Thursday, 27 June 2019

Milunka Saviç (1888 – 1973) - Serbian

Milunka Saviç was born on 28th June 1888 in the Kingdom of Serbia.

When her brother was served with his call-up papers for the Second Balkan War in 1913, Milunka elected to take his place.    She cut her hair, wore men's clothes and fought bravely, receiving a medal and promotion for her bravery.   She was wounded and only then was her subterfuge discovered.

During the First World War, Milunka earned medals from France, Britain, Serbia and Russia for her bravery.  After the War, Milunka turned down an offer to go and live in France and receive a French pension in recognition of her contribution. 

During the Second World War she was imprisoned by the Germans in Bajinca Concentration Camp for ten months.    After the Second World War, Milunka  adopted three orphaned children.    Her bravery was finally recognised in the 1970s when she was awarded a pension and an apartment by the Belgrade City Assembly.  She died in 1973 and there is a street in Belgrade named after her.
The Great Fire in Salonika, William Thomas Wood (1877 - 1958)

During the First World War, British artist William Thomas Wood served as a kite-balloon observer in the Royal Flying Corps. He was appointed Official War Artist in 1918. Largely as a result of his war experience, Arthur J. Mann hired William to illustrate his book “The Salonika Front” ( A. & C. Black, London, 1920)..

Milunka featured in the first exhibition of Inspirational Women of World War One which you will find in the book "No Woman's Land A Centenary Tribute to Inspirational Women of World War One", available here

The Balkan Wars took place in the Balkan Peninsula in 1912 and in 1913.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Helen Hagan (1891 - 1964) – American pianist, composer and teacher

Helen Eugenia Hagan was born on 10th January 1891 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the daughter of John A. and Mary Estella Neal Hagan. Helen’s mother taught her to play the piano and she went on to study at schools in New Haven, Connecticut. She began playing the organ for the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church in New Haven when she was nine years old.

Helen studied at Yale University with Stanley Knight and graduated in 1912 with a bachelor's degree in music, playing her own Concerto in C Minor in May 1912 at Yale. She was the first known African American woman to earn a degree from Yale University.

Awarded the Samuel Simmons Stanford scholarship to study in Paris, Helen travelled to France to study with Blanche Selva and Vincent d'Indy, and graduated from the Schola Cantorum in 1914. She returned to the United States when war broke out in 1914 and began a career as a concert pianist, touring from 1915 to 1918. In 1918 she was music director (meaning music department chair) at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College.

In early 1919, Helen travelled to France to entertain black troops of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), along with Joshua Blanton and the Rev. Henry Hugh Proctor, under the auspices of the YMCA.

In 1920 Hagan married John Taylor Williams of Morristown, New Jersey but continued her concert career (they divorced ca. 1931).[3] She had a music studio in Morristown for at least a decade and was the first African American woman admitted to the Morristown Chamber of Commerce.[4] She taught at the Mendelssohn Conservatory of Music in Chicago and pursued a Masters of Arts degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. In the 1930s she served as dean of music at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. She also continued to work as a choir director and church organist. She died in New York City on 6th March 1964, after an extended illness.

On September 29, 2016, a crowdfunded monument for Helen Hagan's previously unmarked grave was unveiled at New Haven's Evergreen Cemetery, and the day was declared "Women Making Music Day" by New Haven mayor Toni Harp.

The only work by Helen Hagan that survives is the Concerto in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra. Her other compositions, including piano works and a violin sonata, have been lost.

Source:  Wikipedia

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Freda Winifred Hooper (1902 – 1971) – British singer, dancer, comedienne and impressionist

With thanks to Debbie Cameron for posting the link that led to finding this information

Freda was born on 19th December 1902 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.  Her parents were Albert Hooper, a master butcher, and his wife, Lilie Hooper, nee Stamp.  Freda had a brother Albert Kennerley Hooper, who was born in 1909.

As she grew up, Freda developed a flair for entertaining. She was a talented singer, dancer, comedienne and impressionist. During the First World War, Freda put these talents to use and entertained wounded soldiers at the Hooton Pagnell Hall hospital, overseen by Julia Warde-Aldam.

