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Ellen Catherine Clay (née Williams)
Place of birth: Penrhos
Service: Nurse (Commandant), Chairman WLA Holyhead, VAD, WLA/Byddin Dir y Merched
Notes: Born a farmer’s daughter in about 1866, Ellen Williams married a local doctor, Thomas William Clay, in 1898. At the outbreak of War she became Assistant Commandant of Holyhead VAD. She worked in Holborn Red Cross Hospital as well as in Anglesey; additionally she helped run the Red Cross Canteen at Holyhead Railway Station. Mrs Clay also chaired the recruitment committee for the Women’s Land Army. She died in 1935.
Sources: Holyhead and Anglesey Mail 7 May / Mai 2014
Place of birth: Swansea
Service: Nurse, SWH, 1915 - 1916
Notes: Daughter of a Swansea pub landlord Elizabeth Clement trained as a nurse at Llanelli Workhouse, where she became Head Nurse. She joined the Scottish Women's Hospitals in the autumn of 1915. She and her party arrived in Serbia early in October. Shortly after their arrival the Austrian army gained ascendancy in Serbia, and most of October was spent moving from place to place to avoid the enemy. By 7th November they were prisoners of the Germans. Eventually their freedom was negotiated, and they arrived in Budapest on the way to Vienna on 6th February. Elizabeth was back in Swansea by mid-February 1916. She seems to have become something of a celebrity; her diaries were published in the South Wales Weekly Post, and her story also appeared at length in Llais Llafur. She gave talks on her experiences, and appeared in the talks of others. A lantern slide of her in ‘Serbian dress’ was shown in a lecture by the popular librarian Mr W. W. Young in January 1917.
Photograph of Elizabeth Clement as head nurse at Llanelli workhouse. Herald of Wales and Monmouthshire Recorder 25th December 1915
First part of the South Wales Weekly Post publications of Elizabeth’s diaries, South Wales Weekly Post 19th and 26th February 1916.
Elizabeth Clement with colleagues and Serbian soldiers
Photograph of Elizabeth Clement, Christmas Day 1915, with colleagues and Serbian soldiers. She is standing back row, third from right.
Report of lecture on Serbia by W.W.Young. Elizabeth was shown in Serbian dress. Cambria Daily Leader 19th January 1917
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.
Place of birth: Bangor
Service: Nurse, TFNS, 1914 - 1917
Death: Not known, but after, 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.rnShe 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.rnA large file of Katherine’s official papers survives in the National Archives.rn
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 1917rnrn
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)
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
Place of birth: Hampshire
Service: Christian charity worker, 1914 - 1919
Notes: Elizabeth Cooper was awarded the OBE in 1918 for her work for sailors on minesweepers operating out of Milford Haven. She had moved to the area in the 1890s as a superintendent of the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. Many trawlers were employed in minesweeping during the War.
Report of Elizabeth Cooper’s award of OBE, Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph 9 Jan 1918
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.
Elizabeth Beatrice Cope
Place of birth: Lancashire, c.1871
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.
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
Elsie Agnes Courtis
Place of birth: Llandaff, 1894
Service: Chauffeuse, FANY, 1914 - 1918
Notes: Elsie originally signed up for ‘kitchen or nursing duties’, but later became an ambulance driver. She was awarded the Military Medal in 1917 ‘for bravery in rescuing wounded under fire in France’.
Women awarded the Military Medal
Photograph of women, including Elsie Courtis, who were awarded the Military Medal, 1918.
London Gazette, 26th June 1918
Elsie Courtis’s award of the Military Medal recorded in the London Gazette, 26th June 1918