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

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Sorted by occupation

Nora Tempest (Soutter)

Place of birth: Dundalk, Ireland

Service: Teacher, cook, VAD, 1915 - 1916

Notes: Nora Tempest, born 1886, was a popular domestic science mistress at Carmarthen County Girls School. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals to serve as a cook at Kragujevac Hospital. She was caught up in the great retreat after the Austrians invaded Serbia, walking for seven weeks through the mountains of Montenegro and Albania in winter. She arrived home on Christmas Eve, 1915. She is said to have taken many photographs of the retreat. After her return she married and settled back in Ireland.

Reference: WaW0275

Short account of Nora’s experiences on the retreat from Serbia. Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 21st January 1916

Newspaper report

Short account of Nora’s experiences on the retreat from Serbia. Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 21st January 1916

Report of Nora’s visit back to Carmarthen County Girls School. Carmarthen Journal 9th June 1916

Newspaper report

Report of Nora’s visit back to Carmarthen County Girls School. Carmarthen Journal 9th June 1916


Elsie Chamberlain (née Cooil)

Place of birth: Liverpool

Service: Teacher, mother, local politician

Notes: Elsie with her family moved from Liverpool to Bangor when she was five. After finishing school, she became a teacher in local schools. Charlotte Price White [qv], the well-known local suffragist, told her ‘You have the ability to do public work and it is your duty to serve the citizens of Bangor’. She became involved in many war-time committees, and stood, unsuccessfully, in the municipal elections of 1919, finally becoming a councillor in 1930 and the first woman mayor of Bangor between 1941 and 1943. Elsie was the mother of the artist and writer Brenda Chamberlain, and died in 1972.

Sources: Jill Percy: Brenda Chamberlain, Artist and Writer (Parthian Books 2013)

Reference: WaW0409

Elsie Chamberlain as first woman Mayor of Bangor, 1941 - 3

Elsie Chamberlain

Elsie Chamberlain as first woman Mayor of Bangor, 1941 - 3

Report of a housing exhibition organised by the Bangor branch of the National Council of Women, including Mrs Chamberlain. North Wales Chronicle 15th August 1919

Newspaper article

Report of a housing exhibition organised by the Bangor branch of the National Council of Women, including Mrs Chamberlain. North Wales Chronicle 15th August 1919


Report of the municipal elections in Bangor. North Wales Chronicle 24th October 1919

Newspaper report

Report of the municipal elections in Bangor. North Wales Chronicle 24th October 1919


Marie Beckers

Place of birth: Belgium

Service: Teacher, refugee

Notes: Marie Becker was one of the Belgian refugees hosted in Holywell, and seems to have been a spokeswomen for the group. Her appointment to teach the Belgian children at Holywell County School was reported in the English and Welsh press.

Reference: WaW0399

Report of Marie Becker’s appointment at Holywell County School. Flintshire Observer 21st January 1915.

Newspaper report

Report of Marie Becker’s appointment at Holywell County School. Flintshire Observer 21st January 1915.

Report of Marie Beckers's appointment at Holywell County School. Y Brython 21st January 1915.

Newspaper report

Report of Marie Beckers's appointment at Holywell County School. Y Brython 21st January 1915.


Charlotte Price White (née Bell)

Place of birth: Scotland

Service: Teacher, suffragist, councillor

Death: 1932, Bangor, Cause not known

Notes: A former teacher who had studied science at university College, Bangor, Charlotte was a founder member of the Bangor Women’s Suffrage Society, and was one of only two women from North Wales (the other being Mildred Spencer from Colwyn Bay) to walk the whole NUWSS Great Pilgrimage to London in 1913. During the war she was extremely active in all kinds of support, raising money for the Welsh Women’s Hospital Unit in Serbia , the Patriotic Guild War Savings, the National Union of Women Workers, the Women’s Institute and many others. In 1926 she became the first woman member of Caernarvonshire County Council and was very active in the International League for Peace and Freedom.

Reference: WaW0410

Photograph of Charlotte Price White, c.1930

Charlotte Price

Photograph of Charlotte Price White, c.1930

Report of the work of the Bangor Medical Aid Committee, of which Charlotte was Hon Secretary. North Wales Chronicle 18th December 1914

Newspaper report

Report of the work of the Bangor Medical Aid Committee, of which Charlotte was Hon Secretary. North Wales Chronicle 18th December 1914


Report of a meeting of the War Savings Committee. North Wales Chronicle 19th October 1917

Newspaper report

Report of a meeting of the War Savings Committee. North Wales Chronicle 19th October 1917

Part of a report  on fundraising for a North Wales Women’s Hospital Unit in Serbia. Charlotte was Hon Secretary (again). North Wales Chronicle 23rd April 1915

Newspaper report

Part of a report on fundraising for a North Wales Women’s Hospital Unit in Serbia. Charlotte was Hon Secretary (again). North Wales Chronicle 23rd April 1915


Report of difficulties arising between the Women’s Institutes of North Wales and the Board of Agriculture. Charlotte Price White chaired the meeting. North Wales Chronicle 21st December 1917.

Newspaper report

Report of difficulties arising between the Women’s Institutes of North Wales and the Board of Agriculture. Charlotte Price White chaired the meeting. North Wales Chronicle 21st December 1917.


