a few for the review – I was fascinated to read about the employment of French civilian women, that “In 1915, the hemline of civilian women’s dresses was raised by several inches’ and ‘Married women were allowed to apply and did not require their husband’s approval” – that must have raised some eyebrows at the time.  Descriptions of day-to-day life for the WAACs in WW1 France and how the women coped with the difficult conditions they encountered I found particularly interesting. And did you know there were three female artists who were assistant administrators in the WAAC who ran camouflage units in France?

After the Armistice in November 1918, Corps members were assigned to new duties such as Border Control.   Also interesting is the description of the change in attitude to the women who served during WW1 when they tried to find work in post-WW1 Britain.

There are some very good photographs included, many of them the author’s own, and an interesting chapter on the women who were despatched to write about the work of the Corps for the British press, as well as those who took photographs, painted official pictures or wrote books about the WAAC. 

One of the Corps’ Administrators (equivalent to the rank of Officer in the men’s army) was Margaret Gibson, who was the first woman to be awarded the Military Medal - for her bravery during an air raid.   Sadly, Mrs Gibson died on 17th September 1918.  She was buried in Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France, along with three women who died while serving with other organisations.

“From the time of their arrival in France in March 1917, the WAAC was subjected to air raids” and there were quite a few wounded or killed during those air raids. There were also those who died of diseases contracted while serving in France. They were buried in cemeteries in France and I often wonder how many of those graves receive visitors?  This book is a fitting memorial to all the women who served in the WAAC/QMAAC.

“The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France 1917 – 1921” by Samantha Philo-Gill, published by Pen & Sword History, Barnsley, Yorkshire, UK, 2017 is available from good bookshops.  For further information please visit

Friday, 8 September 2017

Staff Nurse E.K. Cooke, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service

Remembering Staff Nurse Ella Kate COOKE, 2/RESC/1266, of The Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, who died on 8th September 1917, following an accident. Staff Nurse Cooke was buried in Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt.  Grave Reference: B. 25.  I wonder if her grave receives any visitors?

Ella was born in Auckland in New Zealand in 1881 and was educated at Grafton School. She trained as a nurse at Cook Hospital in Gisborne and Hawera Hospital, Taranaki.   Ella and her sister travelled to Britain on a private trip in July 1914 and when war broke out, Ella volunteered for service overseas. She was posted to the French Flag Nursing Corps (FFNC) in November 1914 and was based in Bernay in Northern France.   Ella was then sent to No. 17 General Hospital in Alexandria Egypt.   She died on 8th September 1917and was buried in Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt.  Grave Reference: B. 25.  I wonder if her grave receives any visitors?

Staff Nurse Ella Kate Cooke is commemorated at York Minster, York, UK and on the Roll of Honour of Grafton School, Auckland, New Zealand.
With thanks to Callan Chevin of the Facebook Group
for finding the photograph of Staff Nurse Cooke and to Debbie Cameron of the Facebook group  for finding this link to additional information about Ella Cooke:

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Staff Nurse Ethel Saxon - Territorial Force Nursing Service (1891 - 1917)

Staff Nurse Ethel SAXON, of the Territorial Force Nursing Service died 100 years ago on 3rd September 1917. Ethel was born in 1891 in Abertillery, Monmouthshire, Wales. Her parents were Henry Adelaide, a builder and joiner, and his wife Adelaide, nee Morton. Ethel had two younger sisters - Augusta Mary and Lucy.

Ethel trained as a nurse and worked in Liverpool,. During WW1, she joined the Territorial Force Nursing Service and it is possible that she served initially in Frodsham Auxiliary Military Hospital before being posted to Karachi. Ethel died on 3rd September 1917 and was buried in Karachi Cemetery, BA. A. 15.

Nurse Ethel Saxon is commemorated on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate), India. Grave Reference: Face 23, on the Liverpool Cathedral Memorial to the nurses of WW1, in Herefordshire, at Snatchwooed Road Methodist Church, Abersychan, Wales, on the memorial in York Minster and in Lancashire.

A memorial service was held to commemorate Ethel Saxon on 3rd September 2017 at Frodsham Methodist Church, Frodsham,Cheshire.

The Photograph of Ethel Saxon has been kindly supplied by her relative Mr. A. Williams who also supplied further information about Ethel.

