Saturday, 18 August 2018

Remembering the women of WW1 who died on 14th August 1918


Nurse EDITH INGRAM.  With the 55th Gen. Hospital.  Edith was born in 1887. Her parents were Mr and Mrs S.A. Ingram of Littlehampton. Edith joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment and was posted to France. Edith died on 14 August 1918, at the age of 31. Sh was buried in Terlinchthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas de Calais, France. Grave Reference: II. C. 27.   Edith features in a special commemorative book donated to the group Wenches in Trenches The Roses of No Man’s Land “Women Casualties of the Great War in Military Cemeteries – Volume 1:  Belgium & France” where you will find reference to Edith on page 69.

LIVERPOOL (TOXTETH PARK) CEMETERY, Lancashire, United KingdomRemembering Staff

Nurse LILIAN THOMAS, No.  2/Res/T/91 of The Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Lilian Thomas was born in Garston, Liverpool and lived in Toxteth.    Lilian worked at The University War Hospital in Southampton, Hampshire, UK.  Lilian’s parents were William Thomas, born in Seacombe and Emma Thomas, nee Shimmin, born on the Isle of Man.  The family lived in "Carrock," High Bebington Rd., Lower Bebington, Cheshire. Lilian died on 14th August 1918 at the age of 27. She was buried in Toxteth Park Cemetery, Liverpool - Grave Reference: VIII. C.E. 666.
With thanks to Walter Volleamere for additional information about Staff Nurse Thomas.


Charlotte Sophia DUKE, No. G/3028,  was a cook with The Women's Royal Naval Service. Charlotte was born on 22nd July 1895 in Croydon, Surrey. Her parents were Tom and Martha Duke and her siblings were: Sarah, Thomas, Joseph, Elizabeth, Martha and Christine.  Charlotte joined on 17th January 1918 and was at HMS Victory. She worked at the Lion Hotel, Portsmouth (presumably commandeered for war accommodation) from 2nd July 1918.   She died on 14th August 1918 at the age of 23 and was buried in Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK. Grave Reference: North Wall. E. 3. 17.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Elizabeth Coghill Bartholomew (1894 - 1975) - British VAD

With thanks to Sergio Sbalchiero for sending me this information about VAD Elizabeth Coghill Bartholomew, known as Betty (1894 - 1975), who served on the Italian Front in WW1. 

Elizabeth was born on 23rd May 1894 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Elizabeth's parents were Ian John George Bartholomew, who was cartographer to the King, and his wife, Janet Bartholomew. Elizabeth’s siblings were: 

John (Ian) Bartholomew, an officer in the Gordon Highlanders, who served in France and Flanders, George Hugh Freeland Bartholomew, a Captain with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who was killed in France in October 1917 at the age of 21 and buried in the Rocquigny - Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, France, Louis St Clair Bartholomew and Margaret (Maisie) Hamilton Bartholomew.

Nicknamed "Betty Bar", Elizabeth joined the 2nd Edinburgh Voluntary Aid Detachment in July 1916 – her address at that time was Gardon, Morton Hall Road, Edinburgh. She worked in Italy with the First British Red Cross Unit from July 1916 to October 1917, at the Hospital of Villa Trento in Dolegnano. Elizabeth was then posted to France, where she worked at No.1 Anglo Belge, Bonsecours, France from June 1918 until April 1919.

After the war, Elizabeth married Henry Pitney van Deusen from Princeton, USA, who went to study theology in Edinburgh. Elizabeth died in Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, USA on 14th February 1975.

Photos of Betty in Italy and the Hospital Villa Trento, Dolegnano, Italy from Sergio Sbalchiero

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Book Review: "Hattie Big Sky" and "Hattie ever after" by Kirby Larson

My friend Margaret in America sent me a gift of a copy of "Hattie Big Sky" to help with my research into women in the First World War.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, which is inspired by, and based on, the early life of Kirby Larson's Step Great-Grandmother.  Although the work is fiction, Kirby has woven some of Hattie's true story into the work. 

Kirby went to great lengths to research the background of the book, travelling to Montana and talking to relatives of the people who knew Hattie.   The descriptions of how hard life was in remote areas back then give us an insight into what life was like at that time.   There are also stories of how America coped with the war on the home front. We find out what life was like for the 'Doughboys' when Hattie writes to her old school chum, Charlie, who is a soldier with the American Expeditionary Force in France.

I contacted Kirby to tell her how very much I had enjoyed reading "Hattie Big Sky" and she very kindly sent me a copy of the sequel - "Hattie Ever After" - another 'couldn't put it down' book.  This time we follow Hattie to San Francisco, where she finally achieves a long-cherished dream.  The book gives some interesting insights into what life was like for women in the years following WW1 when they had entered the workforce in large numbers.  Many people expected life to return the way it was before 1914.

