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Minnie James (née Watkins)
Place of birth: Merthyr Tydfil
Death: 1954, Cause not known
Notes: Minnie was married to William James in January 1891. They had six surviving children. Her three elder sons all served during the War. David was killed in September 1915, aged 24. Thomas died from wounds Christmas day 1918, aged 21, and Jack, who had been wounded too, died of tuberculosis in June 1920 also aged 24. rnIn 1938 Minnie James, then aged 72, was selected to represent all the Welsh mothers who had lost sons during the War, and to open The Temple of Peace.rn
Winifred Margaret Coombe Tennant (née Pearce-Serocold)
Place of birth: Stroud
Service: Committee woman, suffragist, bard, spiritualist, patron, mother.
Death: 1956, London, Cause not known
Notes: Winifred was born in 1874; her mother, née Mary Richardson, was Welsh. She married Charles Coombe Tennant in 1895 and they lived at Cadoxton Lodge, near Neath. She became a member of the NUWSS in 1911 and later served on its committee, as well as chairing the Neath committee. During the war she was chair of the Neath Pensions committee and the Glamorgan War Agricultural committee; she was also interested in rural housing and penal reform (she became a JP in 1920). In 1917 she was admitted to the Gorsedd of Bards, taking the bardic name ‘Mam o Nedd’. She chaired the Arts and Crafts committee for the 1918 Eisteddfod, and later became Mistress of the Robes. She had become interested in spiritualism following the death of her baby daughter Daphne in 1908; this revived following the death of her eldest son, killed in Flanders in September 1917, aged 19. She became a well-respected medium though her identity was known only to a few people – she used the pseudonym Mrs Willett. She stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal candidate for the Forest of Dean in the 1922 general election, and was a staunch patron of Welsh artists, particularly Evan Walters.
Sources: Winifred Tennant: a life through Art Peter Lord NLW 2007.\r\nhttp://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s2-COOM-MAR-1874.htm
Report of Winifred Coombe Tennant’s election to the committee of the NUWSS, Cambria Daily Leader 8th July 1915.
Winifred as organiser of the Glamorgan War Agricultural Committee, Herald of Wales 20th May 1916.
Report of a meeting discussing rural reconstruction in Wales after the War. Herald of Wales 10th August 1918.rn
Report of opening of the Art and Crafts Section of the National Eisteddfod, Neath 1918. Also Herald of Wales 10th August 1918.rn
Gladys Maud Feiling (née Norman)
Place of birth: Bleddfa, Radnorshire
Service: Official, WAAC / QMAAC, September 1917 - September 191
Death: 1958, Cause not known
Notes: Gladys Feiling, born in 1879, married Cecil Feiling, a London solicitor in 1906 but seems to have been childless and describes herself as ‘quite independent’ in her application to become a WAAC officer in 1917. The papers connected with her WAAC career survive, though damaged, in the National Archives. After a medical and training which she passed with only 69% she is described as having ‘very little experience of any kind’, but of being ‘the right type to go to France’. By 1919 she was a Deputy Controller of QMAAC, and was awarded the OBE in June 1919. She seems to have served in the ATS in WW2.
Sources: National Archives WO 398/75/6, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35017/supplement/7105/data.pdf
Gladys Maud Feiling
Photograph of Gladys Feiling collected by the Women’s Subcommittee of the Imperial War Museum.
reverse of photograph
Reverse of photograph of Gladys Feiling outlining her career In the WAAC/QMAAC. Photograph collected by the Women’s Subcommittee of the Imperial War Museum.
Evelyn Margaret Abbott
Place of birth: Grosmont, Monmouthshire
Service: Nurse, Scottish Womens Hospitals, January - June 1916
Death: 1958, London , Cause not known
Notes: Evelyn, born 1883, was the daughter of the Grosmont school master. A professional nurse trained in London, she spent six months working at the Scottish Women’s Hospitals hospital at Royaumont Abbey north of Paris. Follow the link to see the hospital on film
Place of birth: Kilkhampton, Cornwall
Service: Teacher, activist, writer
Death: 1960, Cause not known
Notes: Minnie Pallister was born in Cornwall in 1885, and was educated at Cardiff university, after which she became a teacher in Bryn Mawr. She was elected president of the Monmouthshire Federation of the Independent Labour Party just before the outbreak of War in 1914. She was renowned as a speaker on peace and the Labour movement, and was the national organiser in Wales of the No Conscription Fellowship. She was also an accomplished pianist, accompanying the Brynmawr Ladies Choral Society and others in fund-raising concerts for the Red Cross.