Initial source:  Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Book with a chapter on WW1 Nurses from Bedfordshire in WW1

Well in time for our Christmas Wish Lists here is news of a WW1-related book to be published on 2nd October 2017 by The History Press.  “Sand, Planes and Submarines: How Leighton Buzzard shortened the War” by Paul Brown and Delia Gleave.   To pre-order a copy please see the following link:

I am reliably informed there will be some WW1 poems written by women munitions workers (see photo from the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives) and a chapter about local nurses.  Definitely a must buy.

With thanks to Elise Ward who posted mention of the poems on Debbie Cameron's Facebook Page Remembering Women on the Home Front WW1.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Book Review: "An English Governess in the Great War: The Secret Brussels Diary of Mary Thorp"

I have commemorated the First World War for as long as I can remember because Grandfather was an Old Contemptible, but I never realised before reading this book how awful life was for those trapped in the occupied areas of Belgium and France.   I knew about the many Belgians who took refuge in Britain during WW1 but this book is a real eye-opener about the situation of those who were unable to flee.

The diary, which spans the period September 1916 to January 1919, was left as “an anonymous woman’s diary” with the “In Flanders Fields Museum” in Ypres in Belgium in 1989.  American historians De Schaepdrijver and Proctor, who edited the diaries, managed to find valuable clues in the diary as to the identity of the writer of the clandestine diary during such a dangerous time.  Their background research is fascinating.

Mary Thorpe was born in Marylebone, London, UK, on 1st January  1864, the first child of Thomas Thorpe, a horse-drawn carriage driver, and his wife Annette, nee Townshend.   Like my own Great-Grandfather, Thomas had married his deceased wife’s sister at a time when that was forbidden by the Church, according to the Deceased Wife’s Sister Act of 1835.   The family went to live in Belgium in 1873.   Mary went to America in 1881 to visit family and in 1887 began working as a governess.

In 1910, Mary started work as a governess for a wealthy family who lived in Brussels – Paul Wittouck, a sugar refinery owner, and his wife Catherine de Medem, a Russian aristocrat.  The Wittoucks had three sons who needed “… the firm guidance that only an English governess with a command of the French language could give”.  The Wittouck family also owned a house called ‘La Fougeraie’ in the Brussels suburb of Uccle, where they spent the holiday period, taking Mary with them.

With the threat of war, Mary elected to remain with the family in Belgium and in September 1916, she began keeping a diary of her war-time experiences.  In spite of the privations of food, coal, clothes, etc. – tea was particularly hard to come by and expensive - and the restrictions in communication with the outside world, Mary remained positive and never gave up hope that Britain would win through.   Mary had a nephew – Dick Dodson – who was interned in the camp at Ruhleben in Germany and occasionally managed to get parcels of food sent to him and to receive letters from him.

But the diary does not only contain information about the day-to-day problems of those living under German occupation, the Wittouck family were important members of Brussels society and entertained VIPs such as American diplomats who remained in Brussels until just prior to America’s entry into the conflict in April 1917.  You will also find interesting information gleaned during the entertainment of such visitors. I did not realise that the British had “mounted a “coup d’Etat” to dethrone the Czar” (p. 184) prior to the Russian Revolution.

Among the photographs reproduced in the book is a map that clearly marks the German occupied area of Belgium and shows the line of the Western Front.   I was interested to read that Mary referred not to tanks but ‘cistern Land dreadnoughts’  and to discover that Belgian men who were out of work were sent to Germany for forced labour and many died as a result of harsh treatment.    As the war progressed, so did the rationing and the requisitioning of all metal such as cooking utensils which were sent to German to make guns.   At one point even people’s mattresses, which at that time were filled with wool, were taken away and sent to Germany (p. 185). 

With frequent house searches by German soldiers, it was difficult to hide anything and the danger involved in trying to smuggle messages or letters to other parts of Belgium is highlighted on page 47 where we learn that Madame Wittouck “spent a night in prison in Liège for her intent to carry two personal letters from Vielsalm (a small town south-east of Liège) to Brussels.”

The diary contains fascinating insights as to the progress of the war – the guns could be heard in Brussels and planes and Zeppelins were frequently overhead – as well as everyday details of life at that time.   The German authorities at one point closed down schools.  The only newspapers permitted were the neutral Dutch ones and those published under the direction of the Germans.   The Belgian authorities banned skating on frozen ponds in public places because the Germans would take photographs and films to demonstrate to the world that they were on friendly terms with the Belgians.   I was also interested to read that the Germans, with a ‘divide and rule’ tactic, encouraged the differences between the French and Flemish Belgians.