"Hattie Big Sky" by Kirby Larson, published by Yearling, New York, 2006 and
"Hattie Ever After" by Kirby Larson, published by Delacorte Press, New York, 2013.

For further information, please see

Friday, 3 August 2018


Remembering VIOLET ALICE LAMBTON. LONG, O B E., Chief Controller of The Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps who was drowned at sea when the Hospital Ship HMHS "Warilda" sank on 3rd August 1918.

His Majesty's Australian Transport “Warilda” was built by William Beardmore and Company in Glasgow as the SS “Warilda” for the Adelaide Steamship Company.  She was designed for the East-West Australian coastal service, but following the start of the First World War, was converted into a troopship and later, in 1916, into a hospital ship.

On 3rd August 1918, HMHS “Warilda” was taking wounded soldiers from Le Havre, France to Southampton when she was torpedoed by the German submarine UC-49. The ship was marked clearly with the Red Cross. Germany justified this action by maintaining the ships were also carrying weapons – though in this case it would surely have been travelling in the wrong direction to transport arms.

The ship sank in about two hours, and of the 801 persons on board, 123 died. The wreck is in the English Channel.

Photographs from the collection held for the nation by the Imperial War Museum in London.  Name of photographer unknown.

LONG, Chief Controller, VIOLET ALICE LAMBTON. O B E. Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. Drowned at sea (from HMHS "Warilda"), 3 August 1918. 

With many thanks to Debbie Cameron and Mark Bristow for the following information about Violet:

Violet Beatrix Alice Lambton Long nee Way, O.B.E. was born in Gosford, Northumberland on 30th April 1883, the daughter of Col. Wilfred FitzAlan Way and Henrietta Mary Way, nee Ross.  Violet’s sister, Florence Edith Victoria Leach, nee Way, who also served in the QMAAC, was born in Jersey in 1874.  Her other siblings were Ethel E.H Way, born 1877, Wilfred G.M Way, born 1878.
In 1881 her father (who was born at Long Ashton) was at Ashton Court in Somerset with his cousin Baronet John G. Smith (family known later as Smyth). Ashton Court by the way was used as an Officers Hospital during WW1.

At time of 1901 census she was residing at Portsmouth with her father, 55 year old retired Infantry Colonel Wilfred Way. She was born in Northumberland at time he was a Captain with 5th Fusiliers.
Violet married William Edward Long in 1901. Violet and William had two daughters, Felicity Annette Cynthia Long and Violet Long.

Major W.E.Long, O.B.E.(son of Colonel W. Long, C.M.G.) was a Captain in the Remount Service/4th Hussars, and they lived at Newton House, Hill Road, Clevedon.
(Clevedon Town Council took over from Clevedon Urban District Council for whom Colonel Long was Chairman from 1908 - 1923.)

According to the "Chiswick Times" Violet lived at 4, Abinger Road, Bedford Park with her husband and two daughters. The vicar of her local church, where her name is listed on the WW1 memorial, said that "Mrs Violet Long was a splendid speciman of womanhood." She helped with the training of a large number of candidates in the Parish Hall for the examination by the St John Ambulance Society.

The vicar also said " It is well for us to remember the heroic part women have played in this war, and the especial worthiness of Mrs. Long in particular, who lived among us."
"Violet Long was responsible for the cookery and domestic section of the Women's Legion. When the Women's Legion amalgamated with the WAACs Mrs. Long brought over 3,000 recruits."
"Mrs Long was a very handsome woman with a magnificent head of bright brown hair."

The newspaper report also explains that Major William Long, Violet's husband, was in Egypt at the time doing remount work.

The following account of the sinking is by Miss Charlotte Allen Trowell QMAAC the only survivor of two members of the Corps who were aboard HMHS “Warilda”:

"I was acting as orderly to Mrs. Long, Deputy Chief Controller of the QMAAC. There was no warning of impending disaster when I retired to my bunk at a quarter to twelve. Mrs Long came to my bunk just before retiring herself and inquired, "Are you comfy?" and gave me some chocolates.

When the torpedo struck the vessel I was thrown out of my bunk. I hurried on deck, and just as I got up there the stairway was blown up.

There was no panic. Those wounded boys although dying, were splendid. I was put into a boat filled with wounded, but as the vessel sank our boat was not level. A davit rope was cut, but the boat capsized and we were thrown into the water. I clung to a rope and a wounded American Officer and an Australian pulled me into another boat. The wounded soldiers who were in that boat insisted on wrapping their saturated blankets around me.

I shall never forget the end of Mrs. Long who had been so kind to me. She clung to the boat into which I had been dragged and I caught hold of her by the hair. She exclaimed "Oh save me. My feet are fastened. I have lost a foot." Her feet had become entangled in some rope.

