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 unit

Gladys *

Place of birth: Cardiff

Service: Girl

Notes: Photograph of a teenage girl dressed in the uniform of a regular soldier in the Royal Artillery (too large for her) complete with swagger stick, seated in a chair. Her hair is tied back with a large bow, indicating that she is probably no older than 16 or 17.; Reverse of photograph indicating it was taken at Gale’s Studios Ltd, Queen’s Street, Cardiff. Inscribed in ink ‘From Gladys / To Ada’.

Reference: WaW0077

Photograph of Gladys, a teenage girl, dressed in the uniform of the Royal Artillery, c.1914

Photograph of Gladys, Cardiff

Photograph of Gladys, a teenage girl, dressed in the uniform of the Royal Artillery, c.1914

Reverse of photograph, taken at  Gale’s Studios Ltd, Queen’s Street, Cardiff, inscribed 'To Ada From Glady's.

Reverse of photograph of Gladys

Reverse of photograph, taken at Gale’s Studios Ltd, Queen’s Street, Cardiff, inscribed 'To Ada From Glady's.


Jean Arbuckle

Place of birth: Scotland

Service: Schoolgirl

Notes: 'My mother, Jean Wardlaw Arbuckle, was born in Scotland and spent her early years there in various small towns and villages in the central belt from Gourock in the west to Preston Pans in the east. She was the third of twelve children. When she was about 11 years old, the family moved to the coal-mining valleys in Wales, as her father sought promotion in the coal industry.My mother was 15 years old when World War I broke out. The memories she passed down to me were of the extreme difficulty in obtaining food, and its high cost, until rationing was brought in. She said that it was extremely unfair for poorer families, and that rationing made the situation much fairer. At the beginning of the War the family lived in Tondu, just north of Bridgend, but moved to Llanharan, eight miles from Bridgend some time during 1915. She attended Bridgend County School during those years, travelling by train from Llanharan station. The scarcity of staff seems to have caused some level of amalgamation of the boys and girls schools. It seems to have been quite a lax regime with a considerable amount of truancy. The pupils often disappeared during the day, walking to Merthyr Mawr, boys and girls together.One day she decided to leave school early, and hitched a lift with a farmer, riding in his horse-drawn trap back to Llanharan on the then narrow and twisting road. My grandfather had one of the few cars in the area at that time, and she heard it coming towards them along the road. She knew that if he saw her she would get the strap, so she jumped off the trap, over the hedge, and then walked the rest of the way home.The family were members of the Plymouth Brethren, but this does not seem to have stopped the children running a bit wild.' Janet Davies 13.11.2015.

Reference: WaW0078


Minnie Bevan

Place of birth: Swansea

Service: Munitions Worker

Notes: Suffered from shock but survived the accident that killed Gwendoline (Gwenllian) Williams and Sarah Jane Thomas 8th January 1919

Reference: WaW0085

Minnie Bevan mentioned in a newspaper report, Carmarthen Journal Jan 1919

Newspaper report of explosion

Minnie Bevan mentioned in a newspaper report, Carmarthen Journal Jan 1919


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


Clemima Coopey

Service: Munitions Worker, 1916 - 1918

Death: 1918-02-26, Blaenavon Workmen, Industrial Accident / Damwain Ddiwydiannol

Notes: Clemima Coopey became entangled in the machinery of the motor-house at the Blaenavon.Co.Ltd. She was rushing to catch the 9.30 pm train, and had illegally left her shoes there. Her husband was a soldier fighting in Salonika, and she had three young children.

