Cymraeg

The Experiences of Women in World War One

A collection of information, experiences and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2014-18

A collection of information, experiences and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2014-18

Browse the collection


Sorted by name

Eleanor (or Sarah Jane) Thomas

Place of birth: Cwmbwrla

Service: Munitions Worker

Death: 1919-01-08, NEF Pembrey, Explosion/Ffrwydrad

Memorial: Cenotaph, Swansea, Glamorgan

Notes: aged 20. 'Evidence showed that the explosion occurred when Gwenllian Williams was drilling out a screw from a shell. Eleanor Thomas was carrying in a shell at the time of the explosion.'

Sources: http://newspapers.library.wales/search?query=gwenllian&page=14; The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser

Reference: WaW0059

Name of Eleanor Thomas on Swansea Cenotaph

Swansea Cenotaph

Name of Eleanor Thomas on Swansea Cenotaph


Emily May Thomas (née Matthews)

Place of birth: Carmarthen

Service: Teacher

Death: November /1918 / Tac, Carmarthen, Influenza / y ffliw

Notes: Emily was educated at the County Girls’ School Carmarthen, and matriculated at the early age of 16. She became a teacher at the Model (Church) School in Carmarthen. In February 1918 She married Lieutenant Richard Thomas of the Machine Gun Corps, also a teacher. He was wounded in October 1918. In November, just after he came home from hospital, Emily contracted influenza and died.

Reference: WaW0423

Report of Emily Matthews’s matriculation success. Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 9th September 1910.

Newspaper report

Report of Emily Matthews’s matriculation success. Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 9th September 1910.

Report of Emily Matthews marriage to Richard Thomas. Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 15th February 1918.

Newspaper report

Report of Emily Matthews marriage to Richard Thomas. Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 15th February 1918.


Report of Lieutenant Thomas’s wounding.   Cambria Daily Leader 4th October 1918.

Newspaper report

Report of Lieutenant Thomas’s wounding. Cambria Daily Leader 4th October 1918.

Report of Emily Thomas’s death. Carmarthen Journal 22nd November 1918.

Newspaper report

Report of Emily Thomas’s death. Carmarthen Journal 22nd November 1918.


Eunice Thomas

Place of birth: Swansea ?

Memorial: Mynydd Bach Chapel, Swansea, Glamorgan

Notes: Nothing is known of Eunice Thomas, whose name appears on the Roll of Honour in Mynydd Bach Chapel, Swansea (60)

Reference: WaW0162

Record of the war service of Eunice Thomas, on the Roll of Honour of Mynydd Bach chapel, Swansea

Roll of Honour

Record of the war service of Eunice Thomas, on the Roll of Honour of Mynydd Bach chapel, Swansea


Fannie Thomas

Place of birth: Pontycymer ?

Service: Teacher, Suffragette, Councillor

Notes: Fannie Thomas was a teacher and suffragette, and rnHeadmistress of Ffaldau Schools Pontycymer. The Girls School was separated in 1908, and she remained Head there. A strong supporter of suffrage, she invited Sylvia Pankhurst to speak at Pontycymer (in support of the NSPCC) in April 1907, and herself spoke on suffrage on numerous occasion, being described by the Glamorgan Gazette as ‘a doughty warrior in the women’s cause’. She was also a significant supporter of the National Union of Women Teachers, serving as President in 1912. Very aware of the poverty in the area, she stood unsuccessfully fir the Board of Guardians (being beaten by another women, Mrs Edmund Evans, by 32 votes.) Fannie did however stand successfully as a Labour candidate for Ogmore and Garw Urban District Council in 1919 and later became leader of the council. Fannie Thomas is said to be the first woman in the Garw Valley to wear breeches and the first to ride a motor-bike.

Reference: WaW0460

Report of Sylvia Pankhurst’s talk in aid of the NSPCC organised by Fannie Thomas. Glamorgan Gazette 19th April 1907

Newspaper report

Report of Sylvia Pankhurst’s talk in aid of the NSPCC organised by Fannie Thomas. Glamorgan Gazette 19th April 1907

Report of a debate on women’s suffrage at the Ffaldau Institute; Fannie Thomas proposed the motion ‘should women have the vote’. Glamorgan Gazette 22nd January 1909

Newspaper report

Report of a debate on women’s suffrage at the Ffaldau Institute; Fannie Thomas proposed the motion ‘should women have the vote’. Glamorgan Gazette 22nd January 1909


Report of the contest for a seat on the Board of Guardians. Fannie Thomas lost. Glamorgan Gazette 13th November 1914

Newspaper report

Report of the contest for a seat on the Board of Guardians. Fannie Thomas lost. Glamorgan Gazette 13th November 1914

Comment on Miss F M Thomas’s election to Ogmore and Garw Urban District Council. Glamorgan Gazette 11th April 1919.

Newspaper report

Comment on Miss F M Thomas’s election to Ogmore and Garw Urban District Council. Glamorgan Gazette 11th April 1919.


Gertie Thomas

Place of birth: Carmarthen

Service: Dispenser

Notes: Gertie Thomas qualified as a dispenser certified by the Society of Apothecaries of London in August 1916. She had only just passed her 19th birthday, the minimum qualifying age.

Reference: WaW0307

Report of Gertie Thomas’s success. Carmarthen Reporter 11th August 1916.