After the Armistice in November 1918, Mary was able to visit some English soldiers in a local hospital and was shocked to find the awful conditions they had to endure – “no care, no nursing, next to no food, dirt & squalor…”.   In the Epilogue is mention of a letter sent to Mary by one of the soldiers she visited.   Mary remained in Belgium, where she died on 2nd December 1945.     

This book is definitely required reading for anyone seriously interested in the history of the First World War.

“An English Governess in the Great War:  The Secret Brussels Diary of Mary Thorp” Edited by Sophie De Schaepdrijver and Tammy M. Proctor (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017) £25.00 available from Amazon or the Oxford University Press Website

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Gladys Corfield Hughes (1888 - 1918) - British Nurse

Gladys was born in Shropshire, UK in 1888. Her parents were Thomas Hughes, a grocer and farmer and his wife Martha Titley Hughes, nee Corfield.   Gladys had the following siblings:  Martha A., b. 1885, Ethel T., b. 1891, George H., b. 1893, Gertrude S., b. 1894, the twins Dorothy N. and Stella M. b. 1897 and James H., b. 1898.  The family lived in Trefonen, Shropshire.

Chris Woods of the commemorative Group Lights out Trefonen (see website below) has researched Gladys’ First World War nursing career and has given me permission to share the information with you.

Gladys was educated at Grove Park County Grammar School, a Boarding School in Wrexham, and trained as a nurse at Mill Road Infirmary in Liverpool, which was a general hospital at that time.  In June 1915, Gladys joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and served in hospitals on the Western Front.  She was posted to the Woolwick Military Hospital in Britain, became ill with influenza and died on 6th November 1918.   Gladys’s body was taken back to Shropshire and she was buried with full military honours in Nantmawr Chapel Graveyard which is near her home.  She is remembered on the War Memorial in Trefonen, along with two of her cousins who also served and died during WW1  – George Hughes, who was a Second Lieutenant with the King’s Shorpshire Regiment, killed on 12th August 1917 and buried in Anneux British Military Cemetery, and Charles Henry Hughes, a Second Lieutenant with the Welsh Regiment, killed on 30th August 1918, and buried in the Morval British Cemetery.

and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War

Photo by kind permission of Chris Woods.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Some of the women who died or were killed while serving in some capacity during 1917


The following women are not listed on the CWGC List of Female Casualties of WW1 - I know there will be more to add to this list :

Lilian E. Chinn, VAD, died 24th June 1917 – see Inspirational Women Facebook page

Margaret Valentine, born 1890, killed in an accident at a munitions factory on 17th April 1917.  “The death of a woman munitions worker from Manchester, this day 100 years ago - reported in the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - 19th April 1917 Known at: 19th April 1917

At the Manchester City Coroner's inquest yesterday on Margaret Valentine (27), of Chatham Street, the evidence showed that the woman went on top of a vat of corrosive liquid, slipped and fell in, receiving fatal burns.”

Ethel Saxon TFNS d. 3.9.1917 b. 1891 Liverpool connection – commemorated Liverpool Cathedral

The following are listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War


SPINDLER, Staff Nurse, NELLIE. 44th Casualty Clearing Station, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Killed in action, 21 August 1917. Age 26. Daughter of George and Elizabeth Spindler, of Wakefield. One of only two female casualties of the Great War buried in Belgium. Grave Reference: XVI. A. 3.


BALL, Nursing Sister, CATHERINE. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Drowned off Alexandria, 31 December 1917. Age 28. Daughter of John King Ball and Catherine Ball, of 25, Trent Bridge Footway, Nottingham. Grave Reference: B. 45.

BROWN, Nursing Sister, WINIFRED MAUD. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Drowned in loss of H.M.S. "Osmanieh" (mine explosion) off Alexandria, 31 December 1917. Age 30. Daughter of Arthur Brown, M.Inst. C.E., and Caroline Brown, of "Glenthorne," 3, Lucknow Avenue, Nottingham. Grave Reference: B. 40.

BYTHEWAY, Nurse, GERTRUDE. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Drowned in loss of H.M.S. "Osmanieh" (mine explosion) off Alexandria, 31 December 1917. Age 37. Daughter of George and Lottie Bytheway, of Walsall, Staffs. Grave Reference: B. 42.

COOKE, Staff Nurse, E K, 2/RESC/1266. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 8 September 1917. Grave Reference: B. 25.

DUNCANSON, Nurse, UNA MARGUERITE. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 31 December 1917. Age 25. Daughter of Mrs. H. F. Duncanson, of Pumps Court, Tovil, Maidstone. Grave Reference: B. 41.

