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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
Emily May Thomas (née Matthews)
Place of birth: Carmarthen
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.
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.
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)
Roll of Honour
Record of the war service of Eunice Thomas, on the Roll of Honour of Mynydd Bach chapel, Swansea
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.
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
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.
Place of birth: Carmarthen
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Headstone commemorating Edith Mary Tonkin, Mount Huon Military Cemetery Normandy. Courtesy Peter Bennett Dewberry Yorkshire
Photograph of the Tonkin family on the family farm in Devon, c 1910. Courtesy Maureen Roberts, Western Australiarn
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).