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Place of birth: Margam
Service: Nurse, QAIMNSR, 1914/08/05 - 1919/ 08/24
Death: 1936, Carcinoma
Notes: Gladys trained as a nurse at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. Her father was the Vicar of Margam. As a reservist, she was called up in August 1914. Initially she served in war hospitals in England, but in 1917 she was sent to France (Etaples), and after the Armistice to Bonn in Germany. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross in February 1917. She seems to have been a solitary person; she had to ask for financial assistance when she developed cancer in 1934, and on her death her record states ‘Miss Paynter-Williamson does not appear to have any relations with whom she had kept in touch’.
Report of Gladys Paynter-Williamson’s award of the Royal Red Cross. Cambria Daily Leader 11th April 1917.
Doctor’s letter passing Gladys Paynter-Williamson as fit for overseas service. 27th July 1917.
Mabel Sybil (May) Leslie (Burr)
Place of birth: Woodlesford near Leeds
Service: Chemist, HM Factory Penrhyndeudraeth, 1915 - 1918
Death: 1937/07/03, Bardsey, Leeds, Cancer / canser
Notes: May Leslie was born 1887, the daughter of a miner. Her father was very interested in education and self-improvement, for himself and his children. May won scholarships to High School and to Leeds University, where she gained First Class Honours in Chemistry in 1908, followed by a three year scholarship to study with Marie Curie in Paris. In 1914 she obtained an assistant lecturer’s post at University College Bangor, and in 1915 was called on to start work in the Explosive Factory in Litherland. She was promoted to Chemist in Charge of a Laboratory, a very rare position for a woman, and then moved into the same role at H M Factory Penrhyndeudraeth, working on explosives. This job ended with the War, and she returned to academic life in England.
Sources: https://newwoodlesford.xyz/schools/may-sybil-leslie/ \r\nDevotion to Their Science: Pioneer Women of Radioactivity, Rayner-Canham Marelene and Geoffrey
Katherine Rosebery Drinkwater (née Jay)
Place of birth: Chippenham
Service: August/Awst 1916 - August/Awst
Death: 1939/12/29, Wrexham, Cause not known
Notes: Katherine Drinkwater, born 1872, was a doctor’s daughter, and had her medical education in London and Liverpool (where she was one of the first women to receive the University’s Diploma of Public Heath). In 1903 she married a GP, widower Dr Harry Drinkwater, and moved to Wrexham. There she became an assistant school medical officer, and also held a position as Assistant Gynaecologist at the Women’s Hospital, Liverpool. In 1916 the Royal Army Medical Corps called for women doctors to volunteer for service in Malta, and Katherine was one of the first group of 22 to go. Life as a woman doctor with the RAMC was not easy. In a letter to the Times in 1918, Dr Jane Walker, President of the Women’s Medical Federation wrote “Although many of the medical women serving in the army not only have a high professional standing in civil practice, but now have a large experience in military hospitals, they rank below the latest joined R.A.M.C. subaltern, and are obliged to take orders from him. When they travel, they travel not as officers, but as ‘soldiers’ wives’”. Katherine had charge of the Military Families Hospital in the Auberge d’Aragon in Valletta, and remained there a year. In 1918 she was awarded the OBE for her work. After her return she continued to work in public health, became a JP, and continued with her husband to win prizes for their West Highland terriers in North Wales shows.
Katherine had charge of this Military Families Hospital in the former Auberge d’Aragon, in Valletta, Malta.
Report of Dr Drinkwater’s imminent return from Malta. Llangollen Advertiser 3rd August 1917
Katherine Drinkwater’s award of the OBE (right hand column, fifth from the bottom). London Gazette June 7th 1918.
Ethel Clara Basil Jayne
Place of birth: Llanelly
Service: Businesswoman, laundry owner, munitions welfare officer, government advisor
Death: 1940, St Albans, Cause not known
Notes: Ethel Jayne was born in 1874, daughter of the proprietor of the Brynmawr Coal and Iron Company Ltd. She trained in laundry work, and set up her own steam laundry company, Little Laundries Ltd, in Harrow in about 1906. At the outbreak of war she joined the Women’s Volunteer Reserve, and also worked organising canteens for the French Red Cross. In 1916 she was appointed chief welfare officer for the Armstrong Whitworth armaments company, becoming responsible for more than 20,000 women employed in the North of England and Glasgow. Her welfare innovations included steam laundries. In 1919 she gave evidence on welfare to the Parliamentary Committee on Women in Industry. She was among the first recipients of the OBE in August 1917. After her death her ashes were buried in the family grave in Llanelli.
Ethel Basil Jayne 1907
Ethel Basil Jayne driving to one of her early laundries in a pony and trap. This was her preferred mode of transport.
Miss Ethel Basil Jayne’s name in the first list of OBEs. London Gazette 24th August 1917.
Hester Millicent MacKenzie (née Hughes)
Place of birth: Bristol
Service: Educationalist, activist
Death: 1942, Brockweir, Cause not known
Notes: Born in 1863, Millicent MacKenzie was appointed associate Professor of Education (women) at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (later Cardiff University) in 1904, and full Professor in 1910. She was the first women professor in Wales. She was a co-founder of the Cardiff and District Women’s Suffrage Society in 1908, which by 1914 was the largest outside London with 1200 members. Both before and during the War she was much involved the Girls’ Club of the University Settlement in Splott, Cardiff (where she met her husband, Prof J S Mackenzie). She stood, unsuccessfully as Labour Candidate for the Welsh universities’ seat in the 1918 election, the only woman to stand for a Welsh seat.
