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Place of birth: Newport Monmouthshire
Service: Waitress, WRAF, February 1918 – September 19
Notes: May Stratford, born 1898, joined the WRAF in 1918. She seems to have served, as a waitress, in various RAF bases in South East England. She died in 1982
May Stratford in WRAF uniform. Also in the photograph is a coin engraved with her name and ‘WRAF’.
G[w]ladys Allet Mathias
Place of birth: Ferndale
Service: Waitress, WAAC, 1918 - 1919
Notes: G[w]ladys joined the WAAC at Newport in May 1918. She was posted to Kinmel Park in north Wales, and then to Chadderton Camp near Oldham. She had previously worked as a barmaid, and her references for the WAAC describe her as a ‘good clean housemaid’, but perhaps army life did not suit her as she was twice fined for being absent without leave.
Sources: National Archives WO-398-146-1
Maud Jarman (Larnder)
Place of birth: Glangwryne, Mongomeryshire
Service: Waitress, QMAAC, 1918/07/25 - 1919/05/13
Notes: Maud Jarman had been working as a housemaid for three years, currently at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Machynlleth, when she responded to an advertisement for QMAACs in the Cambrian News. She joined at Cardiff in July 1918 to serve as a waitress at various army bases. After her discharge from the Corps in May 1919 there seems to have been considerable confusion about her back pay and sick pay. There seems to have been considerable confusion as to who should pay her. A good section of her file in the National Archives is devoted to sorting this problem, which was finally resolved in September 1919.
Sources: National Archives WO-398-117-26
Advertisement for QMAACS. Possibly this is the one Maud referred to in her letter. Cambrian News 31st May 1918.
Mary Ellen Small
Place of birth: Abercreg[g]an
Service: Waitress, Womens Legion
Notes: Mary Ellen Small gave birth to a baby boy in April 1918. The father William Speake, who denied paternity, was a corporal in the Welsh Regiment, and formerly a collier from Trealaw. They met while he was training at Kinmel Camp at Boddelwyddan, where she worked as a waitress. He was ordered to pay 5 shillings a week until the boy was 14.
Ethel Maud Lilian Richards
Place of birth: Cwmbran
Service: Waitress, WAAC then WRAF, 1918/03/10 – 1918/10/02
Death: 1918/10/02, Influenza ? / Ffliw ?
Memorial: Shorncliffe Military Cemetery, Shorncliffe, Kent
Notes: Ethel enlisted in the WAAC in Cardiff, and was posted to Winchester. She was transferred to the WRAF when it was established in April 1918. She was 26 when she died.
Place of birth: Builth Wells
Service: Waitress then Cook, WAAC, 1918/05/O7– 1918/08/05/
Notes: Alice, aged 23, served first as a waitress, then as a cook during her brief career in WAAC/QMAAC. She was discharged on medical grounds.
Edith Mary Tonkin
Place of birth: Sandford Devon
Service: Ward maid, VAD, 1917/11/06 – 1918/10/13
Death: 1918-10-13, 3rd General Hospital Le Treport, Pneumonia / Niwmonia
Memorial: War memorial, Llandaff, Glamorgan
Notes: Edith was born on a farm in Devonshire in 1892. She moved to Cardiff when her father inherited a pub from his uncle. She worked as a ward maid at the 3rd General hospital in Tréport, France, where she died aged 26. Her name appears on Llandaff war memorial with that of her younger brother William John (Jack), who died at the battle of Loos in 1915.
Headstone commemorating Edith Mary Tonkin, Mount Huon Military Cemetery Normandy. Courtesy Peter Bennett Dewberry Yorkshire
Photograph of the Tonkin family on the family farm in Devon, c 1910. Courtesy Maureen Roberts, Western Australiarn
Mary Elizabeth Lewis
Place of birth: Abergavenny
Service: Ward maid, VAD
Death: 1923/04/06, Abergavenny, Cause not known
Notes: Mary Elizabeth Lewis joined the VAD aged 19 in 1918. She served as a ward maid in France, in the Australian hospital in Sutton Verney, and then again in France for 6 months, being discharged in January 1920. She died three years later. Her gravestone in Abergavenny cemetery bears the badge of the British Red Cross Society.
Gravestone of Mary Elizabeth Lewis, showing the badge of the British Red Cross and the inscription ‘She served for two years in France during the Great War as a British Red Cross Nurse’. Thanks to Marian Senior and ALHS.
Place of birth: Denbighshire ?
Service: washerwoman, 1918 - 1919
Notes: Despite not being a member of the Red Cross, Elizabeth Roberts worked one day for free, as well as 3 or 4 paid, doing the washing for the auxiliary 36 bed Red Cross hospital in Chirk. ‘The work was very heavy’.
Place of birth: Denbighshire ?
Notes: A Red Cross card records that Elizabeth worked for 11 months as a washerwoman at Brynkinalt Auxiliary Hospital, Chirk for 4 to 5 days a week, one of them unpaid. Her husband was a collier away on active service. The Commandant remarked ‘The work was very heavy, and she was most ungrudging in giving extra time, and did the work admirably’. She was not a member of the British Red Cross.