Freda was only around 14 years old when she entertained these soldiers, but with the photographs kept by Julia, there was a small business card with Freda’s address on it. Freda also entertained inmates and troops at the Balby Union Workhouse. The Hooper family were close personal friends of the Owen family who ran the workhouse, and Freda often entertained there with their son Frank. During Christmas 1915 Freda entertained inmates and soldiers at the Workhouse.

Freda also entertained the population of Doncaster, including one show at the the Divisional Office on South Parade, fundraising for the Christmas Gifts for Soldiers at the Front fund.

In 1928, Freda married Arthur Clifford Cooper.  Their first child, Peter, was born in 1929.  By 1939, Arthur, Freda and their family were living in Balby Road, Doncaster, and Freda was a dance teacher.

Freda died in Doncaster in March 1971.

Find my past
Loads more photos and info here, with photo info and credits…/child-star-freda-hoop…/…/

Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant (1881 – 1965) American journalist and writer; war correspondent WW1

With thanks to our friend Marks Samuels Lasner for reminding me
that I had not yet researched Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant

Elizabeth (Centre) at the
American Hospital, Paris
Known to friends and family as Elsie, Elizabeth was born on 23rd April 1881 in Winchester, Massachusetts, USA.  Her parents were Charles Spencer Sergeant, an executive with the Boston Elevated Railway, and his wife, Elizabeth Blake Shepley Sergeant.  Elizabeth was educated at Miss Winsor's School (now called The Winsor School) in Boston from 1894–1899 and Bryn Mawr College from 1899–1903.

Elizabeth’s younger sister, Katharine Sergeant Angell White, became an editor for the “The New Yorker” and married E. B. White, author of “Charlotte's Web”, who also wrote for “The New Yorker”.  Elizabeth’s nephew Roger Angell, became another writer for “The New Yorker”.

Elizabeth’s first article, "Toilers of the Tenements," was published in 1910 in “McClure's Magazine”, edited at the time by Willa Cather, thus beginning a lifelong friendship between the two women. When the “New Republic”,  an American magazine dealing with politics and the arts,was founded in 1914, Elizabeth became one of its first contributors.

During the First World War, Elizabeth was a war correspondent for the magazine “New Republic”.  She travelled to the Western Front and in 1916 her first book was published – “French Perspectives” – about her experiences in  wartime France.

On 19th October 1918, Eliizabeth was badly injured when her companion picked up a hand grenade that exploded. Elizabeth wrote about her treatment and recovery in her second book, “Shadow-Shapes: Journal of a Wounded Woman, 1920.

After the war, on the advice of her doctor, Elizabeth went to live in Taos, New Mexico in 1920. She wrote about the Pueblo Indians and New Mexico until the mid-1930s. Her work was published in the “New Republic” and the “Nation” magazines. She spent extensive time in New York City and at the Macdowell Colony.

In the mid-1930s, John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, hired her to report on Pueblo social conditions and reactions to the Wheeler-Howard Act. Sergeant moved to Piermont in Rockland County, New York. In the 1930s and 1940s and continued to publish magazine articles.

Elizabeth was staying at the Cosmopolitan Club in New York when she died on 26th January 1965. Her wish was to be cremated and have her ashes buried in the Shepley-Sergeant plot in Winchester, Massachusetts.

Elizabeth’s sister Katharine held a memorial service for her on 12th April 1965 at the Cosmopolitan Club.

“Shadow-shapes; the journal of a wounded woman, October 1918-May 1919”
by Sergeant, Elizabeth Shepley (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston and New York, 1920)is availabnload

Books by Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant

Non fiction

French Perspectives (1916)
Shadow-Shapes: Journal of a Wounded Woman (1920)
Fire Under the Andes: A Group of North American Portraits (1927)
Mr. Justice Holmes (1931)
Willa Cather: A Memoir (1953)
Robert Frost: The Trial by Experience (1960)


Short as Any Dream (1929)


 "Guide to the Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant Papers," Yale University Library
 "New York Times, October 24, 1918".
 Davis, Linda H. (1987). Onward and upward : a biography of Katharine S. White. New York: Fromm International Pub. Corp. ISBN 0880641096. OCLC 18559964.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Mabel FitzGerald (1872 – 1973) - British physiologist and clinical pathologist

With thanks to Historian Debbie Cameron for telling me about Mabel

Mabel Purfoy FitzGerald was born in 1872 in Preston Candover, near Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK on 3rd August 1872. She was the youngest child of Richard Purefoy FitzGerald, a Magistrate, and his wife Henrietta Mary FitzGerald, née Chester.