HAWLEY, Probationer Nurse, (Special), NELLIE, 83/11/1057. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, attd. H.M.S. "Osmanieh" . Drowned in loss of H.M.S. "Osmanieh" (mine explosion) off Alexandria, 31 December 1917. Age 29. Daughter of Alfred Arthur and Stella Hawley, of 29, Kingshall Rd., Beckenham, Kent. Grave Reference: B. 46.

MIDWOOD, Nurse, LILIAN. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Drowned in loss of H.M.S. "Osmanieh" (mine explosion) off Alexandria, 31 December 1917. Age 32. Daughter of Mrs. E. G. Midwood, of London. Grave Reference: B. 43.

ROBERTS, Staff Nurse, M D, R/853. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, attd. H.M.S. "Osmanieh". Drowned in loss of H.M.S. "Osmanieh" (mine explosion) off Alexandria, 31 December 1917. Grave Reference: B. 44.

ROGERS, Nurse, HERMIONE ANGELA. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Drowned, 31 December 1917. Age 22. Daughter of Francis Edward Newman Rogers and Louisa Annie Rogers, of Rainscombe, Marlborough, Wilts. Grave Reference: B. 39.


TURTON, Staff Nurse, ALICE MARY. (Special Reserve), Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, attd. 26th Stat. Hospital. Died of pneumonia, 7 May 1917. Age 36.  Daughter of Mr. W. R. and Mrs. S. A. Turton. Grave Reference: A. 31.


DAWSON, Matron, EVELINE MAUD. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 10 April 1917. Age 49. Sister of Miss E. Dawson, of 27, Queen's Rd., Bromley, Kent. Grave Reference: XVII. D. 24.

LUKER, Worker, DORIS MARY, 6947. Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. Died of pneumonia, 13 February 1919. Age 21. Daughter of James and Mary Luker, of Woking, Surrey. Joined in Jan., 1917, and had been in France 12 months. Grave Reference: LXXII. B.


KEMP, Sister, E M. 58th Casualty Clearing Station, Territorial Force Nursing Service. 20 October 1917. Grave Reference: I. M. 1.


BLENCOWE, Sister, MABEL EDITH. Territorial Force Nursing Service. 10 March 1917. Age 36. Daughter of Mrs. E. Blencowe, of 51, Bainton Rd., Oxford. Grave Reference: III. B.

CLIMIE, Staff Nurse, AGNES MURDOCH. Mentioned in Despatches. 58th General Hospital, Territorial Force Nursing Service. Killed in enemy air raid, 30 September 1917. Age 32. Daughter of Andrew Climie and Isabella Adam, his wife, of 18, St. Bride's Rd., Newlands, Glasgow. Grave Reference: VI. B. 1.

COLES, Member, DAISY KATHLEEN MARY. 58th General Hospital, Voluntary Aid Detachment. Killed in enemy air raid, 30 September 1917. Age 24. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter G. Coles, of Priorsford House, Peebles. Grave Reference: VI. B. 3.

MILNE, Sister, MABEL LEE. Mentioned in Despatches. 58th General Hospital, Territorial Force Nursing Service. Badly wounded during the air raid on 58th General Hospital, St. Omer on 30th September 1917.  Sister Mable Milne died on 2nd October 1917. Grave Reference: VI. B. 4.

THOMSON, Nursing Member, ELIZABETH. 58th General Hospital, Voluntary Aid Detachment. Killed during air raid on 30th September 1917. Grave Reference: VI. B. 2.


KINNEAR, Nurse, KATHARINE FERRARS. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Died of enteric, 3 September 1917. Age 29. Daughter of the late Rev. Henry G. Kinnear, M.A., of Copgrove Rectory, Yorks., and Mrs. Kinnear. Born at Ripon, Yorks. Awarded Diploma by the French Government in recognition of services. Grave Reference: I. A. 2A.


STEELE, Worker, WINIFRED MARY, 1593. Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. Died of pnuemonia, 9 December 1918. Age 27. Daughter of David and Jane Steele, of Newport Pagnell, Bucks. Attested at Derby 1917. A Telegraphist, G.P.O., Derby, for 9 years. Grave Reference: S. V. L. 7.

ST. SEVER CEMETERY, ROUEN, Seine-Maritime, France

DICKSON, Nurse, MARY C. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Died of meningitis, 16 February 1917. Age 30. Daughter of the Rev. W. A. Dickson and Mary Dickson, of Shedagh, Fahan, Donegal. Grave Reference: Officers, B. 4. 9.

