Cymraeg

The Experiences of Women in World War One

A collection of information, experiences and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2014-18

A collection of information, experiences and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2014-18

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Sorted by occupation

Beatrice Olivette (Olive) White

Place of birth: Newport

Service: Signaller telegraphist, WAAC, November 1917 - August 1918 /

Death: 1918-11-29, Newport, Pneumonia following influenza / Niwmonia yn dilyn y ffliw

Memorial: St Julians Methodist Church, Newport, Monmouthshire

Notes: Olive, born 1886, joined the Post Office in Newport as a learner in 1903. She later worked in Totnes and Pontypool. In November 1917 she joined the WAAC as a signaller-telegraphist, and was sent to Abbeville in northern France, later transferring to Calais. Whilst home on leave in May 1918 she became ill, and was medically discharged from the WAAC in August. Though she returned to civilian work, she died of the complications of Spanish Flu. Her name appears on the memorial plaque in St Julian’s Methodist Church, Newport, and she is buried in Christchurch cemetery.

Sources: Sylvia Mason: Every Woman Remembered, Daughters of Newport in the Great War. Saron publishers 2018

Reference: WaW0107

Death notice of Olive White, South Wales Argus

Death notice of Olive White

Death notice of Olive White, South Wales Argus


Edith Richards

Service: Sister

Notes: Mother, Mimmi (Sarah) and sister, Edith, to her left, at Tom’s graveside, c.1920; Gunner Thomas Sidney Richards,‘killed in action’, Armentieres, France, 14 March 1918, aged 20 in northern France, c. 1920

Reference: WaW0080

Photograph of Edith and Mimmi (Sarah) Richards, Mother and sister of Gunner Thomas Sidney Richards, at his grave in France, c.1920; Tom Richards  was ‘killed in action’, Armentieres,France

Edith and Mimmi (Sarah) Richards

Photograph of Edith and Mimmi (Sarah) Richards, Mother and sister of Gunner Thomas Sidney Richards, at his grave in France, c.1920; Tom Richards was ‘killed in action’, Armentieres,France

Tom Richards  was ‘killed in action’, Armentieres, France

Thomas Richards

Tom Richards was ‘killed in action’, Armentieres, France


Gwenllian Elizabeth Roberts

Place of birth: Llangynidr

Service: Sister, QAIMNS Reserve

Notes: Gwenllian Roberts was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her services at the Central Military Hospital, Chatham, Kent.

Reference: WaW0115

Sister Gwenllian Elizabeth Roberts QAIMNSR wearing her Royal Red Cross medal

Gwenllian Elizabeth Roberts

Sister Gwenllian Elizabeth Roberts QAIMNSR wearing her Royal Red Cross medal

Sister Gwenllian Roberts’s Royal Red Cross, awarded August 5th 1919.

Gwenllian Roberts’s Royal Red Cross

Sister Gwenllian Roberts’s Royal Red Cross, awarded August 5th 1919.


Edinburgh Gazette listing Sister Roberts’s award, August 5th 1919 (8th in the right hand column).

Edinburgh Gazette listing Sister Roberts’s award

Edinburgh Gazette listing Sister Roberts’s award, August 5th 1919 (8th in the right hand column).

Newspaper report of Sister Roberts’s award, Llais Llafur25th October 1919.

Newspaper report

Newspaper report of Sister Roberts’s award, Llais Llafur25th October 1919.


Hannah Davies

Place of birth: Glog, Pembrokeshire

Service: Sister

Death: 1918 ?, Glog, Pembrokeshire, Influenza / Ffliw

Notes: Hannah was the sister of two soldiers, William and John, both serving overseas. John, the younger, was killed and is buried in Jerusalem. William survived, but brought home Spanish flu. He survived that too, but Hannah caught it nursing him, and died. Letters from both brothers, in Welsh and English, survive.

Reference: WaW0243

Letter in English from William to Hannah Davies, written on YMCA paper, on January 21st, 1918.

Letter

Letter in English from William to Hannah Davies, written on YMCA paper, on January 21st, 1918.

Reverse of letter in English from William to Hannah Davies, written on YMCA paper, on January 21st, 1918.

Letter (reverse)

Reverse of letter in English from William to Hannah Davies, written on YMCA paper, on January 21st, 1918.