Educated at home, Mabel moved to Oxford in 1895 after the death of her parents. She began to teach herself chemistry and biology from books, as well as attending classes at Oxford University between 1896 and 1899, even though women were not at that time allowed to receive degrees.  Mabel continued her studies at the University of Copenhagen, Cambridge University and New York University.

Mabel began to work with Francis Gotch at the physiology department in Oxford and he helped her to have one of her papers published by the Royal Society in 1906.
Mabel in her Laboratory

From 1904, Mabel worked with John Scott Haldane on measuring the carbon dioxide tension in the human lung. After studying the differences between healthy and ill people, the two continued to investigate the effects of altitude on respiration - it is this work that they are most famous for. Mabel's observations of the effects of full altitude acclimatisation on carbon dioxide tension and haemoglobin remain accepted and relevant today.

In 1907, FitzGerald was awarded a Rockefeller travelling scholarship, which allowed her to travel.  She went to work in NewYork and Toronto.

In 1911 Mabel joined C. Gordon Douglas and several other scientists in the now famous Pike’s Peak Expedition in Colorado, led by John Scott Haldane, to investigate human respiration at high altitudes. As the only woman, she was not allowed to travel to the Peak with the men. Instead she travelled alone with her mule around the high and remote mining towns of Colorado to measure the long-term effects of altitude on the people living there.  Mabel published her observations as ‘The Changes in Breathing and the Blood in Various High Altitudes’ in 1913, which is what she become most famous for.
Pike's Peak Expedition

In the summer of 1913 in North Carolina, Mabel made measurements on the breathing and the blood of a total of 43 adult residents chosen from three different locations in the Southern Appalachian chain.

Mabel returned to Britain in 1915 to work as a clinical pathologist at Edinburgh Infirmary, a position that had become vacant due to the war.

During the late 1930s, Mabel retired to Oxford to care for her ageing sisters, who, all unmarried, still lived together in a house in Crick Road.   She lectured in Bacteriology.

For more than two decades, Mabel FitzGerald was almost forgotten by scientists, until she was ‘rediscovered’ in the course of the centenary celebrations of the birth of her mentor, John Scott Haldane, in 1960.

On her 100th birthday, Mabel Fitzgerald finally received academic recognition for her scientific work, as she was awarded an honorary Master of Arts (MA) by Oxford University.

Mabel receiving her Degree

Mabel died in Oxford on 24th August 1973. Her papers (Nachlass) are held by The Bodleian Library in Oxford.


Photo of Mabel as a young woman, in the Laboratory, The Pikes Peak Expedition and receiving her degree. Credits in the article in the links below.…/about-us/mabel-fitzgerald.pdf

Find my Past

Friday, 12 April 2019

Elfriede Riote (1879 – 1960) – German Airship Pilot

Elfriede was born in Alsace on 12th April 1879.  At that time, Alsace was under German rule.
Elfriede's father was a senior civil servant.

In April 1914, Elfriede took her pilot's examination on the Parseval-Luftschiff P VI and in July of that year she gained her pilot’s licence.

Elfriede was not allowed to fly airships during the First World War, so she concentrated on l ecturing about flying.  She moved to Berlin after the War. Elfriede then had a guesthouse built on the Island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea and gave lectures about aviation.

Photo from:

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Mary Roberts Rinehart (August 12, 1876 – September 22, 1958) - American writer and nurse

Mary Roberts Rinehart was born Mary Ella Roberts on 12th August 1876 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, now part of Pittsburgh. After graduating from school, Mary enrolled at the Pittsburgh Training School for Nurses at Pittsburgh Homeopathic Hospital, graduating in 1896. She described the experience as "all the tragedy of the world under one roof." After graduation, Mary married Stanley Marshall Rinehart (1867–1932), a doctor she had met during her training. They had three sons - Stanley Jr., Alan, and Frederick.

