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 occupation

Mabel Dearmer

Place of birth: Llanbleblig, 1872

Service: Volunteer, Red Cross/Y Groes Goch

Death: 1915-07-11, Serbia, Typhus/Pneumonia Teiffws/ Niwmonia

Notes: Mabel Dearmer, born 1872, was a successful writer, dramatist and illustrator of adult and children’s books. She and her husband the Rev Percy Dearmer were both pacifists and supporters of the Church League for Women’s Suffrage. When her husband accepted a post as chaplain to the British Red Cross in Serbia, she volunteered to go too, and died in July 1915. Her letters home were published posthumously as ‘Letters from a Field Hospital’.

Sources: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/untoldlives/2014/08/mabel-dearmer-in-serbia.html https://www.amazon.com/Letters-field-hospital-Mabel-Dearmer/dp/117677140X#reader_117677140X

Reference: WaW0092

Grave, on the left, of Mabel Dearmer, Kragujevac Central Cemetery, Serbia

Mabel Dearmer's grave, left.

Grave, on the left, of Mabel Dearmer, Kragujevac Central Cemetery, Serbia

Mabel’s photograph was collected by the Women’s Subcommittee of the Imperial War Museum as part of its collection of women who died during the War

Mabel Dearmer

Mabel’s photograph was collected by the Women’s Subcommittee of the Imperial War Museum as part of its collection of women who died during the War


One of Mabel Dearmer’s characteristic children’s book illustrations, 1901rnrn

Book illustration

One of Mabel Dearmer’s characteristic children’s book illustrations, 1901rnrn


Maud Starkie Bence

Place of birth: Suffolk

Service: Volunteer, 1914 - 1916

Death: 1916-06-01, Folkestone, Cause not known

Memorial: Memorial brass, St Brynach, Aberhonddu

Notes: aged 48. MSB was an well-known golfer.' Miss Starkie Bence will be remembered for the zeal, energy, and ability she threw into the work of the South Wales Borderers Comforts Scheme'. The plaque was erected in her memory by the South Wales Borderers.

Sources: The Brecon County Times Neath Gazette and General Advertiser for the Counties of Brecon Carmarthen Radnor Monmouth Glamorgan Cardigan Montgomery Hereford 10th September 1914; The Brecon County Times Neath Gazette and General Advertiser for the Counties of Brecon Carmarthen Radnor Monmouth Glamorgan Cardigan Montgomery Hereford 6th July 1916

Reference: WaW0057

Maud Starkie Bence playing golf c 1890

Maud Starkie Bence

Maud Starkie Bence playing golf c 1890

Plaque commemorating Maud Starkie Bence, St Brynach's Church, Llanfrynach

St Brynach's Church, Llanfrynach

Plaque commemorating Maud Starkie Bence, St Brynach's Church, Llanfrynach


Janet Price Williams

Service: Volunteer

Notes: Mrs Janet Price Williams, of 87 Kimberley Rd, Cardiff, was awarded the MBE in January 1918. She seems to have been an indefatigable worker acting as Secretary or Treasurer to a number of bodies including the Cardiff Women’s Advisory Committee which she set up in 1914, and the London-based Soldiers’ Comforts Department.

Reference: WaW0249

Mrs Janet Price Williams MBE

Janet Price Williams

Mrs Janet Price Williams MBE

Reverse of photograph listing some of her occupations.

Janet Price Williams (reverse)

Reverse of photograph listing some of her occupations.


Janet Price Williams’s citation in the London Gazette, 7th January 1918.

London Gazette

Janet Price Williams’s citation in the London Gazette, 7th January 1918.


Lucy Jane Saint,

Place of birth: Pontypool

Service: Waitress, QMAAC

Death: 1918-10-27, Royal Victoria Hospital Boscombe, Hampshire, Pneumonia / Niwmonia

Memorial: War Memorial gates; Grave St Michael, Pontypool, Monmouthshire

Notes: aged 23. Buried Llanfihangel Pontymoel churchyard, Pontypool.

