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Lilias Stuart Mitchell (née Wilsone)
Place of birth: Straights Settlement
Service: Committee woman, mother.
Death: 1949, Kent, Cause not known
Notes: Lilias Mitchell was the wife of A A Mitchell, Alderman and JP in Brecon, and mother of Isabella Mitchell [qv] who drove ambulances in France. Her elder son was killed in Mesopotamia in 1917, and her younger son seriously wounded in France in 1918. She and her husband were noted local Conservatives; Lilias supported refugees and Penoyre Red Cross Hospital. She was also Secretary of the Brecon Hiring Fair Committee and was a member of the Mental Deficiency Act Committee. In June 1918 She was awarded the Medaille de la Reine Elisabeth for her work with Belgian refugees. She and her husband left the area in 1919.
Report of Mrs Mitchell’s appointment to the Mental Deficiency Act Committee. Brecon County Times 5th August 1915.
Letter to the newspaper about provisions for girls at the Brecon Hiring Fair. Brecon County Times 26th April 1917.
Report of Mrs Mitchell’s award of the Medaille de la Reine Elisabeth. Brecon & Radnor Express 27th June 1918.
Notice of auction
List of garden and stable items sold by the Mitchells before their departure from Brecon. Brecon County Times 21st August 1919.
Catherine Meriel (Alcy) Howard (Lady) (née Cowell-Stepney)
Place of birth: London
Service: Philanthropist, committee women, local councillor
Death: 1952, Llanelli, Cause not known
Notes: Lady Howard, born 1876, was the second wife of Edward Stafford Howard, a former Liberal politician and Llanelli benefactor. He was 25 years older than her, and died during his mayoralty of Llanelli in 1916. Lady Howard, who was already an active member of the Board of Guardians (which she later chaired), was co-opted as an alderman to complete his term as mayor. She was subsequently, 1919, elected to the council. She was a strong supporter of the YWCA, and President of the Llanelly Women’s Liberal Association. She was awarded an MBE in 1918, when the Cambrian Daily Leader wrote: ‘No department of war work, no movement for the betterment of the people in Llanelly is complete without her..’. After the war she became a County Councillor and a JP (1920).
Report of Lady Howard’s co-option as Mayor of Llanelly [sic]. Cambrian Daily Leader 17th May 1916.Report of Lady Howard’s co-option as Mayor of Llanelly [sic]. Cambrian Daily Leader 17th May 1916.
Newspaper report and photograph
Report of Lady Howard’s award of MBE. Cambrian Daily Leader 12th June 1918.
First part of report of a meeting of the poor law guardians, chaired by Lady Howard. The guardians, supported by Lady Howard, were complaining about the inadequacy of the new workhouse diet. Llanelly Star 10th August 1918, p 3.
Report of Lady Howard standing for election in the local elections of 1919. She had previously been co-opted, but had a strong belief in a proper ballot. Cambrian Daily Leader 17th November 1919
Gladys May Evans
Place of birth: Margam/Port Talbot ?
Service: Gardener, Womens Land Army
Death: 1952, Cause not known
Notes: Gladys, born 1898, worked in the gardens of St Fagan’s Castle. The castle itself was a war hospital, and the gardens supplied the kitchens. There are several photographs of Gladys; perhaps they were for publicity purposes.
Gladys May Evans
Gladys May Evans in WLA uniform, possibly taken in St Fagans Castle. The badge represents ‘two months approved service’.