Margaret Sara Meggitt (née ?)

Place of birth: Grantham

Service: Teacher, trade unionist

Notes: Margaret Meggitt moved to Newport, Mon, in 1906 with her husband. They had previously lived in Mansfield, where she had been involved in the Suffrage movement. She joined the Labour Party in 1913, and formed the Newport Branch of the National Federation of Women Workers, serving as secretary for four years. She was the first woman to sit on the Newport Trades and Labour Council, and was an assessor on the Munitions tribunal of Monmouthshire, with particular emphasis on the working conditions of girls and women. She was also an executive member of the Monmouthshire Committee of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child, and supported the defence appeal for Gladys May Snell [qv].

Sources: Who’s Who in Newport 1920

Reference: WaW0363

Photograph of Margaret Meggitt from Who’s Who in Newport, 1920.

Margaret Merritt

Photograph of Margaret Meggitt from Who’s Who in Newport, 1920.

Badge of the National Federation of Women Workers, possibly from Monmouthshire. Thanks to Pete Strong.

National Union of Women Workers badge

Badge of the National Federation of Women Workers, possibly from Monmouthshire. Thanks to Pete Strong.


Ida Williams

Place of birth: Llangammarch Wells

Service: Teachers

Death: August / 1918 / Awst, Llangammarch Wells, Influenza / y ffliw

Notes: Ida Williams was a graduate of University College, Aberystwyth. She taught at intermediate schools in Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Bargoed and finally London, where her health broke down about a year before her death. She seems to have been musical, and to have written for publications including Y Cymro.

Reference: WaW0422

Report of the death and funeral of Miss Ida Williams BA. Brecon County Times 8th August 1918.

Newspaper report

Report of the death and funeral of Miss Ida Williams BA. Brecon County Times 8th August 1918.


Violet Annie Davies

Place of birth: Llanelli

Service: Telephonist

Notes: Aged 15. Received the Medal of the Order of the British Empire 'For courage in remaining at her post at the telephone during a severe explosion'.

Sources: The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser;

Reference: WaW0006

report of presentation in The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser 19th April 1918

Newspaper report

report of presentation in The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser 19th April 1918

Report of presentation Cambrian Leader 30 April 1918

Newspaper report

Report of presentation Cambrian Leader 30 April 1918


 Reverse of photograph showing Violet Annie Davies's handwriting

Violet Davies (reverse)

Reverse of photograph showing Violet Annie Davies's handwriting

Violet was 15-year-old telephonist at a munitions factory, awarded the MOBE for staying at her post during an explosion

Violet Annie Davies

Violet was 15-year-old telephonist at a munitions factory, awarded the MOBE for staying at her post during an explosion


Elisabeth De Saedeleer

Place of birth: Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium

Service: Textile artist, painter

Death: 1972, Belgium, Cause not known

Notes: Elisabeth, born 1902, was the second of five daughters of the Belgian artist Valerius de Saedeleer. He was among a group of artists encouraged by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies [qv] to come to Wales as refugees in 1914. The family settled in Aberystwyth, with strong ties to University College, Aberystwyth. Elisabeth and her older sister Marie became interested in weaving and tapestries (encouraged by a meeting with William Morris’s daughter May); both taught in the newly formed Arts and Crafts department of the college, together with their father. On her return to Belgium in 1921 Elisabeth became noted as a designer and weaver of textiles and tapestries. She set up a workshop, besides writing several books on the craft and undertaking many public commissions.

Sources: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1177&context=tsaconf\r\nhttps://www.aber.ac.uk/en/media/departmental/informationservices/pdf/specialcollections/the-davies-family-and-belgian-refugee-artists-and-musicians-in-wales.pdf\r\nArt in Exile: Flanders, Wales and the First World War. 2002\r\n

Reference: WaW0331

Elisabeth De Saedeleer at her loom. Early 1920s.

Elisabeth De Saedeleer

Elisabeth De Saedeleer at her loom. Early 1920s.

Report of an exhibition fundraising for a students’ union building, a memorial to the war dead of University College, Aberystwyth. Cambrian News 25th April 1919

Newspaper report

Report of an exhibition fundraising for a students’ union building, a memorial to the war dead of University College, Aberystwyth. Cambrian News 25th April 1919


Carpet woven by Elisabeth to a design by Edgard Tytgat, c 1925.

Carpet

Carpet woven by Elisabeth to a design by Edgard Tytgat, c 1925.


Emmy (Mary Emily) Harvey ((Harries yn ddiweddarach))

Place of birth: Swansea

Service: Ticket Conductor, 1914 - 1918

Notes: recorded by Swansea/Abertawe Women's History Group 08/08/1983. File provided by Jen Wilson

Reference: WaW0024

Account of Emmy Harvey, Ticket Collector

Account of Emmy Harvey

Account of Emmy Harvey, Ticket Collector


Mary D Davies

Place of birth: Swansea

Service: Unknown, ATS

Memorial: Cenotaph, Swansea, Glamorgan

Notes: Nothing is currently known of Mary D Davies, who worked, perhaps as a WAAC, in the Army Transport Service.

Reference: WaW0119

Name of Mary D Davies on Swansea Cenotaph

Swansea Cenotaph

Name of Mary D Davies on Swansea Cenotaph



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