Report of Minnie Pallister’s appointment as Monmouthshire ILP President, Llais Llafur 1st August 1914
Mildred Lloyd Hughes
Place of birth: Lampeter
Service: Nurse, QARNNS
Death: 1962, Wirral, Cause not known
Notes: Mildred Hughes was a professional nurse, born in 1879. She was already a QARNNS sister in 1911, and at the outbreak of war was Superintending Sister at the Royal Naval Hospital, Gibraltar, where she had been since 1912. In 1916 she became Head Sister (i.e. Matron) of Plymouth Naval Hospital, from where she wrote a letter to the parents of VAD Maggie Evans on Maggie’s death [qv]. She remained at Plymouth until she was appointed head of QARNNS in 1929. She retired in 1934. She received the Royal Red Cross in 1916, and a second award in 1919.
Presentation of bar to Royal Red Cross by King George V, British Journal of Nursing 6th December 1919
Emma May Inker (Stevens)
Place of birth: Penarth
Service: Cook, WAAC / WRAF, 1918/03/15 – 1918/12/31
Death: 1992, Cause not known
Notes: Emma, born 2nd May 1894, worked as a seamstress and in service before joining the WAAC in March 1918. Shortly afterwards she was transferred to the WRAF on its formation on 1st April 1918. She was discharged on compassionate grounds on 31st December as her father was ill. Her daughter Rita Spinola says ‘She never talked much about her time in WW1 as a cook, but she did mention that once whilst marching in London someone shouted out to her “you’re out of step!”.’
RAF Brigade sports
WRAFs at the RAF Brigade sports. Emma Inker can just be seen in the second row between the 6th and 7th people sitting on the ground. Thanks to Rita Spinola.
Emma May Inker
Close-up of Emma May Inker WRAF at the RAF Brigade Sports 1918. Thanks to Rita Spinola.
WRAF Discharge Certificate
WRAF discharge paper for Emma Inker on ‘compassionate grounds’. This shows her transfer from WAAC to WRAF.rnrn
Helen Smith (Thomas)
Place of birth: Swansea
Death: 1993, Swansea, Cause not known
Notes: Helen Smith, born 1908, was the daughter of Alfred and Elizabeth Smith of Swansea who emigrated to America when Helen was a few months old. In 1915 they decided to return to Swansea, and sailed on the Lusitania. When the ship was torpedoed on 7th May 1915 Helen had become separated from her parents and baby brother Hubert. They died, but she was rescued by a Canadian journalist, Ernest Cowper. She was reunited with her aunt Cecelia Owens, another passenger who had lost her two sons in the sinking. She later married John Henry Thomas and lived the rest of her life in Swansea.
Helen Smith with her rescuer Ernest Cowper. Photograph taken in Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland. Helen is wearing new clothes donated by local well-wishers.
Newspaper report (1)
Report of the story of Lusitania survivor Helen Smith (1). Cambrian Daily Leader 10 May 1915
Newspaper report (2)
Report of the story of Lusitania survivor Helen Smith (2). Cambrian Daily Leader 10 May 1915
Newspaper report (3)
Report of the story of Lusitania survivor Helen Smith (3). Cambrian Daily Leader 10 May 1915
Place of birth: Newport
Service: Wife, widow
Death: 1995-11-03, Cause not known
Notes: May’s husband William Henry Selwood died of shell shock on 1st January 1919. She remained a widow for her remaining 76 years – credited with being the longest WW1 widow in Britain. She is buried in Christchurch Cemetery, Newport.
Grave of May Selwood
Grave of May Selwood who is credited with being the longest WW1 widow in Britain. Christchurch Cemetery, Newport
Place of birth: Cardiff
Service: Rugby player
Death: 2007, Cause not known
Notes: Maria Eley played fullback for Cardiff Ladies Rugby Team during 1917 and 1918, including a match against Newport ladies in Cardiff Arms Park on December 16th 1917, when she was 16 years old. Cardiff lost. Maria died in 2007 aged 106.
Advertisement for Grand Rugby Match 16th December 1917. Western Morning News.rnrn