 KNOX, Sister, HILDA MARY. Australian Army Nursing Service. Died of sickness, 17 February 1917. Age 33. Daughter of James and Isabella Knox, of Benalla, Victoria, Australia. Grave Reference: Officers, B. 4. 10.

SMITH LEE, Nurse, JEANNIE. 30th (Northumberland) Detachment attd. 9th Gen. Hosp., Voluntary Aid Detachment. Died of sickness, 30 March 1917. Age 25. Daughter of Mr. Smith Lee, of Scaurside, Haltwhistle, Northumberland. Grave Reference: Officers, B. 5. 25.

STE. MARIE CEMETERY, LE HAVRE, Seine-Maritime, France

CRUICKSHANK, Nursing Sister, ISABELLA. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile north from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 48. Daughter of William and Isabella Mutch Cruickshank, of Aberdeen. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

ENGLAND, Stewardess, F J. H.M.H.S. "Salta", Mercantile Marine. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile north from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

FOYSTER, Nursing Sister, ELLEN LUCY. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 36. Daughter of Rebecca Foyster, of 37, Madeira Avenue, Worthing, Sussex, and the late H. A. Foyster. On active service 1915-1917. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

GURNEY, Staff Nurse, E S. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile north from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

JONES, Nursing Sister, GERTRUDE EILEEN. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 31. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

MANN, Staff Nurse, AGNES GREIG. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, attd. H.M.H.S. "Salta.". Drowned at sea on H.M.H.S. "Salta." (mine explosion), half a mile N. from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 25. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Mann, of 17, Clepington St., Dundee. Grave Reference: Div. 62. 1.

MASON, Staff Nurse, FANNY. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 27. Daughter of Thomas and Catherine Elizabeth Mason, of Ivy Court, Giggleswick, nr. Settle, Yorks. Native of Hawes, Yorks. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

McALISTER, Staff Nurse, CLARA. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Age 36. Sister of Marion McAlister, of Little Hill, Pulborough, Sussex. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.

ROBERTS, Staff Nurse, JANE. Special Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lost at sea (mine explosion) half mile North from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10 April 1917. Grave Reference: "Salta" Memorial.


GARTSIDE-TIPPING, Civilian, Mrs. MARY STUART. Women's Emergency Canteens, (Compiegne). Accidentally shot by a deranged soldier, 6th March 1917. Awarded the Croix de Guerre (France).  Daughter of the late Captain Flynn, R.A.; widow of the late Lieut.-Commander H.T. Gartside-Tipping (R.N.), of ''Quarr Wood'', Binstead, Isle of Wight. Grave Reference: III. B. 5.

Mary’s husband, was killed when his Dover Patrol ship, the yacht H.M. “Sanda” was sunk by German gunfire off the coast of Zeebrugge in 1915.  He was apparently the oldest serving Royal Naval officer to be killed in WW1.


CLAYTON-SWAN, Civilian, MILDRED. Army Service Corps (Canteens). 24 February 1917. Grave Reference: III. G. 2.

DUNCAN, Sister, ISABELLA LUCY MAY. 13th Stat. Hosp., Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 1 March 1917. Daughter of John and Caroline Duncan, of Manchester. Grave Reference: III. F. 2.

EVANS, Member, MARGARET ELLEN. 83rd Gen. Hosp, Voluntary Aid Detachment. 22 July 1917. Age 39. Daughter of the late Daniel John and Emma Evans, of Stamford. Grave Reference: III. A. 1.

HOCKEY, Sister, JESSIE OLIVE. Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 14 August 1917. Age 32. Daughter of James Temlitte Hockey and Martha Ann Hockey, of Cape Province, South Africa. Grave Reference: III. A. 3.

KING, Member, NITA MADELINE. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 25 May 1917. Age 29. Daughter of George Hall King and Lydia King, of Cosham, Hants. Grave Reference: III. B. 4.

TREVELYAN, Civilian, ARMOREL AVICE KATE, known as KITTY. Army Service Corps (Canteens). Died of measles and pneumonia, 27 February 1917. Age 19. Daughter of Mrs. Trevelyan (now Sinclair) and the late Capt. Walter Raleigh Trevelyan, of Furry Park, Raheny, Co. Dublin. Grave Reference: III. F. 4.


ASTELL, Sister, FRANCES ETHEL. Territorial Force Nursing Service. 17 December 1917. Age 38. Daughter of Mrs. M. J. Astell, of 187, Queen's Rd., Norwich. Grave Reference: 187.

DEWAR, Staff Nurse, M S. Mentioned in Despatches. (Reserve), Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 12 March 1917. Grave Reference: 1554.