Strenuous efforts succeeded in freeing her limbs and a Southampton sailor tried hard to get her into the boat, but she collapsed suddenly, fell back and was drowned.

We were about two hours in the boat before we were picked up. "

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Book Review “The War Nurses” by Lizzie Page (Bookouture, an imprint of StoryFire Ltd., London, 2018)

"The War Nurses" is a fictional story based loosely on the activities of Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, who nursed the wounded in Flanders during the First World War.

Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm were among the first women involved in the First World War that I researched for a commemorative exhibition about some of the amazing ‘Inspirational Women’ of WW1, so I was really pleased when Lizzie asked me to review her book about the ‘Angels of Pervyse’.  Apart from Pat Barker’s “Regeneration Trilogy”, “Warhorse” and “Birdsong”, I have not read a novel about WW1 for the past six years, as I have been reading factual accounts for research purposes.   This novel is therefore a welcome change for me. 

It is very difficult for people these days to imagine what life must have been like in 1914, when none of those things we all rely on existed: no Internet, social media, mobile phones, television, radio, air travel, holidays abroad, etc.  Ordinary folk did not have a telephone at home and newspapers and telegrammes were the main means of spreading news.  Many people never ventured outside their own village – the First World War changed all that.

“The War Nurses” is a work of fiction but Lizzie weaves an amazing and fascinating story, re-imagining what life must have been like for the two women. Lizzie puts herself in Mairi’s shoes, with inspiration from the true story of the four years the two women spent on the Western Front looking after the wounded.  Lizzie has obviously put her heart and soul into this book, to which she brings a very modern approach which, hopefully, will appeal to younger readers and spread the word at long last about all of the incredible women and their extensive involvement in The First World War.

A fascinating read.

Lucy London
July 2018

Jennie Jackson ("Young Kitchener") - a young girl from Lancashire who raised money for the fighting men during WW1

While I was researching a WW1 poet yesterday, I came across a reference to some poems about a young girl from Burnley, Lancashire, UK.  Jane, known as ‘Jennie’, Jackson, was also known as "Young Kitchener" for the work she did during the First World War collecting money to fund parcels for the fighting men.

Jennie Jackson was born on 27th December 1907.  Her parents were John and Kate Jackson and she had three brothers, all of whom served during WW1. William, the eldest, enlisted in the 3rd (Prince of Wales) Dragoon Guards on 31st October 1914.  Shortly afterwards, on 21st November 1914, Richard, the third son, volunteered to serve with the Shropshire Light Infantry.  John Samuel, the second son, joined the Royal Field Artillery on 29th October 1915.

If ever we needed proof that the First World War involved every man, woman and child in Britain, here it is.

The poems were written by Thomas Napoleon Smith, pen-name Tonosa. They were:  "Burnley's war flame (Jennie JACKSON), alias Y.K." and "Burnley's winning Jennie (Jennie Jackson)".

Thomas's son, Corporal Ewart G. Smith of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, Canadian Expeditionary Force, was killed in a trench on 27th September 1916.

My thanks to Andrew Mackay for sending me his photographs and information about Jennie. 

Find out more on Andrew's website:

The Photographs have been kindly supplied by Andrew Mackay from his private collection. 

Thank you Andrew.

An exhibition about poetry written by schoolchildren during the First World War is on display at The Wilfred Owen Story, Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK.

Friday, 13 July 2018

A wonderful tribute to Worker Mary 'May' Wylie of the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps who died while serving in WW1

In an effort to persuade someone to visit the grave of Worker (equivalent to the male rank of Private) Mary 'May' Wylie of the QMAAC, who died on 9th July 1918 and was buried in Anfield Cemetery, Liverpool, UK, I wrote a letter to the "Liverpool Echo" who were kind enough to print the letter.

Here is what happened next: The Liverpool Scottish Association sent a message to my friend Sue Robinson of the group Wenches in Trenches The Roses of No Man's Land, saying: The Association was alerted by a recent letter to the 'Liverpool Echo' that today, 9th July 2018, was going to be the Centenary of the death in Oswestry of Worker Mary 'May' Wylie of Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps where she was serving on attachment to 3/10th (Scottish) Bn, Kings (Liverpool) Regiment.

She is buried in Anfield Cemetery. Consequently I conducted a short memorial service at the graveside and Kenny Whittaker played a lament. In July 1918 the Bootle Times noted that ".... May Wylie died for her country as surely as the gallant soldiers who fall in battle". A full report will appear in this Winter's newsletter. From the Liverpool Scottish Association via Sue Robinson.

My grateful thanks to "The Liverpool Echo", the Liverpool Scottish Association and Sue Robinson. Together "We will remember them" ALL.