Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Emily Ada Pickford (1881 - 1919) - music teacher - entertainer during WW1

Remembering EMILY ADA PICKFORD, a music teacher from Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales, who died in a tragic motoring accident in France on 7th February 1919.

Emily was born in Wales in 1881.  Her parents were William Henry Pearn, a baker from Penarth, and his wife Emma Jane, nee Sadler.
Emily became a music teacher and Sundayschool teacher.  In 1907 she married Ernest Fergusson Pickford and they went to live in Windsor Rd., Penarth, Glamorgan.

Emily joined Lena Ashwell's Concert Party during the First World War.  Lena, an actress, theatre owner and producer, set up these touring groups to go and entertain the troops in the Western Front from 1915 – 1919, under the auspices of the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) and with the patronage of Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, one of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren. 
Concert party groups usually consisted of between six and seven people - singers, a musician and an entertainer such as a ventriloquist.  On the night of 7th February 1919 one of the groups had been entertaining troops in Guoy, a village in the north of France in the Departement of Aisne.  The group were in two cars travelling back to their headquarters in Abeville along the tow-path beside the River Somme, when there was an unfortunate accident.  One of the cars slid on the icy tow-path and Emily and Frederick Taylor, a baritone singer with the group, drowned.  It is worth remembering that cars, tyres and brakes were not as sophisticated in 1919 as they are in the 21st Century.

Emily was buried in Abeville Communal Cemetery Extension, Abeville, Somme, France.  The Grave Reference is V. G. 23.  She is also remembered on the Memorial to the Men of Penarth who died in the First World War in Alexandra Park, Penarth.
When you have time, do look at this more extensive account of the accident:

Original source:  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World war