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Place of birth: Blaenau Ffestiniog
Service: Worker, WAAC, 1917/11/08 – 1918/01/05
Death: 1918/01/05, Bangor Military Hospital, Spotted fever / Teiffws
Notes: Jean, who was 18 when she died, was the eldest of six children of a widowed mother. In November 1919 her case was raised in Parliament by Haydn Jones, MP for Merioneth. Jean had been the chief support of the family, but her mother was not entitled to any form of compensation and was forced to ask for parochial relief. The matter was ‘considered’ by the Financial Secretary to the War Office, but we do not know the outcome. Jean Roberts’s name appears in the Welsh National Book of Remembrance.
Newspaper report of parliamentary question about Jean Roberts. North Wales Chronicle 14th November 1919.
War Memorial plaque
Jean Roberts’s name on the War Memorial in St David’s Church, Blaenau Ffestiniog. It was obviously added after WW2, hence the mistake WAAF for QMAAC.rn. rn
Gwladys Alice Samuel
Place of birth: Aberystwyth
Service: Worker, WAAC, February 1918 -
Notes: Gwladys, an enthusiastic Girl Guide, was posted to Kinmel Camp, North Wales in February 1918. Her father and two brothers were serving in the army.
Newspaper report and photograph
Brief report of Gwladys Samuel’s joining the WAAC, with photograph. Cambrian News 22nd February 1918.
Report of Gwladys’s departure from Aberystwyth Station. Cambrian News 15th February 1918.
Edith C Kenyon
Place of birth: Doncaster
Death: 1925, Cause not known
Notes: Edith C Kenyon, a doctor’s daughter, had part of her upbringing in Machynlleth. She was an extremely prolific writer of novels for adults and children, and occasional non-fiction. Towards the end of her life she wrote a number of Welsh inspired romances, with title such as Nansi’s Scapegoat, The Winning of Glenora, The Wooing of Myfanwy, and The Marriage of Mari. This was serialised with much publicity in the Cambria Daily Leader in 1916. Her use of the Ceredigion landscape was much admired. She also wrote at least one war themed book for children: Pickles – A Red Cross Heroine. Her work was popular in both the United States and Australia.
Pickles, A Red Cross Heroine by Edith C Kenyon, published by Collins. ‘Pickles dropped the deadly thing over the vasty deep’.
Heading and opening paragraphs of The Marriage of Mari. Cambria Daily Leader 26th October 1916.
Full column promotion of the serialisation of The Marriage of Mari. Cambria Daily Leader 23rd October 1916.
Review of The Wooing of Mifanwy [sic] in an Australian paper. The Advertiser Adelaide 22nd March 1913.
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