Gwendoline Elizabeth Davies
Place of birth: Llandinam
Service: Collector, philanthropist, canteen worker, French Red Cross, 1916 - 1918
Death: 1952/07/03, Leukaemia /Lewcemia
Notes: Gwendoline, born 1882, was the elder granddaughter of David Davies the coal owner and builder of Barry Docks. She, her sister Margaret [qv] and her brother David each received one third of his vast fortune on the death of their father in 1898. All three were strict Calvinistic Methodists, with a strong philanthropic streak. The two sisters began to travel widely, and to study art in Europe. In their early twenties they were beginning to form the collection that is now at the National Museum Wales. In March 1913 the collection was exhibited, anonymously, in Cardiff; the sisters covering all of the cost. It attracted 26000 visitors. At the outbreak of war the sisters promoted a scheme to invite Belgian artists and musicians to come to Wales, settling them in Aberystwyth and Llanidloes [see De Saedeleer]. In 1916, following the death of her cousin in the Dardanelles, Gwen volunteered to join the French Red Cross, leaving in July to open a Cantine des Dames Anglaises where she remained until the end of the war. The Cantine was moved in 1917 to Troyes, where her sister joined her. Gwen’s job as Directrice meant visits to headquarters in Paris, which in turn enabled her to add pictures, including two Cézannes, to her collection. In early 1918 her collections in Paris were at risk from air-raids and long distance shelling, so it was arranged for them to be shipped back to Britain. By 1922 she had given up collecting art. She felt she could not spend money in this way ‘in the face of appalling need everywhere’. During the 1920s Gwendoline set up a centre for the arts at Gregynog near Llandinam, promoting art in the cause of peace and social progress. She continued to give generously to educational and other causes. On her death in 1951 she bequeathed her remarkable collection of paintings and sculpture to the National Museum of Wales.
Sources: Oliver Fairclough [ed] Things of Beauty: What two sisters did for Wales. National Museum Wales 2007. Trevor Fishlock A Gift of Sunlight. Gomer 2014\r\nhttps://museum.wales/articles/2007-07-29/The-Davies-Sisters-during-the-First-World-War/
Oprning of the Ocean Coal Company pithead baths
Gwendoline Davies (centre) and Margaret (left) at the opening of the first pithead baths in Wales, summer 1916. This was shortly before she left for France.
Loan exhibition 1913
Loan exhibition of the Davies sisters’ collection in City Hall, Cardiff, February 1913. It includes Rodin’s The Kiss, bought by Gwendoline in 1912.
Minnie James (née Watkins)
Place of birth: Merthyr Tydfil
Death: 1954, Cause not known
Notes: Minnie was married to William James in January 1891. They had six surviving children. Her three elder sons all served during the War. David was killed in September 1915, aged 24. Thomas died from wounds Christmas day 1918, aged 21, and Jack, who had been wounded too, died of tuberculosis in June 1920 also aged 24. rnIn 1938 Minnie James, then aged 72, was selected to represent all the Welsh mothers who had lost sons during the War, and to open The Temple of Peace.rn
Place of birth: London
Service: Forester, WLA, 1916 -17
Death: 1955, Wellington, New Zealand, Cause not known
Notes: Mary Sutherland was the first woman in Britain to gain a degree in Forestry. She studied at University College, Bangor from 1912 to 1916. After graduation (in the same year as Mary Dilys Glynne and Violet Gale Jackson qv) she worked in the forestry division of the Women’s Land Army, and from 1917 as an assistant experimental officer for the Forestry Commission. Following the contraction of the Forestry Commission in 1922 she moved to New Zealand where she worked for the newly formed State Forest Service.
Sources: Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, 1998.
Report of Bangor graduates including Mary Sutherland, Violet Gale Jackson and Mary Glynne. North Wales Chronicle 7th July 1916.
Dorothea Adelaide Lawry Pughe Jones
Place of birth: Surrey
Service: Suffragist, Commandant, Ethnographer, Educationalist, Public servant, Church Warden, Heiress., VAD, 1914 - 1920
Death: 1955, Cause not known
Notes: Dorothea Pughe Jones, born 1875, inherited Ynysgain, Cricieth from her father in 1897. Following his death she attended Oxford University where she studied history followed by a diploma in ethnography. She was awarded a prize at the 1901 National Eisteddfod for a Welsh history textbook. In 1902 she was part of a British Government team inspecting education in the concentration camps for Boers in South Africa. In 1910 she was one of the founders of the Bangor and District Women’s Suffrage Society. She joined the VAD in 1914, initially as Quartermaster of Caernarfon, but volunteered for service in France in 1915. She was Commandant of the Hotel des Anglaises, the hostel for the relatives of wounded officers in Le Touquet, France, for which she was awarded the MBE. Whilst in France she was appointed Churchwarden in Cricieth despite objections that she was ‘a lady’. In November 1918 she was posted to Salonika as Principal Commandant of the VAD, until May 1920. After her return she was sent by the Government to research openings for women in Australia.
