Monday, 28 April 2014

Mabel Dearmer (1872 - 1915)


Mabel was born Jessie Mabel Prichard White, daughter of Surgeon-Major William White and  his wife, Selina, nee Taylor (Prichard). She was christened on 7th May 1872 in Llanbeblig, Caernarvonshire in Wales - where her Mother was born.

Mabel wanted to be an actress but was considered not pretty enough and decided to study art instead.  Mabel was studying art at the Hubert von Herkomer Art School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, when at the age of nineteen, she married the Reverend Percy Dearmer, who was an Anglican priest, on 26th May 1892. The couple had two children – Geoffrey and Christopher, who were both poets (see Forgotten Poets of the First World War).  Both Geoffrey and Christopher joined the forces in WW1 - Christopher the Royal Naval Air Service and Geoffrey the Royal Army Service Corps.  Christopher was posted to Gallipoli and Geoffrey saw service in both Gallipoli and on the Somme.   

Mabel was a great friend of Kathleen Scott the sculptress (widow of the explorer) and both Mabel and her husband supported the Church League for Women’s Suffrage. Geoffrey and Christopher Dearmer used to go dancing with Kathleen before the War.

During the First World War, Percy volunteered to serve abroad after Geoffrey and Christopher joined the forces.  He was appointed chaplain of a Red Cross ambulance unit which was sent to Servia in 1915 and Mabel accompanied him, having volunteered to serve as a nursing orderly.  She contracted Typhoid Fever and died there of Pneumonia on 11th July 1915, shortly before the death of her son Christopher. who served in the Royal Naval Air Service and died of wounds sustained at Galipolli. Mabel is buried in Kragujevac Cemetery in Serbia, alongside Dr. Elizabeth Ross and Nurse Lorna Ferriss.  Mabel's letters were published after her death under the title 'Letters from a Field Hospital'.  These are available to read on Archive on the Internet -   

Mabel Dearmer wrote novels and plays and illustrated children's books.   

Sources:  Wikipedia, Dr. Rowena Edlin-White

and written by Diana Maltz of Southern Oregon University

“A Great Task of Happiness The Life of Kathleen Scott” by Louisa Young, published by Macmillan, London in 1995

No comments:

Post a Comment