Sources: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSob=c&GSsr=1&GScid=2532175&GRid=122596316&df=p&; http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11559566.Female_war_casualty_from_Pont-y-p?l/Pontypool/Pont-y-p?l/Pont-y-p?l_to_be_commemorated/

Reference: WaW0055

Lucy Jane Saint in QMAAC uniform, 1918

Lucy Jane Saint

Lucy Jane Saint in QMAAC uniform, 1918

Name of Lucy Saint on Pontypool Memorial Gates

Pontypool Memorial Gates

Name of Lucy Saint on Pontypool Memorial Gates


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.


Gladys Townsend

Place of birth: Cardiff

Service: Waitress, QMAAC, 1918 -

Notes: Gladys Townsend and her sister Edith 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: WaW0121

Sisters Edith and Gladys Townsend in QMAAC uniform, 1918

Edith and Gladys Townsend QMAAC

Sisters Edith and Gladys Townsend in QMAAC uniform, 1918


May Stratford

Place of birth: Newport Monmouthshire

Service: Waitress, WRAF, February 1918 – September 19

Notes: May Stratford, born 1898, joined the WRAF in 1918. She seems to have served, as a waitress, in various RAF bases in South East England. She died in 1982

Reference: WaW0191

May Stratford in WRAF uniform. Also in the photograph is a coin engraved with her name and ‘WRAF’.

May Stratford

May Stratford in WRAF uniform. Also in the photograph is a coin engraved with her name and ‘WRAF’.

May Stratford’s discharge papers. September 1919

Discharge papers

May Stratford’s discharge papers. September 1919


Inside cover of May’s autograph book, showing where she served.

Autograph book

Inside cover of May’s autograph book, showing where she served.

Page of May Stratford’s autograph book with a drawing of a bi-plane.

Autograph book

Page of May Stratford’s autograph book with a drawing of a bi-plane.


Alice Prosser

Place of birth: Builth Wells

Service: Waitress then Cook, WAAC, 1918/05/O7– 1918/08/05/

Notes: Alice, aged 23, served first as a waitress, then as a cook during her brief career in WAAC/QMAAC. She was discharged on medical grounds.

Reference: WaW0133


Edith Mary Tonkin

Place of birth: Ely, Cardiff

Service: Ward maid, VAD

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

Memorial: War memorial, Llandaff, Glamorgan

Notes: Edith worked as a ward maid at the 3rd General hospital in Tréport, France, where she died aged 26.

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.


Jane Charlotte Stapleton Cotton (née Methuen)

Service: WI President

Notes: Jane Stapleton was the wife of Col Richard Stapleton Cotton, a land-owner and keen promoter of agricultural and social improvements. He introduced the idea of forming a Women’s Institute in Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, after meeting the Canadian Mrs Margaret Watt, who was involved in early Women’s Institutes in Canada. The first institute opened in June 1915, with Jane Stapleton as President. The programme was very much dictated by Col Stapleton Cotton; he and his dog Tinker remain the only two males to have been full WI members.

Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01sdvv0; www.afwi.org.uk/the-first-wi-in-britain.html

Reference: WaW0241

Mrs Stapleton 1st President of Llanfairpwll Women’s Instituternrn

Mrs Jane Stapleton Cotton

Mrs Stapleton 1st President of Llanfairpwll Women’s Instituternrn

Col Stapleton Cotton and his dog Tinker were the only males ever to be full members of the Women’s Institute.rn

Col Stapleton Cotton and his dog Tinker

Col Stapleton Cotton and his dog Tinker were the only males ever to be full members of the Women’s Institute.rn


Report of Llanfairpwll WI’s first Annual Meeting. North Wales Chronicle 22nd Sept 1916rn

Newspaper report

Report of Llanfairpwll WI’s first Annual Meeting. North Wales Chronicle 22nd Sept 1916rn



Administration