Sunday, 29 September 2013

Kathleen Scott

I have just finished reading "A Great Task of Happiness  The Life of Kathleen Scott" by Louisa Young, published in 1995 by Macmillan, London.

Kathleen's life story has been brilliantly told by her granddaughter, Louisa Young, in a most fascinating and readable manner.  I could not put the book down.   Kathleen is very high on my list of Inspirational Women - she was a sculptress and artist, who had studied with Rodin in Paris in the early part of the twentieth century and was the widow of the Antarctic Explorer Captain R.F. Scott and Mother of Peter Scott who founded the organisation is now called the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

During the First World War, Kathleen transported cars and ambulances to France, helped in a French Army hospital in a chateau in France - which she located - recruited her friends to war work, worked in the Vickers Factory in Erith making electrical coils and worked with plastic surgeons on the re-creation of badly disfigured faces.   She was also the confidante of the British Prime Minister in the early days of the War - Herbert Asquith.   Kathleen knew most of the celebrity writers of the era - J.M. Barrie, J.B. Priestly, G.B. Shaw - as well as politicians.

After the War, Kathleen married Hilton Young, a politician who had lost an arm during the raid on Zeebrugge in WW1 and later joined the Dunsterforce.  They had a son - Wayland - Louisa's Father.

Kathleen's numerous works of sculpture include a marble statue of Captain Scott which is in Christchurch, New Zealand with a bronze of the same design in Wellington Place, London.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Inspirational Women of World War One - List so Far

I promised you my List so far.  Here it is:

Anna Airy (1882 - 1964) British Artist.  One of the first women to be commissioned as a war artist
Mildred Aldrich (1853 - 1928) America writer.  Lived in Paris for 16 years prior to WW1, retired to the Marne in July 1914 and wrote about her "Little House on The Marne" in the early days of the war.
Clare Atwood (1866 - 1962) British Artist
Gertrude Bell - British spy
Lady Blomfield (1859 - 1939) born Ireland
Maria Bochkareva - Russian woman soldier - recruited over 2,000 women into the Russian Army
Mary Booth (1869 - 1956) - Australian Pyhsician and Welfare Worker
Maude Bruce - forewoman at Munitions Factory in Gretna, awarded medal for extreme bravery
Lady Elizabeth Butler (b. 1846) - military artist/illustrator - sister of Alice Meynell the poet
The Dick Kerr's Ladies Football Team - Dick Kerr's Factory, Preston - raised large sums of money for the war effort by playing football, organising matches after their factory shifts were over
Dora Carrington - artist
Edith Cavell - British nurse shot as a spy for helping British soldiers to escape after the early battles of the War
Dorothy J. Coke - artist
Maria Corelli (1855 - 1924)  - British novelist who sold more books than Conan Doyle, Wells and Kipling combined;  9 films were made of her novels
Dorothy Crewdson (b. 1886) - British nurse
Marie Curie - created mobile radiography units for use in WW1
Margaret Damar Dawson - woman police officer in munitions factory
Janet Daniels - Munitions factory worker - awarded medal for extreme bravery
Joyce Dennys (1893 - 1991) - served as a VAD in Cornwall - War Artist for the "Daily Sketch"
Jessica Dismorr (1885 - 1939) - British painter/illustrator (Vorticist Movement) served as a VAD, nursing in France
Olive Edis (1876 - 1955) - Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society 1914 - Official War artist
Helen Fairchild (died 7th July 1917) - American - assigned to duty as a nurse in France 7th July 1917, died 18th January 1918
Elsie Mabel Gladstone - British nurse, killed in WW1 (buried Belgrade Cemetery, Namur, Belgium)
Norah Neilso Gray (1882 - 1931) - war artist
Margaret Haig Thomas (1883 - 1958) - Welsh - saved with her Father from the Lusitania
Mary Riter Hamilton - Canadian artist who went to paint the Aftermath in Flanders
Zora Neale Hurston (1891 - 1960) - American writer
Dr. Elsie Inglis (1864 - 1917) - Scottish doctor and suffragist; founded Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service in WW1 (France, Serbia and Russia) and went to Serbia to run a hospital
Elsie Janis - American entertainer who went to entertain the troops in France/Belgium
Gwen John - War Artist
M. Jones - nurse - described air raids in Salonika
Lucy Elizabeth Kemp-Welch (1869 - 1958) - military artist
Bahiyyih Khanum (1846 - 1932) daughter of the founder of the Baha'i Faith - imprisoned in 1867 at the age of 21 and freed in 1980.
Olive May Kelson King (1885 - 1958) - Australian.  Funded and drove ambulances in France and Serbia.
Dame Laura Knight (nee Johnson) - (1877 - 1970) - British war artist
Ellen La Motte - American nurse who wrote about her experiences in WW1
Dorothy Lawrence - British Journalist - enlisted in BEF Tunnelling Company as Denis Smith in 1915
Flora Lion (1878 - 1958) - British artist commissioned by Ministry of Information to paint factory scenes
Elizabeth Lucas (wife of poet E.V. Lucas) - founded a children's home behind the lines in France WW1
Misstanguett - (1875 - 1956) French entertainer and spy WW1
Olive Mudie-Cooke - British artist - drove ambulances in France and Italy WW1
Rose O'Neil (1874 - 1944) - American sculptor, suffragist, inventor, novelist, poet, musician, creator of Kewpie dolls
Gabrielle Petit (1893 - 1916) - Belgian spy - executed
Ellie Annie Rout (1877 - 1936) - New Zealand - pioneer in sexual transmitted diseases in WW1
Helen Saunders - artist
Kathleen Scott ((1878 - 1947) - sculptor. Wife of the explorer Captain Scott of the Antarctic (later Baroness Kennet).  Among other things, she worked on innovative plastic surgery treatments WW1
Nellie Spindler - British nurse killed i WW1 on the Western Front (buried Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium)
Mabel Annie St Clair Stobart (1862 - 1954) Founder of The Women's Sick and Wounded Convoy Corps who organised hospitals in France and Belgium for St. John's Ambulance  in WW1
Elizabeth Ann Slater Weaver (1878 - 1956) - housewife/weaver who lived in Burnley, Lancashire
Bertha (Betty) Stevenson (1896 - 1918) - British - YMCA volunteer killed in the line of duty May 1918 and buried with full military honours in Etaples Military Cemetery
Mrs Mary Humphrey Ward (1851 - 1920) - first woman journalist to visit the Western Front trenches
Maria Yurlova - Armenian Cossack Soldier
Clara Zetkin - Founder of International Women's Movement