Sources: GB 0210 YNYSGAIN - Pughe-Jones of Ynysgain Collection of Deeds and Papers National Library of Wales Women members and witnesses on British Government ad hoc Committees of Inquiry Elaine Harrison, London School of Economics, Doctor of Philosophy, 1998.
Report of Dorothea Pughe Jones’s return from South Africa. Cambrian News 8th May 1903.
Report of meeting of AGM of Bangor and District Women’s Suffrage Society. North Wales Express 2nd December 1910.
Report of Dorothea’s appointment as churchwarden. North Wales Chronicle 20th April 1917.
Australian newspaper report of Dorothea Pughe Jones’s role in the enquiry into openings in Australia for women from the UK. The Advertiser 10th January 1920 Adelaide S Australia.
Winifred Margaret Coombe Tennant (née Pearce-Serocold)
Place of birth: Stroud
Service: Committee woman, suffragist, bard, spiritualist, patron, mother.
Death: 1956, London, Cause not known
Notes: Winifred was born in 1874; her mother, née Mary Richardson, was Welsh. She married Charles Coombe Tennant in 1895 and they lived at Cadoxton Lodge, near Neath. She became a member of the NUWSS in 1911 and later served on its committee, as well as chairing the Neath committee. During the war she was chair of the Neath Pensions committee and the Glamorgan War Agricultural committee; she was also interested in rural housing and penal reform (she became a JP in 1920). In 1917 she was admitted to the Gorsedd of Bards, taking the bardic name ‘Mam o Nedd’. She chaired the Arts and Crafts committee for the 1918 Eisteddfod, and later became Mistress of the Robes. She had become interested in spiritualism following the death of her baby daughter Daphne in 1908; this revived following the death of her eldest son, killed in Flanders in September 1917, aged 19. She became a well-respected medium though her identity was known only to a few people – she used the pseudonym Mrs Willett. She stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal candidate for the Forest of Dean in the 1922 general election, and was a staunch patron of Welsh artists, particularly Evan Walters.
Sources: Winifred Tennant: a life through Art Peter Lord NLW 2007.\r\nhttp://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s2-COOM-MAR-1874.htm
Report of Winifred Coombe Tennant’s election to the committee of the NUWSS, Cambria Daily Leader 8th July 1915.
Winifred as organiser of the Glamorgan War Agricultural Committee, Herald of Wales 20th May 1916.
Report of a meeting discussing rural reconstruction in Wales after the War. Herald of Wales 10th August 1918.rn
Report of opening of the Art and Crafts Section of the National Eisteddfod, Neath 1918. Also Herald of Wales 10th August 1918.rn
Mary Elizabeth Phillips (Eppynt)
Place of birth: Merthyr Cynog, Brecon
Service: Doctor, Scottish Womens Hospitals, Royal Army Medical Corp, 1914 - 1919
Death: 1956, Cause not known
Notes: Born 1874, Mary Phillips, who took the name ‘Eppynt’ from the mountains near her birthplace, was the first woman to train as a doctor at University College, Cardiff (1894 – 8), and subsequently worked in England. She was a supporter of NUWSS, and sometimes spoke at meetings. On 8th December 1914 she received a telegram from the NUWSS-supported Scottish Women’s Hospitals asking her to go to their hospital in Calais ‘at once’. She remained there until April 1915, when she joined the SWH at Valjevo, Serbia. She was invalided home with fever just before many SWH members were captured by the Austrian/Bulgarian army [see Elizabeth Clement, Gwenllian Morris]. After her recovery she was appointed Chief Medical Officer in the SWH in Corsica, before returning to tour Wales raising funds for the Serbian Hospitals; she was a noted speaker in Welsh and English. In 1918 she went to London to work at the Endell Street Military Hospital in London, a 573-bed hospital staffed entirely by women, most of them suffragettes. After the War she became Deputy Medical Officer of Health for Merthyr Tydfil.
Dr Mary Eppynt Phillips
Dr Mary Eppynt Phillips in the uniform of the Royal Army Medical Corps, photograph taken in 1920. Imperial War Museum.
Telegram asking Dr Phillips to proceed to Calais, 8th September 1914. National Library of Wales.
Report of the award to Dr Phillips of the insignia of the order of St Java [sic, actually Sava] by the King of Serbia. Brecon and Radnor Express 22nd August 1918.
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.