Reference: WaW0071

Report of inquest into the death of Clemima Coopey (1)

Newspaper account of inquest (1)

Report of inquest into the death of Clemima Coopey (1)

Report of inquest into the death of Clemima Coopey (2)

Newspaper account of inquest (2)

Report of inquest into the death of Clemima Coopey (2)


Elizabeth Beatrice Cope

Place of birth: Lancashire, c.1871

Service: Mother

Notes: Beatrice Cope lived with her husband George in Trelleck, Monmouthshire. Here she is photographed with her younger son George, known as Eric. He was a temporary second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion (1st Tyneside Scottish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The photograph was probably taken just before Eric was sent to France in January 1916. Eric was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916. He was just 18 years old. Elizabeth Beatrice Cope lived with her husband George in Trelleck, Monmouthshire. They had previously lived in Denbighshire. Here she is photographed with her younger son George, known as Eric. He was a temporary second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion (1st Tyneside Scottish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The photograph was probably taken just before Eric was sent to France in January 1916. Eric was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916. He was just 18 years old. Elizabeth Beatrice Cope lived with her husband George in Trelleck, Monmouthshire. They had previously lived in Denbighshire. Here she is photographed with her younger son George, known as Eric. He was a temporary second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion (1st Tyneside Scottish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The photograph was probably taken just before Eric was sent to France in January 1916. Eric was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916. He was just 18 years old.

Reference: WaW0069

Beatrice Cope with her son Eric, possibly early 1916

Beatrice Cope with her son Eric

Beatrice Cope with her son Eric, possibly early 1916


Edith E Copham

Service: Munitions Worker

Death: 1918-11-18, NEF Pembrey, Ffrwydrad

Memorial: Cenotaph, Swansea, Glamorgan

Notes: aged 19. She was killed in the same explosion as Mary Fitzmaurice and Jane Jenkins; MF and EEC shared a public funeral.

Sources: Explosion report Herald of Wales 14th December 1914; Funeral report South Wales Weekly Post 30 Nov 1918 / Adroddiad am y ffrwydrad Herald of Wales 14eg Rhagfyr 1914; Adroddiad am yr angladd South Wales Weekly Post 30ain Tachwedd 1918

Reference: WaW0002

Name of Edith E Copham on Swansea Cenotaph

Swansea Cenotaph

Name of Edith E Copham on Swansea Cenotaph

Report of Funeral of Edith E Copham and Mary Fitzmaurice

Newspaper report

Report of Funeral of Edith E Copham and Mary Fitzmaurice


Explosion report Herald of Wales 14th December 1918

Newspaper report

Explosion report Herald of Wales 14th December 1918


Annie Crosby

Place of birth: Liverpool

Service: Passenger

Death: 1915-05-07, SS Lusitania, Drowning/Boddi

Memorial: War memorial, Bagillt, Flintshire

Notes: aged 36, drowned with her sister Ellen in the sinking of the Lusitania

Sources: http://www.flintshirewarmemorials.com; www.rmslusitania.info/

Reference: WaW0003


Ellen (Nellie) Crosby

Place of birth: Liverpool

Service: Passenger

Death: 1915-05-07, SS Lusitania, Drowning / Boddi

Memorial: War memorial, Bagillt, Flintshire

Notes: aged 40, drowned with her sister Annie in the sinking of the Lusitania

Sources: http://www.lintshirewarmemorials.com; www.rmslusitania.info/

Reference: WaW0004


Violet Annie Davies

Place of birth: Llanelli

Service: Telephonist

Notes: Aged 15. Received the Medal of the Order of the British Empire 'For courage in remaining at her post at the telephone during a severe explosion'.

Sources: The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser;

Reference: WaW0006

report of presentation in The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser 19th April 1918

Newspaper report

report of presentation in The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser 19th April 1918

Report of presentation Cambrian Leader 30 April 1918

Newspaper report

Report of presentation Cambrian Leader 30 April 1918


 Reverse of photograph showing Violet Annie Davies's handwriting

Violet Davies (reverse)

Reverse of photograph showing Violet Annie Davies's handwriting

Violet was 15-year-old telephonist at a munitions factory, awarded the MOBE for staying at her post during an explosion

Violet Annie Davies

Violet was 15-year-old telephonist at a munitions factory, awarded the MOBE for staying at her post during an explosion



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