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Hilda Campbell Vaughan (Morgan)
Place of birth: Builth Wells
Service: Cook, agricultural organiser, novelist, VAD, WLA, 1915 - 1919
Death: 1985, Cause not known
Notes: Hilda Vaughan, born 1892, was the daughter of a solicitor prominent in Brecknockshire and Radnorshire. Early in the war she joined the VAD as a cook at the Red Cross hospital in Builth but in 1917 left ‘to take up Land work with a salary’. During the time that she worked as a VAD, she took the lead in organising a free library for the town; it opened in November 1915. Hilda was already involved in encouraging women on to the land, and farmers to accept them. Her new position was organising secretary of the WLA in Breconshire and Radnorshire. After the war Hilda moved to London, married the novelist Charles Morgan, and began to write herself. Her work was much influenced by her experiences of meeting women of all backgrounds in the WLA.
First part of a report on the new Free Library in Builth. Brecon County Times 25th November 1915
Report of an open-air meeting in Brecon, publicising women and farm work. Brecon and Radnor Express 5th April 1917
Report of open-air meeting in Rhayadyr, commenting on Miss Vaughan’s ‘pleasing and persuasive …manner’. Brecon and Radnor Express 31st May 1917
Gabrielle (Bobby) West
Place of birth: Bournemouth
Service: Cook / Policewomen, VAD, 1916 - 1917
Death: 1990, Cause not known
Notes: Gabrielle (Bobby) West was the youngest of five children of a clergyman. Initially she volunteered as a VAD cook, but could not afford to continue to work unpaid, so began paid work at a munitions canteen in London. When police women began to be recruited to work in munitions factories she and her friend Miss Buckpitt joined. After a brief posting to Queensferry NEF they were promoted to Pembrey in January 1917. Her account of her time at Pembrey paints a very full picture of what life was like for the workers there. See her account of Mary Morgan [qv] and her fits. In May 1917 she was transferred to the Royal Ordnance factory, Rotherwas Hereford. When she was 89 years old Bobby was recorded for the Imperial War Museum’s oral archives.
Sources: ed Avalon Richards Menus Munitions and Keeping the Peace: The Home Front Diaries of Gabrielle West 1914 -1917. Pen&Sword 2016https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80008574
Gabrielle’s drawing of the danger buildings at Pembrey. ‘.. where the most dangerous work is done, the sheds are actually inside the hills.'
Mary Dilys Glynne (born Glynne Jones)
Place of birth: Upper Bangor
Service: Scientist, plant pathologist, mountaineer, Rothamsted Institute, 1917 - 1960
Death: 1991, Cause not known
Notes: Mary, born 1895, graduated from the botany department of University College Bangor in 1916 (in the same year as Mary Sutherland qv, and fellow Rothamsted worker Violet Gale Jackson qv). On graduating she briefly joined the Agriculture department at Bangor, but in 1917 moved to the Plant Pathology Department at the Rothamsted Experimental Station in Hertfordshire. In 1917 she was one of the founding members of the new Mycology Department there, working on crop diseases. She remained working at Rothamsted until 1960. Mary was also a renowned mountaineer, achieving many firsts for women during the 1920s and 30s.
Sources: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Report of Bangor graduates including Mary Dilys Glynne, Violet Jackson and Mary Sutherland. North Wales Chronicle 7th July 1916.
Emma May Inker (Stevens)
Place of birth: Penarth
Service: Cook, WAAC / WRAF, 1918/03/15 – 1918/12/31
Death: 1992, Cause not known
Notes: Emma, born 2nd May 1894, worked as a seamstress and in service before joining the WAAC in March 1918. Shortly afterwards she was transferred to the WRAF on its formation on 1st April 1918. She was discharged on compassionate grounds on 31st December as her father was ill. Her daughter Rita Spinola says ‘She never talked much about her time in WW1 as a cook, but she did mention that once whilst marching in London someone shouted out to her “you’re out of step!”.’
RAF Brigade sports
WRAFs at the RAF Brigade sports. Emma Inker can just be seen in the second row between the 6th and 7th people sitting on the ground. Thanks to Rita Spinola.
Emma May Inker
Close-up of Emma May Inker WRAF at the RAF Brigade Sports 1918. Thanks to Rita Spinola.
WRAF Discharge Certificate
WRAF discharge paper for Emma Inker on ‘compassionate grounds’. This shows her transfer from WAAC to WRAF.
Helen Smith (Thomas)
Place of birth: Swansea
Death: 1993, Swansea, Cause not known
Notes: Helen Smith, born 1908, was the daughter of Alfred and Elizabeth Smith of Swansea who emigrated to America when Helen was a few months old. In 1915 they decided to return to Swansea, and sailed on the Lusitania. When the ship was torpedoed on 7th May 1915 Helen had become separated from her parents and baby brother Hubert. They died, but she was rescued by a Canadian journalist, Ernest Cowper. She was reunited with her aunt Cecelia Owens, another passenger who had lost her two sons in the sinking. She later married John Henry Thomas and lived the rest of her life in Swansea.