GORDON, Volunteer, ELIZABETH MARJORY (ELMA). Voluntary Aid Detachment. Died of malaria, 11 September 1917. Age 43. Daughter of General William Gordon, C.I.E., and Harriet Elizabeth Steuart Gordon, of Banffshire. Grave Reference: 109.

JONES, Volunteer, GLADYS MAUD. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Died of malaria, 21 August 1917. Age 31. Daughter of Alfred and Adelaide Letitia Jones, of The Spinney, Great Shelford, Cambridge. Grave Reference: 89. 

MARSHALL, Staff Nurse, MARY BETHIA. Mentioned in Despatches. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Killed in enemy air raid, 12 March 1917. Age 30. Croix de Guerre with Palms (France). Daughter of James and Catherine (Hoseason) Marshall, of 22, Durand Gardens, Stockwell, London. Grave Reference: 1552.


CATON, Sister, FLORENCE MISSOURI. Scottish Women's Hospital, attached to the Serbian Army.  Died of appendicitis, 15 July 1917. Daughter of Capt. John Henry and Elizabeth Caton. Native of Wrexham, Denbighshire. Grave Reference: 1599.

HARLEY, Civilian, KATHERINE MARY. Civilian, attached to the Serbian Ministry of Interior. Killed during bombardment of Monastir, 7 March 1917. Age 63. Croix de Guerre. Daughter of John Tracy William (R.N.) and Margaret (his wife), of Ripple Vale, Kent; widow of Col. George Ernest Harley, C.B. Grave Reference: O. 38.


SAXON, Staff Nurse, ETHEL. Territorial Force Nursing Service. 3 September 1917. Age 26. Daughter of Henry and Adelaide Saxon, of The Rosery, Kingsland, Herefordshire. (Buried Karachi Cem. BA. A. 15.). Grave Reference: Face 23.

KIRKEE 1914-1918 MEMORIAL, India

MILNE, Sister, HELEN. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 23 November 1917. Age 31. Daughter of James and Louisa Helen Milne, of "Bona Vista", 10, Gurney St., Stonehaven, Grampian. Grave Reference: Face F.


TREVETHAN, Staff Nurse, R. Territorial Force Nursing Service. 4 September 1917. Grave Reference: XIV. A. 30.


 O'CALLAGHAN, Stewardess, ANNE. S.S. "Formby.", Mercantile Marine. 16 December 1917. Age 52. Daughter of Mrs. Alice O'Callaghan, of 41, St. Joseph's Terrace, Green St., Waterford, and the late John O'Callaghan. Grave Reference: East of middle path.


TATE, Doctor, ISOBEL ADDY. Serbian Relief Fund, Friend's War Victims' Relief Committee. 28 January 1917. M.D., D.P.H. Grave Reference: XXIX. 3.

WATSON, Staff Nurse, DOROTHY. St. John''s Military Hosp., Territorial Force Nursing Service. 13 March 1917. Grave Reference: XXIX. 4.

ARCHANGEL MEMORIAL, Russian Federation

PALMIERI, Nurse, Mrs. ALICIA. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 15th May 1917. 

East Finchley Cemetery, London, UK

INMAN, Worker, DOROTHY MARGUERITE, 35104. Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. 11th March 1917. Age 26. Daughter of Frank Joseph and Rose Wethered; wife of Arthur Conyers Inman. Grave Reference: G.1.41


MUNRO, Staff Nurse, ANNIE WINIFRED. South African Military Nursing Service. Died of phthisis, 6 April 1917. Age 26. Daughter of William and Ellen Munro, of St. Patrick's Rd., Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, Natal. Grave Reference: B. 1881A.


See photo in Nurses of WW1 Pictures

LEVER, Nurse, Lady BEATRICE HILDA. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 26 May 1917. Age 43. Wife of Sir Arthur Levy Lever Bart, of Hans Crescent. Grave Reference: Row 20 Grave 9 1st Baronet, known as Arthur Levy until 1896, was a Liberal Party politician in England. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Harwich from 1906 to January 1910. He was returned to the House of Commons at the 1922 general election as National Liberal MP for Hackney Central, but stood down at the 1923 general election. Born Arthur Levy, he assumed the surname of Lever in lieu of Levy by deed poll in 1896 and by Royal license in 1911. In 1911 he was made a Baronet, of Hans Crescent in Chelsea. His elder brother Maurice Levy was also a Liberal politician and was created a Baronet in 1913.