Newspaper report

Report of Gertie Thomas’s success. Carmarthen Reporter 11th August 1916.


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

Reference: WaW0257

Advertisement for a meeting in Brecon to be addressed by Lady Mackworth. Brecon County Times 12th April 1917

Newspaper advertisement

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

Newspaper report

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


Report of Mrs Mackworth’s release from Usk Gaol. Aberdare Leader 19th July 1913.

Newspaper report

Report of Mrs Mackworth’s release from Usk Gaol. Aberdare Leader 19th July 1913.

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

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.

Welsh Outlook

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.

Newspaper advertisement

Advertisement for Women’s War Work Week exhibition, held at Howells department store, Cardiff, April 1918.


Mary Elizabeth Thomas (née ?)

Service: Munitions worker, NEF Pembrey, 1917 - 1918

Death: 1918/12/16, NEF Pembrey, Pulmonary oedema / Oedema ysgyfeiniol

Notes: Mary, aged 33, had been working at Pembrey for about a year. On 16th December she was demonstrating a process, how to disassemble shells, to a fellow worker. Suddenly she collapsed, and died soon afterwards. According to her husband she had suffered from bad headaches for 12 months, though she was well when she left for work that morning.

Reference: WaW0299

Report of the inquest into Mary Thomas’s death, Llanelly Star 21st December 1918.

Newspaper report

Report of the inquest into Mary Thomas’s death, Llanelly Star 21st December 1918.


Lily Tobias (Shepherd)

Place of birth: Swansea

Service: Writer, activist, nationalist

Notes: Lily was the daughter of Russian Jewish parents who had fled Russia to avoid conscription, and settled first in Swansea and then in Ystalyfera; she was the first of their children to be born in Wales. She began writing for Lais Llafur at 14, and was heavily involved in suffrage, ILP and pacifist activities. Her brothers were conscientious objectors. She was described by the Labour politician Fenner Brockway as “an active and belligerent pacifist… showing great resourcefulness and courage in defying the authorities and assisting draft dodgers, and those in prison”. She later took up the cause of the establishment of a Jewish state, and wrote several novels.

Sources: Jasmine Donahaye The Greatest Need: The creative life and troubled times of Lily Tobias, a Welsh Jew in Palestine. Honno 2015 https://wciavoices.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/the-shepherd-family-of-ystalyfera-and-pontypridd-in-the-first-world-war

Reference: WaW0245

Lily Tobias, activist and author

Lily Tobias

Lily Tobias, activist and author


Edith Mary Tonkin

Place of birth: Sandford Devon

Service: Ward maid, VAD, 1917/11/06 – 1918/10/13

Death: 1918-10-13, 3rd General Hospital Le Treport, Pneumonia / Niwmonia

Memorial: War memorial, Llandaff, Glamorgan

Notes: Edith was born on a farm in Devonshire in 1892. She moved to Cardiff when her father inherited a pub from his uncle. She worked as a ward maid at the 3rd General hospital in Tréport, France, where she died aged 26. Her name appears on Llandaff war memorial with that of her younger brother William John (Jack), who died at the battle of Loos in 1915.

Reference: WaW0061

Edith Mary Tonkin, VAD,'s name on Llandaff War Memorial

Llandaff War Memorial

Edith Mary Tonkin, VAD,'s name on Llandaff War Memorial

Register for Mont Huon cemetery, Tréport, with entry for Edith Tonkin.

War Graves Register

Register for Mont Huon cemetery, Tréport, with entry for Edith Tonkin.


Edith Tonkin in VAD uniform. Thanks to Maureen Roberts, Western Australia.

Edith Tonkin

Edith Tonkin in VAD uniform. Thanks to Maureen Roberts, Western Australia.

Headstone commemorating Edith Mary Tonkin, Mount Huon Military Cemetery Normandy. Courtesy Peter Bennett Dewberry Yorkshire

headstone

Headstone commemorating Edith Mary Tonkin, Mount Huon Military Cemetery Normandy. Courtesy Peter Bennett Dewberry Yorkshire


Red Cross record for Edith Mary Tonkin

Red Cross record card

Red Cross record for Edith Mary Tonkin

Record card for Edith Mary Tonkin (reverse)rnrn

Red Cross record card (reverse)

Record card for Edith Mary Tonkin (reverse)rnrn


Photograph of the Tonkin family on the family farm in Devon, c 1910. Courtesy Maureen Roberts, Western Australiarn

Tonkin family

Photograph of the Tonkin family on the family farm in Devon, c 1910. Courtesy Maureen Roberts, Western Australiarn


Edith Townsend

Place of birth: Cardiff

Service: Waitress, QMAAC, 1918 -

Notes: Edith Townsend and her sister Gladys were associated with Roath Road Wesleyan Methodist Church, Cardiff. They described their early experiences in the Roath Roamer (Vol.44, p.6). After training they spent time near Woolwich (and experienced three air raids), before being sent north to Newcastle - 'very much like Cardiff'. Image and information courtesy of Glamorgan Archives (DWESA6).

Sources: https://archifaumorgannwg.wordpress.com/

Reference: WaW0120

Sisters Edith and Gladys Townsend in QMAAC uniform, 1918.

Edith and Gladys Townsend, QMAAC

Sisters Edith and Gladys Townsend in QMAAC uniform, 1918.



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