Mary began writing seriously after the stock market crash of 1903. She was 27 that year, and wrote 45 short stories. Her first mystery novel was published in 1906.  “The Circular Staircase”, published in 1907, was the novel that propelled her to national fame. According to Mary's obituary in the “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” in 1958, the book sold 1.25 million copies.  In 1911, after the publication of five successful books and two plays, the Rinehart family moved to Glen Osborne, Pennsylvania.  Today there is a Mary Roberts Rinehart Nature Park in the borough of Glen Osborne at 1414 Beaver Street, Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

During the First World War, Mary worked as a war correspondent for “The Saturday Evening Post” on the Western Front, during which time she interviewed  KingAlbert I of Belgium, Winston Churchill and Mary of Teck, the wife of King George V.   Of that encounter Mary Rinehart wrote:  "This afternoon I am to be presented to the queen of England. I am to curtsey and to say 'Your majesty,' the first time!"   She reported on developments to the American War Department and was in Paris when the First World War Peace Treaty was signed.

Mary contributed regularly to “The Saturday Evening Post” and was a prolific writer. During her prime, she was reputed to be even more famous than Agatha Christie. When Mary died on 22nd September 1958, her books had sold over 10 million copies.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Lise Rischard (1868 – 1940) – Luxembourgish; WW1 British Secret Agent

Elise Melanie Meyer was born on 19th May 1868 in the town of Eech in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  Her father was Jean Meyer. On 9th August 1900, Lise married Dr. Camille Rischard (1871-1939), who was the medical adviser to the Luxembourg Railway Company.

The Germany Army went into the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on 2nd August 1914.  During WW1 people from Luxembourg fought on both sides.   Luxembourg was important as, due to its geographical position and the railway system, trains from Germany to France went through there.

During a visit to see her son in Paris during the First World War, Lise was recruited by the British as a secret agent to provide valuable information about the German troop movements and trains that travelled through Luxembourg. Lise put the information into carefully worded texts which were then published in advertisements placed in the local newspaper “Landwirt”.

Lise died on 28th February 1940 in Luxembourg City.

Lise’s story is fascinating - she travelled from her home in Luxembourg in the area held by the Germans via Switzerland to Paris, which remained a free city during WW1, and then set up a network to provide vital information to the British.

I mention Lise in the book of the Inspirational Women of World War One Exhibition "No Woman's Land" but you can find out the whole amazing story in the book “The Secrets of Rue St. Roch” by Janet Morgan (London: Allen Lane, 2004).

An exhibition held at the British Embassy in Luxembourg City in 2018 remembered Lise and her contribution.

Sources: “The Secrets of Rue St. Roch” by Janet Morgan (Penguin, London, 2004).

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Contribution made by Women during the First World War

In June 1918, on the occasion of the Royal Couple’s Silver Wedding Anniversary, King George V made the following public declaration:

“When the history of our Country’s share in the war is written, no chapter will be more remarkable than that relating to the range and extent of women’s participation … Some even have fallen under the fire of the enemy.  Of all these we think today with reverent pride. “

Agnes Conway, “Women’s War Work” in the Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 23, pp 1054 – 1064, 1922 in “A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War” (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2018) p. 271.

The Congress of Allied Women on War Service was held in the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris on 18th August 1918. The following message from the British Prime Minister (by then David Lloyd George) was read out:-

"I extremely regret that it is impossible for me to fulfil my undertaking to address the great gathering of women war workers in Paris. I regret it all the more because I was very anxious to bear testimony to the tremendous part which women have played in this vital epoch in human history. They have not only borne their burden of sorrow and separation with unflinching fortitude and patience; they have assumed an enormous share of the burdens necessary to the practical conduct of the war.

If it had not been for the splendid manner in which the women came forward to work in hospitals, in munition factories, on the land, in administrative offices of all kinds, and in war work behind the lines, often in daily danger of their lives, Great Britain and, as I believe, all the Allies would have been unable to withstand the enemy attacks during the past few months. For this service to our common cause humanity owes them unbounded gratitude.

In the past I have heard it said that women were not fit for the vote because they would be weak when it came to understanding the issues and bearing the strains of a great war. My recent experience in South Wales confirmed me in the conviction that the women there understand perfectly what is at stake in this war.

