Thursday, 17 July 2014

Every woman remembered...

As you know, I have been researching women who wrote poetry, inspirational women and fascinating facts of the First World War for a series of WW1 commemorative exhibitions.  I notice in the Spring edition of "The Royal British Legion" Magazine that there is a WW1 Commemorative campaign to remember "every man".

My Grandfather was a professional soldier and an Old Contemptible in the Royal Field Artillery.  Grandfather survived WW1 and went on to serve again in WW2 - he lost his job in government cuts in 1923 but joined the TA the same day.   My Great Uncle in the Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed at Arras on Easter Monday, 9th April 1917 and has no known grave.   Everything I do is in their memory.

However, during the course of my research into Inspirational Women of WW1, I have been reading the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's List of Female Casualties and it makes grim reading.  I cannot help but wonder why only the men are remembered when we commemorate WW1, not the women who served, many of whom are buried in graves the world over from Australia to Zimbabwe and some of whom were killed in the line of duty.  

Women like Bertha Gavin 'Betty' Stevenson, aged 21, the British YMCA volunteer who was killed during an air raid and is buried in Etaples or 
Edith Agnes Baker, aged 28, from Natal, South Africa, who is buried in Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France, 
or the two women buried in Belgium - 
Sister Elsie Mabel Gladstone of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, aged 32, buried in Belgrade Cemetery, and 
Staff Nurse Nellie Spindler, aged 26, who was killed in action on 21st August 1917 and is buried in Lijssenthoek Military cemetery, West-Flanders; or 
Staff Nurse Agnes Murdoch Climie, aged 32, of the Territorial Force Nursing Service, killed during an air raid on 30th September 1917 and buried in Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, or 
Dame Lucy innes Branfoot, aged 52, a volunteer worker with Lady Mabelle Egerton's Coffee Stall at St. Sever Station, who is buried  in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France...

 Those are just a few of those very inspirational women who died as they served on the Western Front in WW1.

There are many, many more who died in the service of their country from all corners of the Empire (Commonwealth) and many of them are buried in cemeteries in the UK.  I would like to see all of those women remembered as well as the men. I hope to list more of those amazing women as the commemorative years progress.   If anyone has any photographs of the graves, please get in touch - together WE WILL REMEMBER THEM ALL.

Don't forget to keep planting poppies.

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