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Place of birth: Brecon
Service: Volunteer, Womens Volunteer Reserve Corps, 1915 - ?
Death: 1956, Montreal, Canada, Cause not known
Notes: Cissie was a chauffeuse before the war. She had two brothers serving in the army, and joined the Women’s Volunteer Reserve Corps in Folkestone in August 1915. In 1920 she emigrated to Montreal Canada, where she later married George Elsdon Mears and had three daughters. Thanks to Ian Sumpter.
Cissie Cripps of Brecon, looking ‘very smart’ in uniform. Brecon County Times 12th August 1915.
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
Gwladys Perrie Williams (Morris)
Place of birth: Llanrwst
Service: Educationalist, administrator, WLA
Death: 1958/07/13, Cause not known
Notes: Born 1889 to Welsh speaking parents, Gwladys was the star pupil at Llanrwst County (one of only two members of the 6th Form there), and a graduate of University College Bangor. She was awarded a fellowship to study mediaeval French at the Sorbonne, Paris, and received a DLitt in 1915. Her edition of Le Bel Inconnu (1929) is still read. Back in Wales 1917 she was appointed WLA organising inspector in South Wales. Gwladys was admitted to Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in 1918. She published ‘Welsh Education in Sunlight & Shadow’ (1919), comparing Welsh and French Intermediate education based on her own experiences. It includes a large number of Central Welsh Board examination papers from Junior Certificate to degree level. She married in 1918 [Sir] Rhys Hopkins Morris, first head of BBC Wales and MP for Carmarthen West, but kept her own name professionally. They met at Bangor University.
Report showing Gwladys Perrie Williams’s school achievements. The Weekly News 27th December 1907.
Margaret Haig Thomas (Mrs/Lady Mackworth, Lady Rhondda)
Place of birth: London
Service: Suffragette, business woman, Commissioner and Controller, editor and publisher, Women’s National Service Department, Ministry of
Death: 1958/07/20, London, Cause not known
Notes: Margaret Haig Thomas, born 1883, was the only child of D.A.Thomas MP, first Viscount Rhondda, and his wife Sybil. The family home was in Llanwern. The family were supporters of women’s suffrage, and Margaret joined the WSPU in Newport in 1909, becoming increasingly militant. In June 1913 she spent six days in Usk Gaol following an attempt to burn out a pillar box in Newport. She strongly supported the war, but did not follow Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst’s extreme jingoism. After working on behalf of Belgian refugees in the early months of the war, she was travelling to New York in the Lusitania, with her father, when it was hit by a German torpedo and sunk on 7th May 1915. Margaret and her father both survived, though she was unconscious in the water for over two hours. [click on the link for her account recorded in 1950 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02qvqwp ]. In 1916 she began work for the Ministry of National Service in Wales, and London, becoming Commissioner of Women’s National Service in Wales and Monmouthshire early in 1917, particularly charged with encouraging girls and women into agriculture. Soon she was also heavily recruiting young women for the WAAC, particularly those qualified to work as army clerks in France. Women were also needed for the newly formed WRNS and WRAF. In February 1918 she was appointed Chief Controller of the Women’s Section of the Ministry of National Service.rnOn the death of her father in 1918 Margaret inherited the title of Lady Rhondda. She continued in business and public life for many years after the war.rn
Sources: Angela V John Turning the Tide’, Parthian Books 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02qvqwp
Advertisement for a meeting in Brecon to be addressed by Lady Mackworth. Brecon County Times 12th April 1917
First section of a long report of Lady Mackworth’s experiences in the sinking of the Lusitania. Cambrian Daily Leader 10th May 1915. For full account go to http://newspapers.library.wales/search?alt=full_text%3A%22Lady%22+AND+full_text%3A%22Mackworth%22&range%5Bmin%5D=1915-1-01T00%3A00%3A00Z&range%5Bmax%5D=1915-12-31T00%3A00%3A00Z&page=5
Photograph of WAAC clerks
Photograph of newly recruited WAAC clerks on the steps of the Law Courts, Cardiff, June 1917. They are about to leave for France. Margaret Mackworth is front right
Margaret Mackworth’s article on National Service for Welsh women, in the periodical Welsh Outlook, vol 4, no 7, July 1917.
Advertisement for Women’s War Work Week exhibition, held at Howells department store, Cardiff, April 1918.
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
Mary Edith Nepean (née Bellis)
Place of birth: Llandudno
Service: Novelist, artist, columnist, VAD Commandant, VAD, 1914 - 1919
Death: 1960, Llandudno ?, Cause not known
Memorial: St Tudnos Church, Llandudno, Caernarfon
Notes: Edith Nepean was born in 1876; her father John Bellis was Overseer of the Poor in Llandudno. She was a talented artist, winning a silver medal at the National Eisteddfod in Caernarfon, 1894, as well as painting and literary prizes at local eisteddfodau. She married Molyneux Edward Nepean in 1899 and moved to SE England. In 1914 she was appointed Commandant of the Folkestone Detachment of the Red Cross, a post she held until 1919. She published her first romantic novel, ‘Gwyneth of the Welsh Hills’ in 1917. This was turned into a silent film in 1921. This was followed by ‘Welsh Love’ and many other similar titles. She also wrote for contemporary film magazines.
Report of Edith Bellis’s success in the 1894 Eisteddfod. The Weekly News and Visitors Chronicle 20th July 1894
Gwyneth of the Welsh Hills
Edith’s first novel, Gwyneth of the Welsh Hills. Lloyd George is said to have encouraged her writing.rn
Publicity for Edith’s novel Welsh Love. Cambria Daily Leader 17 September 1919rnrn
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
Place of birth: Taicynhaeaf
Service: Munitions worker
Death: 1962, Dolgellau, Cause not known
Notes: Jane Edwards worked in a Liverpool munitions factory, though it is not known which of the many factories there. Family tradition via her nephew says that her hair went yellow from the effect of the powder. Thanks to J T Jones.
Jane Edwards in munitions uniform. Her tunic shows a triangular war-workers badge. Photograph from J T Jones, Bala.
Minna Amelia Benner (née MacFarlane)
Place of birth: Scotland
Service: Doctor, 1914 - 1934
Death: 1962, Hertfordshire, Cause not known
Notes: Minna Benner was one of the first women to qualify as a doctor at Glasgow University, in 1897. After some years in Ireland, working as an assistant MoH, she moved to Newport in 1914 as Assistant Schools Medical Officer. In 1917 she became Newport’s first medical officer for the Maternity and Child Welfare Scheme. She had a particular interest in nutrition of children (a paper she gave on the subject was published in Perspectives in Public Health in 1924), and was a feminist interested in social reform. She lived to be 99.
Sources: British Medical Journal, Who’s Who in Newport 1920