Report on women candidates’ results in the 1918 General Election. Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard 3rd January 1919.
Report on election expenses, University of Wales candidates. North Wales Chronicle 14th February 1919rn
Gertrude Mary Bailey (née Buchanan)
Place of birth: Sunderland
Service: Businesswoman, Committee woman, Grand Dame, 1914 - 1919
Death: 1942, Cause not known
Notes: Gertrude Bailey moved to Newport following her marriage to the wealthy Newport ship-repairer C H Bailey in 1895. Following his death in 1907 she continued to run his successful business. From the outbreak of War she became involved in many war-related activities, included help for Belgian Refugees and the Red Cross, and serving on the War Pensions committee. In 1917 Gertrude established a crèche for the children of women munitions workers. She received the CBE in 1918; curiously there is no citation with her name. Perhaps she was involved in too many things to list. In 1920 she handed over the business to her sons, and became one of Newport’s first two women magistrates. Gertrude was anti-suffrage before the War, and patron of temperance societies. Who’s Who in Newport (1920) described her as ‘La Grande Dame of the place’.
Sources: Sylvia Mason: Every Woman Remembered. Saronpublishers 2018\r\nhttp://www.newportpast.com/gallery/photos/php/search.php?search=munition&search2=&Submit=Submit
Lydia Elizabeth (Bessie) Jones
Place of birth: Llanfrothen
Service: Nurse, 1914/5 - 1919
Death: 1942, Cause not known
Notes: Bessie Jones (born 1872) was her forties when the War broke out. She came from a large middleclass family, was involved in the community (she was a Lady Visitor at Penrhyndeudraeth Workhouse) and followed her father’s pack of otter hounds. Early in the War she joined the French Red Cross, and served with them until 1919. In the latter stages of the War she worked as an anaesthetist working long hours under bombardment and her hospital was damaged by shrapnel. She also witnessed an early blood transfusion. She wrote long letters to her sister Minnie Jones [qv], some of which were published in the local press. She also wrote some articles that were published in Welsh Outlook including Dawn in a French Hospital (October 1916) using the pseudonym Merch o’r Ynys. Her final posting was in Strasbourg; she returned home in August 1919. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre for her work in the Champagne region of France, and also the Military Medal. Bessie seems to have been fluent in English, Welsh and French, as well as being an accomplished pianist.
Letter to Bessie’s sister Minnie Jones describing a blood transfusion. Yr Herald Cymraeg 2nd April 1918.
Letter to Bessie’s sister Minnie Jones describing life in a field hospital under bombardment, and being suspected of being a spy, Cambrian News 16th August 1918 1.
Letter to Bessie’s sister Minnie Jones describing life in a field hospital under bombardment, and being suspected of being a spy, Cambrian News 16th August 1918.
Beginning of Bessie Jones’s (Merch o’r Ynys) essay ‘Dawn in a French Hospital’. Welsh Outlook Vol 3 No 10 October 1916.
Report of Bessie Jones’s return from France, and her performance in a concert. North Wales Chronicle 29th August 1919.
Emily Frost Phipps
Place of birth: Devonport
Service: Teacher, activist, barrister
Death: 1943, Heart disease / Clefyd y galon
Notes: Born November 1865 and the daughter of a dockyard coppersmith, Emily Phipps worked her way from pupil teacher to headmistress of Swansea Municipal Girls’ School in 1895. She was an active feminist, boycotting the 1911 census with her partner Clara Neal (and three others, staying in a sea-cave overnight), was President of the National Union of Women Teachers 1915, 1916 and 1917, and was the editor of the Union journal. She promoted professional careers for girls, shocking some in March 1914 by suggesting that they could become dentists. Emily Phipps stood for Parliament, for Chelsea, in the 1918 election, one of only two women in Wales to stand. She later studied for the bar, and became a barrister in 1925.
Headline to report of Emily Phipps’s speech at Municipal Secondary Schools Prizegiving, 20th March 1914. Cambrian Daily Leader 21st March 1914rnrn
Report on women candidates’ results in the 1918 General Election. Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard 3rd January 1919.rn
Margaret Ker Pryse-Rice (Stewart)
Place of birth: Cardiganshire
Service: Red Cross president, Brisitsh Red Cross Society
Death: 1948, Cause not known
Notes: Margaret Pryse-Rice was the mother of Dorothea and Nest. She was President of the Carmarthenshire Branch of the British Red Cross Society and was made a Dame of the British Empire in the New Year Honours of 1918. She died in 1948, aged 72.
London Gazette 7th January 1918
London Gazette 7th January 1918, showing the name of Margaret Pryse-Rice
Report of Margaret Pryse-Rice’s honour in the Carmarthen Journal. The Cambrian News reported it too, but only mentioned her husband’s achievements!
Place of birth: Rhondda
Service: Nurse (Sister), 1914 - 1918
Death: 1949, Cause not known
Notes: Sister Sally Constant nursed at Llwynypia Hospital, Rhondda, throughout the War. She may have trained in Cardiff before the War. Like many nurses, she had an album (dating back to 1907), which includes many entries from soldier patients. She worked up until WW2.