As my research continues I am certain to find many more women to include.  Please feel free to let me know of any I have missed so far.

Monday, 9 September 2013

They also served . . .

I had a very strange dream the other night.   I dreamt about a young girl who was working as a VAD waiting at table in a hostel for women employed in an Armaments Factory in the First World War.

The young lady felt that her contribution was trivial and she longed to join the ranks of those 'doing proper war work', risking their lives daily as they helped to make shells and ammunition.

I took her on a journey round the various Fronts and explained to her that everyone's contribution was vital, like cogs in a wheel making machinery turn.   Or like the links in a chain.   Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so it seemed to me the message was to be strong, do her work with zeal and be the best she possibly could.

There must have been many like that young lady who felt their contribution did not count.  But I believe it did.

The image is by English War Artist Flora Lion "Women's Canteen, Phoenix Works, Bradford, WW1"

Flora Lion (1878 - 1958) was commissioned by the Ministry of Information to paint factory scenes during the War.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

An Inspirational Women from Turkey

The idea of having an "Inspirational Women" weblog came out of research for the Female Poets of the First World War Exhibition when I found details about the Canadian artist Mary Riter Hamilton.   Since then, I have found a great deal more information which I hope to share with you soon.

I salute all the women who lived through the Great War, no matter who or where they were or what they did, for it was a very difficult time for the world.

Contrary to popular opinion, there were many women who fought during the First World War (and before).  Here is one of them from Turkey:

Second Lieutenant Fatma Kara (Fatma Seher Erden) (1888- 1955)

Fatma was married to an officer called DerviĊŸ Bey and fought alongside him in The Balkan War. She recruited a group of nine other women and they fought on the front in the Caucasus during the First World War.  

Following her husband's death, Fatma joined the National Forces of Mustafa Kemal Pasha and fought against Armenians in the east. She formed a fighting group which fought against the Greeks at Bursa and Iznik. Her son and doughtier ware also members of her group of fighters. 

They fought in the battles of the River Sakarya and the Great Attack against the Greeks on 26th August 1922. She was taken prisoner by the Greeks near Afyon Karahissar but managed to escape.  After the War, she was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant.   

There is to be a Conference on the Caucasus in WW1.  For details, please see