Saturday, 10 March 2018

Remembering some of the women who died or were killed while serving in WW1 during the month of March 1918

12th March


Nursing Sister IDA LILIAN KEALY of the 1st Canadian General Hospital., Canadian Army Medical Corps. Ida died of pneumonia on 12th March 1918 at the age of 39. She was daughter of Clara Marion Kealy, of 1037, Johnson St., Victoria, British Columbia. Grave Reference: I. B. 16. (see photo – kindly found by Callan Chevin.)


13th March

ST SEVER CEMETERY, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France

Worker EDITH PEARTON of the Young Men's Christian Association. Edith died on 13th March 1918 and was buried in St. Sever Cemetery in Rouen, France.. Grave Reference: Officers, B. 4. 17.

14th March

BROOKWOOD CEMETERY, Surrey, United Kingdom

Staff Nurse IDA DURANT HANNAFORD, Res.H/280 of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service.  
Ida died on 14th March 1918 at the age of 34. She was daughter of Ellen Hannaford, of 266, Greenwood Avenue, Toronto, Canada, and the late Joseph William Hannaford. Born in Birmingham. Grave Reference: H. 180705. (see photo kindly found by Callan Chevin.)



Staff Nurse ANNE VERONICA FLETCHER, of the Territorial Force Nursing Service., who died on 14th March 1918 at the age of 27. 

16th March


Worker AGNES MARY FRANSHAM, 15323 of the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps, attached to the School of Mil. Aeronautics (Reading).Agnes died on 16th March 1918 at the age of 37. She was the  daughter of Daniel Fransham, of Newcombe Road., Polygon, Southampton and was born at Hedge End, Southampton. Grave Reference: Screen Wall. 72. 16419.


Stewardess W. BURTON of the S.S. "South Western" (Southampton), Mercantile Marine. Stewardess Burton was drowned, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine on 16th  March 1918 at the age of 61. She was born in Southampton. 

Stewardess, E B. COCHRANE, of the S.S. "South Western" (Southampton), Mercantile Marine. Stewardess Cochrane was drowned, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine, 16th March 1918 at the age of  46. She was born in Limerick, Ireland.

You can find out more about the sinking of the S.S. "South Western" here:

If anyone has any more information about these inspirational women of WW1, please get in touch.

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

Monday, 5 March 2018

Edith Honora Routledge (1889 - 1919) - British; Member of the QMAAC in WW1

Assistant Forewoman, Edith Honora ROUTLEDGE, No. 1585. Mentioned in Despatches. Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps.

Edith was the eldest daughter of George, a licensed victualler, and Elizabeth Routledge, nee Bloomfield, of Rock Ferry, Cheshire, Wirral.  Edith was born in Buxton, Derbyshire in 1889 and baptised on 1st May 1889. 
Edith had the following siblings: Lilian C. born 1891, George b. 1893, Ethel Mary b. 1894, William Henry, b. 1896, Catherine Maud, b. 1898 and James b. 1903.  In 1901, the family ran York Hotel in Victoria Road, New Brighton, Wirral.  In 1911, they lived at no. 379 New Chester Road, Birkenhead, Wirral and Edith was a telephone operator.

Edith joined the QMAAC in WW1 and served in France, where she died of pneumonia on 5th March 1919, at the age of 29.  She was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, Grave Reference: LXXII. D. 37.
If anyone has any further information about Edith and a photograph of her, please get in touch via the e-mail connection.
Sources:  Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War and Find my Past.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Book Review: “The Mystery of Isabella and the String of Beads: A Woman Doctor in World War 1” by Katrina Kirkwood, published by Loke Press, Norwich, UK, 2016.

Having been researching the role of women during WW1 for the past six years for a series of commemorative exhibitions, I was thrilled when Katrina Kirkwood approached me via this weblog to ask me to review her book about her Grandmother.  Katrina, a former medical research scientist, is the author of this wonderful book about her Grandmother, Isabella Stenhouse (1887 - 1952).  

Isabella trained as a doctor in the early 20th Century, following in the footsteps of one of my childhood heroines, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, whose bravery and determination to become a doctor paved the way for women to study medicine.  Working only with a small box of medical equipment, some old family photographs and a string of beads that belonged to her Grandmother, in a feat of detective work worthy of the great Lord Peter Wimsey, Katrina weaves the story of her grandmother’s service as a doctor during the First World War.