Letter in Welsh  from William to Hannah Davies, written on Church Army Recreation Hut paper. Winter 1917-18

Letter

Letter in Welsh from William to Hannah Davies, written on Church Army Recreation Hut paper. Winter 1917-18

Letter in Welsh  from William to Hannah Davies, written on Church Army Recreation Hut paper. Winter 1917-18 (reverse)rn

Letter (reverse)

Letter in Welsh from William to Hannah Davies, written on Church Army Recreation Hut paper. Winter 1917-18 (reverse)rn


Gladys Butler

Place of birth: Valleys, 1914

Service: Small child

Notes: Gladys Butler had vivid memories of being dressed in a miniature soldier's uniform (c.1916/17) and being stood on a table. When admired as a 'smart soldier boy', she insisted 'I'm not a boy, I'm a girl!' (CF November 2014)

Reference: WaW0090


Arvona (Fona) Powell Jones

Place of birth: Gorseinon July 10th, 1915

Service: Small child

Notes: Fona confirmed her address and date of birth: July 10th, 1913. She recalled a story about her mother during the First World War asking her, because her father had received call-up papers, ‘You don’t want your father to go to war do you? She replied’ ‘Oh! Yes!’, because she had seen her uncle, who was at sea, in a uniform with a whistle around his neck. She thought therefore that her father would have a uniform and a whistle too. So she was delighted at the prospect of her father dressed in a uniform and whistle. But she remembers her mother’s face falling. ‘Oh! She was terribly disappointed that I had said that I wanted my father to go to war.’ But her father worked in the steelworks and since steel was required during the war he worked there for the duration of the war. rnHer parent’s names were Mary Ann Powell and Richard Jones; her father came from Cydweli and her mother was local to Gorseinon area. Her father had worked in the steelworks in Cydweli too. rnShe also talks of her uncle, Brynmor, who was in the navy and who hated the war. At the end of the war he gave his navy clothes to her mother and told her to do what she wanted with them. She made Fona a dress from the bell-bottoms – they were of serge and added flowers etc onto it. She wore it all the time – to chapel and all. This was when she was about 5-6 years old. She remembers wearing it and swinging of a tree branch in it. rnHer mother’s brother (Tom in 1915 according to the family’s family tree)) died of typhoid in Crystal Palace during the war and she has a photograph of a wedding during the war with the men dressed in black in memory of him. rnAnother of her mother’s brothers (Baden) was called up but when he arrived at the mess plates were being thrown all over the place. The Armistice – peace agreement had just been signed. And that’s all he saw of the war. Fona also recalled how, for the duration of the war, her mother removed a model of an eagle which was on top of the family’s grandfather clock and stored it away in a drawer, because it was a reminder and symbol of Germany. After the war it was restored to its place on top of the clock! ‘Memory is a strange thing isn’t it.

Sources: fona_jones_gorseinon.wave_sound

Reference: WaW0075

A family wedding showing a blurred Fona Jones, bottom left. The women were all dressed in mourning for Fona's uncle Tom, who had died in 1915.

Fona Jones bottom left (blurred) at family wedding.

A family wedding showing a blurred Fona Jones, bottom left. The women were all dressed in mourning for Fona's uncle Tom, who had died in 1915.

Fona Jones's mother Mary Anne Jones née Powell as a young woman.

Mary Anne Jones née Powell c.1905

Fona Jones's mother Mary Anne Jones née Powell as a young woman.


Margaret Evans Thomas

Place of birth: Pwllheli

Service: Staff Nurse, TFNS, 1914 - 1918

Death: 1918-11-08, 1st London General Hospital, Pneumonia

Memorial: War Memorial; Nurses Memorial, Pwllheli; St Asaph, Caernarfon; Flintshire

Notes: Margaret Evans Thomas was a trained nurse, aged 28 when she died of pneumonia following influenza. Her name appears on the Nurses Memorial in St Asaph’s Cathedral.

Sources: http://www.flintshirewarmemorials.com/memorials/st-asaph-memorial/st-asaph-cathedral-welsh-nurses-ww1/thomas-margaret-evans/

Reference: WaW0017

Name of M E Thomas on Pwllheli War Memorial

Pwllheli War Memorial

Name of M E Thomas on Pwllheli War Memorial

Letter from Miss Sidney Brown to Agnes Conway of the Womens Section of the Imperial War Museum listing Margaret’s name as having died of pneumonia.