TWELLS, Worker, ALICE, 9223. Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. 3 November 1917. Grave Reference: L. D. K28.

HERNE BAY CEMETERY, Kent, United Kingdom

ROBINETTE, Staff Nurse, CAROLINE AMELIA, R/741. R R C. 2/Reserve, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 30 March 1917. Grave Reference: T. 114. (see photo).


PHILLIPS, Sister, J. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Drowned at sea (from H.S. "Asturias"), 21st March 1917. 

MANOR PARK CEMETERY, Essex, United Kingdom

REED, Worker, DOROTHY ANNIE, 18847. Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. Accidentally killed, 31st December 1917. Age 29. Daughter of Elizabeth A. Clarke (formerly Reed), of 30, Chester St., Kennington, London, and the late James J. Reed. Grave Reference: 130. 254.


WILSON, Member, JEMIMA, 3812. Gateshead Hostel, Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. Died of accidental injuries, 2 December 1917. Age 24. Daughter of James and Margaret Wilson, of Ingleston Cottage, Moniaive, Dumfriesshire. Grave Reference: Q. U. 364.

OAKHAM CEMETERY, Rutland, United Kingdom

HETTERLEY, Staff Nurse, HELEN. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 30 May 1917. Age 26. Daughter of George and Elizabeth Hetterley, of Station Rd., Oakham. Grave Reference: 30. 45.

RHYL TOWN CEMETERY, Flintshire, United Kingdom

ROBERTS, Staff Nurse, E. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 12 August 1917. Grave Reference: 1899.


BATES, Sister, MADELINE ELSIE. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Died of wounds received in enemy air-raid, 22nd December 1917.  Age 35. Daughter of William John and Annie Maria Bates, of "Southover," Sturry, Kent. Born at Waltham Abbey, Essex in 1883.  See photo Debbie Cameron and obituary.  She was on leave from France and was visiting her aunt, Mrs Phillips. Sister Mary Verena, b. 1887.


PEEL, Chauffeuse, HELEN MAUD. Voluntary Aid Detachment. Died of sickness, 13 December 1917. Age 22. Daughter of William Charles and Augusta Peel, of 'Fairview', Sunninghill.  Her brother, Major H. Peel, D.S.O., M.C. also died in service. 


LANGDALE, Nurse, MARY AGNES. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 9 February 1917. Age 39. Daughter of Arthur Langdale and of his wife Catherine de Bruyn, of 45, Church Rd., Barnes, London. Grave Reference: E. 163.

TOTTENHAM CEMETERY, Middlesex, United Kingdom

GARNER, Sister, A E C, 2nd/Res. G/198. Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. 12 March 1917. Grave Reference: C. 5759.

TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, London, United Kingdom

ARNOTT, Stewardess, SARAH JANE. S.S. "Hare" (Liverpool), Mercantile Marine. Drowned, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine, 14 December 1917. Age 41. Daughter of William and Dora McLean (nee Leech). Born at Malahide, Co. Dublin. 

FITZPATRICK, Stewardess, MARY. S.S. "Garmoyle" (Glasgow), Mercantile Marine. Drowned, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine, 10 July 1917. Age 62. Born at Cork. 

HIRD, Stewardess, AGNES. S.S. "Ava" (Glasgow), Mercantile Marine. Presumed drowned, 26 January 1917. Age 42. Daughter of William Yule, of 156, Stanley Rd., Bootle, Lancs., and the late Mary Ann Yule; Wife of the late Anthony Hird. Born at Liverpool. 

McDONALD, Stewardess, MARGARET. S.S. "City of Paris" (Glasgow), Mercantile Marine. Drowned, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine, 4 April 1917. Age 49. Born at Greenock. 

McLEAN, Stewardess, ELIZABETH. S.S. "City of Paris" (Glasgow), Mercantile Marine. Drowned, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine, 4 April 1917. Age 43. Daughter of the late Lachlan and Mary McLean. Born at Govan. 

PHELAN, Stewardess, ELIZABETH ANNE. S.S. "Coningbeg" (Glasgow), Mercantile Marine. Presumed drowned, 18 December 1917. Wife of Patrick Alexander Phelan. 

TRENERRY, Stewardess, BRIDGET. H.M.H.S. "Asturias" (Belfast), Mercantile Marine. Died, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine, or through vessel being mined, 24 March 1917. Age 65. Daughter of the late John and Mary Murphy; wife of the late Edmund Trenerry. Born at Dublin

UPHALL CEMETERY, West Lothian, United Kingdom

SIMPSON, Nurse, ELIZABETH. Territorial Force Nursing Service. 10 May 1917. Grave Reference: J. 33.