I don’t want to give too much away because you really need to read this book, but I particularly enjoyed reading about Katrina’s journeys to the places in which Isabella worked during WW1. In each place Katrina describes imagining what those places would have looked like in WW1 and what her Grandmother would have done and how she would have felt.   She also has some very interesting interviews with local inhabitants who try to help solve Isabella’s WW1 mysteries.

I also like the way Katrina chose to involve modern women medical students, women doctors and women medics with the British Royal Army Medical Corps who have seen active service.  This helps to establish how Isabella might have felt when she was treating the wounded.

On p. 206, I was interested to read that In 1913, 4% of the 98 medical students at Edinburgh University were women;  by 1918, the number had risen and 28% of the 1,700 odd students were women.  And there was a surprisingly heart-warming story of a French soldier who was to have his foot amputated.  Further on in the book, when Isabella was posted to Malta, you will find more fascinating information, for instance about enemy Prisoners of War detained on the island.  Mention of the names of other women who were doctors during WW1 and some of those who were nurses is also extremely interesting.

I was also interested to see that Katrina  had visited Hadra Cemetery in Alexandria, Egypt - see post on 12th December 1917 regarding the loss of HMS "Osmanieh".

I do hope Katrina will give me permission to write up an exhibition panel about Isabella.  Exhibition panels are sent out via e-mail free of charge to any venue wishing to host an exhibition. Topics covered are Female Poets, Inspirational Women, Fascinating Facts (such as how the Laughing Cow got her name) and Forgotten (male) Poets.  For anyone interested, I can supply the list of panels researched so far.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Staff Nurse Annie Winifred Munro of the South African Military Nursing Service

In 2014 I posted the following information about Staff Nurse Annie Winifred Munro of the South African Military Nursing Service.  I can now add a photograph of Annie, thanks to Sue Robinson of the Group Wenches in Trenches, the Roses of No Man's Land.

I just found this entry on page 56 of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of WW1:

Staff Nurse Annie Winifred Munro from Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa, a member of The South African Military Nursing Service who died on 6th April 1917, at the age of 26. Annie was the daughter of William and Ellen Munro, of St. Patrick's Rd., Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, Natal. She was buried in Glasgow Western Necropolis - Grave Reference: B. 1881A

By strange coincidence, my aunt was born on 6th April 1921.  According to my Mother, her Father returned from his service with the Royal Field Artillery in WW1 around Christmas 1919.  Audrey served in the  Women's Royal Naval Service during the Second World War and was at Fort Southwick, Portsmouth on D-Day.   She met and married a soldier from South Africa and went to live in Pietermaritzburg after the war where she died in the spring of 1948.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Emily Ada Pickford (1881 - 1919) - music teacher - entertainer during WW1

Remembering EMILY ADA PICKFORD, a music teacher from Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales, who died in a tragic motoring accident in France on 7th February 1919.

Emily was born in Wales in 1881.  Her parents were William Henry Pearn, a baker from Penarth, and his wife Emma Jane, nee Sadler.
Emily became a music teacher and Sundayschool teacher.  In 1907 she married Ernest Fergusson Pickford and they went to live in Windsor Rd., Penarth, Glamorgan.

Emily joined Lena Ashwell's Concert Party during the First World War.  Lena, an actress, theatre owner and producer, set up these touring groups to go and entertain the troops in the Western Front from 1915 – 1919, under the auspices of the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) and with the patronage of Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, one of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren. 
Concert party groups usually consisted of between six and seven people - singers, a musician and an entertainer such as a ventriloquist.  On the night of 7th February 1919 one of the groups had been entertaining troops in Guoy, a village in the north of France in the Departement of Aisne.  The group were in two cars travelling back to their headquarters in Abeville along the tow-path beside the River Somme, when there was an unfortunate accident.  One of the cars slid on the icy tow-path and Emily and Frederick Taylor, a baritone singer with the group, drowned.  It is worth remembering that cars, tyres and brakes were not as sophisticated in 1919 as they are in the 21st Century.