Letter

Letter from Miss Sidney Brown to Agnes Conway of the Womens Section of the Imperial War Museum listing Margaret’s name as having died of pneumonia.


Florence Gwendolin Howard

Place of birth: Pontypridd ?

Service: Staff Nurse, Territorial Nursing Service/Gwasanaeth Nyrsio Tiri

Death: 1914-11-18, Not known, Septic poisoning / Gwenwyno septig

Memorial: St Catherines Church, grave Glyntaff Cemetery, Pontypridd, Glamorgan

Notes: Nothing is currently known of Florence Howard.

Sources: http://twgpp.org/information.php?id=2257521; http://www.qaranc.co.uk/war_graves_memorials_Nurse/Nyrss.php

Reference: WaW0026

Name of Florence Howard on war memorial plaque in St Catherine’s Church, Pontypridd

St Catherine’s Church, Pontypridd

Name of Florence Howard on war memorial plaque in St Catherine’s Church, Pontypridd

Florence Howard in uniform

Florence Howard

Florence Howard in uniform


Gertrude Madley

Place of birth: Llanelli, 1892

Service: Staff Nurse, QAIMNS Reserve / Wrth gefn, September 1916 - May 1920

Notes: Gertrude Madley was the daughter of a tinplate rollerman, and worked as a tinplate hand before training as a nurse in Swansea in 1913. She joined Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve as a Staff Nurse in September 1916. At just twenty-three years of age she was one of the youngest nurses to serve with the Reserve during the Great War. She served initally in Malta, and then, 1918 - 1920, in France

Sources: http://greatwarnurses.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/from-small-acorns-mighty-oaks-grow.html

Reference: WaW0098

Staff Nurse Gertrude Madley QAIMNS in France 1919

Gertrude Madley in France 1919

Staff Nurse Gertrude Madley QAIMNS in France 1919


Alice Meldrum

Place of birth: Trevor Llangollen, 1880

Service: Staff Nurse, QAIMNS Reserve / Wrth gefn, 1914 - 1920

Notes: Alice Meldrum survived the sinking of the Hospital Ship HMHS Anglia 17th November 1915. The ship was carrying wounded men from Boulogne to Folkestone when it struck a mine. Alice's account reads:“We carried as many as possible on deck, and those that could threw themselves into the sea; others were let down in the lifeboat, but unfortunately it was only possible to lower one boat, as the ship was sinking so rapidly. The patients kept their heads wonderfully, there was no panic whatever, and when one realises that in the vast majority of cases they were suffering from fractured limbs, severe wounds, and amputations, it speaks volumes for their spirit, their grit and real bravery for they must have suffered agonies of pain. After we had satisfied ourselves that there was no possible chance of getting any more patients out, for by that time our bows had quite gone under, and only the ship’s stern was above water, with the propellers going at a terrific rate and blinding us with spray, we then got down onto the rudder and jumped into the sea……”. Three hundred wounded and crew were saved by naval and other ships in the area. She wrote 'there was a humourous side to it, for we must have looked very weird in the different garments that had been so kindly supplied to us by the officers and men of the destroyers, who did everything in their power for our welfare……..I would remind you that 40 minutes in the water in November is not the kind of sea-bathing that many would indulge in from choice …….After a good meal on the Ambulance Train, we were soon on our journey to London.”. Alice Meldrum was awarded the Royal Red Cross, and also wrote a short account of her experiences. She spent the remainder of the War working at field hospitals in France.

Sources: http://greatwarnurses.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/sinking-of-hospital-ship-anglia.html

Reference: WaW0101

Experiences of Life on a Hospital Ship in Wartime Alice Meldrum's memoir

Alice Meldrum's memoir

Experiences of Life on a Hospital Ship in Wartime Alice Meldrum's memoir

Alice Meldrum's application to join QAIMNS

Application to join QAIMNS

Alice Meldrum's application to join QAIMNS


Alice Meldrum VAD

Alice Meldrum

Alice Meldrum VAD

Alice Meldrum's Royal Red Cross

Royal Red Cross

Alice Meldrum's Royal Red Cross



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