With thanks to Callan Chevin for telling me about Margaret Mayne, who was born in Ballinamallard, Col Tyrone, Ireland in 1882.  Margaret trained as a nurse and worked as a Staff Nurse in the North Staffordshire Infirmary from 1907 until the outbreak of WW1.  She died in Harwich Hospital on 20th April 1917.  A plaque to the memory of Margaret, who was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross Medal for her work, was placed In the Chapel of the North Staffordshire Infirmary. Since 2015, this plaque has been situated in the Atrium at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK.

WILLINGHAM CEMETERY, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

HART, Member, SARAH FRANCES RUBY, 3479. Women's Royal Air Force. 20 October 1919. Age 19. Daughter of George William and Mildred Hart, of High St., Willingham. Buried in the same grave is her sister, WILLIS, Dorothy Maud, Munition Worker. 7th July, 1916. Age 23. Grave Reference: Con. West. 191.
Additional Notes

Dorothy Marguerite Inman (1890 – 1917) – British

Dorothy Wethered was born in Harley Street, Marylebone, London in 1890.  Her parents were Frank Joseph Wethered, a doctor, and his wife Rosa Wethered, nee How.  

In 1909, Dorothy married Arthur Conyers Inman in Marylebone[LL1]  .  She joined Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps during WW1 - her rank was Worker and the equivalent rank of Worker for men in the British Army was Private.   Dorothy died on 11th March 1917, aged 26 and was buried in East Finchley Cemetery, London.

Dorothy Mortimer Watson – (1888 – 1917) – British Staff Nurse

Dorothy was born in Ilkley, Yorkshire in 1888.  Her parents were Christopher Holmes Watson, a yarn agent born in Norwich, and his wife, Mary, nee Stewart.  Dorothy had a brother, Ben Howard, born in 1875 and a sister Beatrice Balfour, born in 1883.  

Dorothy was educated at the Masonic Institution for Girls in Clapham, London, a boarding school for girls founded in 1788 by Bartholomew Ruspini, an Italian-born dentist.  The school was set up for the daughters of Freemasons who had died or fallen upon hard times.  Dorothy’s father died in 1894.  Schooling lasted for five years and during that time the girls did not return home for holidays and visits from family members was discouraged.

In 1910, Dorothy’s sister, Beatrice Watson married Alfred Daniel Kemp and went to live in Norfolk.

Dorothy trained as a nurse at Harrogate Infirmary. During the First World War she enrolled in the Territorial Force Nursing Service.  Entry into the TFNS was extremely strictly controlled – applicants had to be between the ages of 25 and 35, British subjects, well-educated and to have completed a three year training course as a nurse at an approved hospital.

After service at No. 2 Northern General Hospital in Leeds and in Leeds War Hospital, Dorothy was posted to Malta in 1916, where she worked at the St. John Military Hospital in Sliema.  This was originally a school but was requisitioned for use as a hospital in WW1.   Dorothy died on 13th March 1917 and was buried in the Pieta Military Cemetery in Malta.   She is also commemorated on the War Memorial in Harrogate.

Bridget Trenerry (1859 – 1917) - Irish

Bridget was born Bridget Murphy in Dublin in 1859.  Her parents were John and Mary Murphy.  Bridget married Edmund Trenerry, a customs officer and the couple went to live in Truro in Cornwall.  They had a son Henry, born in 1878, who became an electrician, and a son Francis, born in 1882.

During the First World War, Bridget served as a Stewardess with the Merchant Marine aboard the Hospital Ship HMHS “Asturias”, which was built by Harland and Wolff in Belgast for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Line and launched in 1907 for service on the Southampton to Buenos Aires route.  She was requisitioned for use as a hospital ship and, after conversion, served at Gallipoli, Egypt, Salonika (Greece) and on the cross-Channel route from France to Britain.  J.R.R. Tolkien was evacuated to Britain aboard HMHS “Asturias” in November 1916, suffering from Trench Fever.

On 20th March 1917, HMHS “Asturias” had disembarked 1,000 wounded at the port of Avonmouth near Bristol and was steaming towards Southampton when she was torpedoed by a German submarine.   She managed to beach near Bolt Head, in the vicinity of Salcombe in Devon, but 31 people were killed and 12 were missing.   Had the ship been full of wounded the loss of life would have been terrible.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War, Bridget died on 24th March 1917 and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.  At the age of 68, Bridget was one of the oldest women to die serving during WW1.