Emily was buried in Abeville Communal Cemetery Extension, Abeville, Somme, France.  The Grave Reference is V. G. 23.  She is also remembered on the Memorial to the Men of Penarth who died in the First World War in Alexandra Park, Penarth.
When you have time, do look at this more extensive account of the accident:

Original source:  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World war

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Hertfordshire in WW1

An exhibition about the First World War opens at the British Schools Museum in Hitchin in  Hertfordshire on 16th February 2018.   To find out more please see the Museum's website

The British Schools Museum
41 - 42, Queen Street
Hitchin, Hertfordshire

To coincide with that exhibition, I went through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War looking for Hertfordshire links, with the following results:


ROSKELL, Nurse, GERTRUDE LUCINDA, 5540. 17th Gen. Hosp., Voluntary Aid Detachment. Died of appendicitis, 31 October 1915. Age 38. Daughter of John Burrow Roskell and Gertrude Roskell, of Cronkley, Knebworth, Herts. Grave Reference: Q. 538.


POPE, Nursing Sister, CICELY MARY LEIGH. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 25 June 1921. Age 31. Daughter of Frances A. Pope, of 12A, Kensington Mansions, Earls Court, London, and the late Rev. W. A. Pope. Born at Redbourn, Herts. Grave Reference: C. 2.


HARROLD, Worker, (Waitress), HELEN CHARLOTTE, 50021. Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. 29 October 1918. Grave Reference: YB. 46.


HUDSON, Member, FRANCES LOUISA, 18072. No. 4 Stores Depot, Women's Royal Air Force. Died of sickness, 19 February 1919. Age 22. Daughter of Arthur and C. M. Hudson, of 2, Brookside, Hunton Bridge, King's Langley, Herts. 


CHADWICK, Nurse, HILDA. Voluntary Aid Detachment. 2 November 1918. Grave Reference: Mil. I. 5.

DAY, Member, CHARLOTTE ANNIE, 24165. R.A.F. Records (Blandford), Women's Royal Air Force. Died of pneumonia, 30 November 1918. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Day, of St. Albans. Grave Reference: E. I. 25.
I wonder if any of those graves receive visitors?

Saturday, 3 February 2018

REVIEW OF “PEACE LILY” by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey (Strauss House Productions, 2018)

I first found out about this wonderful book on Facebook*.  I must admit the book really took my breath away – the pictures, painted by Martin Impey (who did the illustrations for the book “War Horse”), are beautiful and the story, written in verse by Hilary Robinson, is very poignant.  I hold my hand up – I was moved to tears.  Although this book has been written to help children understand the admirable contribution of women to the First World War effort, I am certain that it will appeal to people of all ages.  The story centres around some children growing up in a village in Britain during the pre WW1 years in a very, very different world to that we know today.  For the characters in the book, who go on to participate in the conflict, there is a happy ending and I really loved the ‘photograph album’ at the very end of the book.

I feel this book is very important.  Why?   I suppose, at heart I am still the three year old staring at Grandpa’s print of “Goodbye Old Man” by Fortunino Matania, wondering what on earth happened to the poor horse.  Grandpa was an Old Contemptible with the Royal Field Artillery and I have commemorated the First World War all my life, yet it was not until I began researching six years ago for a series of commemorative exhibitions in the Centenary years that I realised the extent to which women were involved.  I had no idea quite so many died or were killed while serving either – “Peace Lily” goes a long way to putting that right.

“Peace Lily” costs £8.99 and is to be launched on 8th March 2018 to coincide with International Women’s Day and as an aid for the schools programme visiting the Battlefields of Ypres and The Somme.  There are other books by Robinson and Impey in this delightful series about the First World War and I for one am going to buy copies of them all for the young (and not so young) members of my family who I know will love them.

For more information, please see

 Lucy London, February 2018

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Emma Pauline Cunliffe-Owen (1863 - 1950) - British

WW1 Researcher Debbie Cameron sent me a poem written by Claude Edward Cole Hamilton Burton - see Forgotten Poets of WW1 - who, I discovered from Catherine Reilly’s “Bibliography of English Poetry of WW1” used the pen-names Touchstone and C.E.B.   Debbie has been researching a soldier who was in one of the Sportsman’s Battalions, to which Touchstone’s poem was dedicated.   I had to find out more and discovered that the Sportsman's Battalions had been set up by Emma, starting in September 1914.