I believe that they recognise as clearly as any that there can be no peace, no progress, no happiness in the world so long as the monster of militarism is able to stalk unbridled and unashamed among the weaker peoples. To them this war is a crusade for righteousness and gentleness, and they do not mean to make peace until the Allies have made it impossible for another carnival of violence to befall mankind. I am certain that this resolution of the women of South Wales is but typical of the spirit of the women in the rest of Great Britain.

This war was begun in order that force and brutality might crush out freedom among men. Its authors cannot have foreseen that one of its main effects would be to give to women a commanding position and influence in the public affairs of the world. To their ennobling influence we look not only for strength to win the war but for inspiration during the great work of reconstruction which we shall have to undertake after victory is won.

The women who have flocked to France to work for the Allies are among the foremost leaders of this great movement of regeneration. My message to their representatives gathered together in Paris is this: "Well done; carry on. You are helping to create a new earth for yourselves and for your children."


Monday, 11 March 2019

Margaret Mayne, ARRC, NSI (1880 – 1917) – British nurse

With thanks to Heather Johnson for sharing this information about Margaret Mayne, who is not included on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War.

Margaret, known as Madge, was born on 21st September 1880 in  Ballinamallard, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Her parents were George Wesley Mayne (born c1840) and his third wife Anna, nee Shepherd. The family were Methodists.

Margaret trained as a nurse at North Staffordshire Infirmary, Hartshill, Stoke Upon Trent. Immediately World War One broke out, she came down to the Harwich Garrison Hospital in Essex (Great Eastern Hotel) with two other trained nurses from Stoke Infirmary. Margaret took charge of the Surgical Ward.

On 29th April 1917, Margaret died of Cerebral-spinal meningitis, three days after admission to the local Infections Hospital.   She was buried on 3rd May 1917 in Colchester Cemetery – the local newspaper reported “Over 200 bunches of primroses were received from the patients at the Harwich Hospital.” The primroses were placed in the form of a cross over the grave. The following month the R.R.C. medal that Margaret had been awarded was sent to her mother in Ballinamalla.

A Memoral Plaque, designed by British sculptor Ellen Mary Rope (1855–1934), was commissioned in honour of Margaret (it gives 20th as date of death). It used to hang in the old North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary’s chapel but, when the new hospital premises were built, it was felt that the plaque and a First World War Memorial Board would not be appropriate in the new building and the plaque remained in situ! However, thanks mainly to the efforts of one significant local historian John Mason Sneddon, the plaque now hangs in the public Atrium of the new Royal Stoke University Hospital – for all to see.

Interestingly, the plot (which is in the area of our military graves) is not owned and it must have been felt appropriate to bury Margaret there and give permission for the Celtic Cross headstone to be erected.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Winifred Helen Butenshaw (1883 - 1919) – VAD

Winifred Helen Butenshaw was born on 5th April 1883.  Her parents were Agnes Harard Burtenshaw, nee Stone, and Ephraim Burtenshaw, who were married 5th June 1880 in Kent. Ephraim was a plumber and painter.  Winifred’s siblings were, Edith A., b. 1882, Mabel T., b. 1882, Charles J.G.H., b. 1888, Allan E., b. 1890 and Arthur, b. 1897.  By 1891 the family were living in Tilehurst, Berkshire.  They moved to Yew Cottage in Sulham, Berkshire.

During the First World War, Winifred joined the local Voluntary Aid Detachment and became a trained nurse.

Winifred’s Great-Niece Ann Langley says: “Growing up I heard various references to my Great Aunt Winifred which I was able to verify in later years. Speaking to various folk in the small village where she lived - Sulham, Berkshire - who still knew the story as it had been handed down and where she is buried with unusually a red cross on her headstone.

At some time she was kicked in the stomach by a soldier and during the operation for her injuries she died. Her death certificate says that she had cervical cancer.  This is where the story gets strange.
There are no Red Cross Records except the number of hours she worked. The R C journal for that month gives small obituaries for 2 other nurses but only that Winifred had died. 2 days after her death she was buried with full military honours by high ranking army officials. There is no record or death notice in a Reading paper, only an In Memoriam a year later.