Helen Smith with her rescuer Ernest Cowper. Photograph taken in Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland. Helen is wearing new clothes donated by local well-wishers.
Newspaper report (1)
Report of the story of Lusitania survivor Helen Smith (1). Cambrian Daily Leader 10 May 1915
Newspaper report (2)
Report of the story of Lusitania survivor Helen Smith (2). Cambrian Daily Leader 10 May 1915
Newspaper report (3)
Report of the story of Lusitania survivor Helen Smith (3). Cambrian Daily Leader 10 May 1915
Place of birth: Newport
Service: Wife, widow
Death: 1995-11-03, Cause not known
Notes: May’s husband William Henry Selwood died of shell shock on 1st January 1919. She remained a widow for her remaining 76 years – credited with being the longest WW1 widow in Britain. She is buried in Christchurch Cemetery, Newport.
Grave of May Selwood
Grave of May Selwood who is credited with being the longest WW1 widow in Britain. Christchurch Cemetery, Newport
Place of birth: Cardiff
Service: Rugby player, munitions worker
Death: 2007, Cause not known
Notes: Maria Eley played fullback for Cardiff Ladies Rugby Team during 1917 and 1918, including a match against Newport ladies in Cardiff Arms Park on December 16th 1917, when she was 16 years old. Cardiff lost. Maria died in 2007 aged 106.
Advertisement for Grand Rugby Match 16th December 1917. Western Morning News.
Cardiff Ladies Rugby Team, probably taken 16th December 1917. Maria is sitting middle row left.
Place of birth: Bangor
Service: Nurse, TFNS, 1914 - 1917
Death: After / Ar ôl 1947, Cause not known
Notes: Katherine Conway-Jones, born around 1880, trained at the Leicester Infirmary; this was renamed the 5th Northern General Hospital in 1914 (and subsequently changed back). In 1915 she volunteered for foreign service, initially serving in France and subsequently on hospital ships serving the Dardanelles, Egypt, India, Mesopotamia and German East Africa. She was appointed Matron of HMHS Oxfordshire in April 1916. In the summer of 1917, declared ‘unfit for further service in the tropics, but fit for service in Egypt’, she returned to the UK on the New Zealand hospital ship Maheno, where she also served as Matron. She spent the rest of her time back in Leicester.She was mentioned in despatches three times, and was awarded the Royal Red Cross second class in 1916 for her work in the Dardanelles, and first class in 1917 for bravery during the mining of SS Tyndareus off South Africa. Her medals were sold for £2800 in 2015.rnAfter leaving the TFNS in 1919 she emigrated to Canada to set up a small-holding on Lulu Island, Vancouver, with Julia Hamilton, a Canadian nurse whom she had met in Salonika.A large file of Katherine’s official papers survives in the National Archives.
Sources: National Archives WO 399_10526
Katherine was Matron on this ship, travelling through Suez to India and back to S and E Africa.
Report of Katherine Conway-Jones award of the Royal Red Cross. Y Dydd 22nd June 1917.
Letter from K C-J attempting to claim retrospectively the Mesopotamian Allowance to which nurses working east of Suez were entitled. She was refused, though tried again in 1947.
Letter from K C-J attempting to claim retrospectively the Mesopotamian Allowance to which nurses working east of Suez were entitled. She was refused, though tried again in 1947. (reverse)
Annie Mary Slade (Hall)
Place of birth: Pentre, Rhondda
Service: Munitioms worker, 1916 - 1919
Death: After 2003, Cause not known
Notes: Annie Slade was born in 1903. Her mother was originally from Aberystwyth and her father ‘a bit of a boss’ in the pit. (He died as a result of an injury when Annie was a young teenager). She and her family were lucky to survive a tip slide in 1909. Aged 15 and a half she joined the WAAC in Newport, but her age was discovered (she was on a list to be sent to France) and she and her friend were discharged. At 16 she began working for the National Shell Filling Factory at Rotherwas, Hereford. A long account of her experiences was published in In the Munitions: Women at War in Herefordshire, when she was 100 years old.
Sources: In the Munitions: Women at War in Herefordshire, edited Bill Laws 2003.
Report of the Pentre landslide in which Annie’s family’s house was destroyed. Evening Express 8th February 1909
Place of birth: Llangammarch Wells
Death: August / 1918 / Awst, Llangammarch Wells, Influenza / y ffliw
Notes: Ida Williams was a graduate of University College, Aberystwyth. She taught at intermediate schools in Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Bargoed and finally London, where her health broke down about a year before her death. She seems to have been musical, and to have written for publications including Y Cymro.
Report of the death and funeral of Miss Ida Williams BA. Brecon County Times 8th August 1918.