Emma Pauline Cunliffe-Owen was born in Kensington in 1863.  Her father was Sir Francis Philip Cunliffe-Owen, director of the South Kensington Museum, which later became the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Emma’s mother, Jenny, whose maiden name was Von Reitzenstein, was of German origin. 

Emma was the sixth of ten children born to Francis and Jenny.   Emma was a keen sportswoman but she had health problems that eventually necessitated the use of a wheel-chair.  Emma married her cousin, Edward Cunliffe Cunliffe-Owen in 1882 and they had two sons, the elder of whom died in 1912, and two daughters.

After the death of her husband, Emma married Dr. Robert Stamford and as Mrs Stamford was awarded the O.B.E. in 1921 for her services during the First World War.  Emma died in Loughborough in November 1950.

Photograph:  Emma with her husband and younger son.


With many thanks to Debbie who sent me this link to a WW1 book about the Battalions:

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Abbie H.D. Gardner (1860 - 1918)

Mrs. ABBIE H.D. GARDNER, a civilian. Abbie was born in 1860 and was 56 when she died on 21st January 1918. She was buried in Cairo New British Protestant Cemetery - Grave Reference: Plot C Grave 28.   But what was Mrs Gardner doing in Egypt and how did she die?  I can’t find any further information about Abbie Gardner – can anyone help please?

Thursday, 18 January 2018

BOOK REVIEW: “The Woman War Correspondent, the U.S. Military, and the Press” by Carolyn M. Edy

Drawing on a large selection of resources, the aim of the book is to provide a history of the women accredited by the U.S. Government as war correspondents.  Although my particular field of interest is the First World War and this book covers American women war correspondents from 1846 until 1947, I found it extremely interesting and will be referring to it again and again.   Carolyn Edy - who teaches journalism at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina - addresses not only the stories of the women who went to battle areas to write about war but also the conflict women experienced, and are still experiencing, in order to gain recognition and be taken seriously in a patriarchal society.

I find it incredible to discover in Chapter Two that women reported on war as long ago as 1846 (The Mexican War), yet we are only now, in the 21st Century, beginning to hear of those remarkable women.   It seems that the idea of recruiting women to report on conflicts was with an eye to increasing the newspapers’ advertisement revenue but, whatever the reason, having women war correspondents was, nevertheless, a cautious step towards equality.

It is difficult to pick out one or two items of interest for the purposes of this review but I particularly liked the story about the British reporter Lady Mary Howard who went to cover the Boer War for the “London Telegraph” (page 27).  There are many illustrations throughout the book with those taken during WW1 being of special interest to me.   The comprehensive list in Appendix 1 beginning on page 136, lists 44 American women war correspondents who covered WW1, of which I had only heard of two!

The chapters on the women reporters of the Second World War are a real ‘eye-opener’ – who knew that one, Caroline Iverson, as well as being ‘pretty’ also had a pilot’s licence (p. 84)?    Eisenhower’s comment about women in total warfare on page 76 made me realise that is why so many women in Britain rallied to the cause in WW1, yet in 1943 Britain’s General Montgomery (known after his WW2 successes affectionately to the British public as ‘Monty’ – p. 89) refused to allow women anywhere near his troops in North Africa.  It seems Monty did, however, change his mind later on.

With an Index, extensive bibliography and copious notes, this is a must-read book for anyone interested in, or studying, the history of the First and Second World Wars.
“The Woman War Correspondent, the U.S. Military, and the Press” by Carolyn M. Edy, published by Lexington Books, Lanham, Boulder, New York and London 2017.  Lexington Books is an imprint of The Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Mary Elizabeth Hardy

Mary Elizabeth Hardy was the daughter of the Reverend Theodore Bailey Hardy, VC, DSO, MC.  She was a VAD during WW1 and served at The Queen Alexandra Red Cross Hospital at Dunkirk, France.

Mary is in the background of the painting by Terence Cuneo of her father receiving his Victoria Cross from King George V in 1918:

Information kindly supplied by the Museum of Army Chaplaincy near Andofer, Hampshire, UK