The Imperial War Museum has a few photos.   Research was done by a member of Reading library where very little more was found.   On her gravestone it reads - Winifred Butenshaw who gave her life for her country on October 21 1919 aged 36. 'Ever strong and steadfast always kind and true . In all change and trouble helping others through'.”

With grateful thanks to Ann Langley for telling me Winifred's story.  Winifred is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War.

The photograph of Helen is from the collection made for the nation by Agnes Conway of the Imperial War Museum's Women's Committee.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Inez Milholland (1886 - 1916) - American Feminist Activist and Journalist

Inez Milholland (1886 - 1916) was an American feminist activist and journalist. She was born on 6th August 1886 in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1913, Inez organised the March for Women's Suffrage held in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.  She led the parade on a white horse.

During the First World War, Inez was an official war correspondent for a Canadian newspaper on the Italian Front, where she had acces to the front lines. 

Inez died on 22nd October 1916 during a speaking tour of the United States.

Inez featured in one of the very first commemorative exhibitions we held and is in the book of that exhibition "No Wman's Land: A Centenary Tribute to Inspirational Women of World War One", which is available via Amazon.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Mary Ann Eliza Young (1884 - 1919) - British Nurse

Nurse MARY ANN ELIZA YOUNG. Mary was born in Cardiff in 1884 - baptized on 12th April 1884.  Her parents were John Roger and Mercy Young of Machen Place, Riverside, Cardiff, Wales.  Mary was an Assistant Mistress at Lansdowne Road Council School, Cardiff before the war.

Mary is the only female student to feature on the First World War Roll of Honour of Cheltenham Training College, where she trained as a teacher from 1903 – 1905. Mary joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment on 19th October 1915 and worked initially at the Western General Hospital in Cardiff.

Posted to the 57th General Hospital in France on 15th July 1917, Mary worked in hospitals in Boulogne and Marseilles.  Mary died of pneumonia on 13th February 1919 at the age of 35 and was buried in Mazargues War Cemetery, Marseilles, Bouches-du-Rhone, France - Grave Reference: III. A. 57.

Sources: British Red Cross WW1 Records and

Marguerite Maude McArthur (1892 - 1919) - British

Civilian MARGUERITE MAUDE McARTHUR, a volunteer with the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). Marguerite was born on 25th March 1892 in Kensington, London, UK.  Her parents were Allen Gordon McArthur, a barrister and J.P., who was born in Australia, and Emma Maude Finley McArthur, nee Finlay, who was born in Canada. 

Marguerite had a brother, Alexander and a sister, Kathleen. Marguerite was educated at Norland Place School in Notting Hill Gate, London, Newnham College, Cambridge and then in Dresden in Germany.

When war broke out, Marguerite was visiting family in Canada.  She returned to Britain in October 1914 and immediately volunteered. She worked in the War Office Translation Bureau fro two years due to her language skills. From March 1918 Marguerite worked for the Army Education Service of the YMCA, teaching in Etaples, France.

Marguerite died of pneumonia on 13th February 1919, at the age of 26 and was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France - Grave Reference: XLV. B. 7. After her death, Marguerite’s friend Josephione Kellett put together a book about her which is available here:   I urge you to read it!

Doris Mary Luker

Worker DORIS MARY LUKER, No. 6947 of the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps.

Doris died of pneumonia on 13th February 1919 at the age of 21. Doris’s parents were James George and Mary Maria Luker, nee Ryder, of Woking, Surrey, and she had a sister called Effie, b. 1893 and a brother called James Ryder Luker b. 1896, who became a Private in the London Regiment in WW1 and died on 15th September 1916. 

Doris joined the QMAAC in January 1917, and had been in France 12 months when she died. She was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais France - Grave Reference: LXXII. B.15.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

With grateful thanks to the Revd Stuart Jermy, Vicar of St. Martin's of Tours, St. Martins and St. Johns, Weston Rhyn for finding the grave of Eugenie Elizabeth Teggin and taking these photographs.

Staff Nurse EUGENIE ELIZABETH TEGGIN, No. 2/Res/T66 of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. Staff Nurse Eugenie Teggin died on 25th December 1918, at the age of 28. Her parents were John and Mary A. Teggin, nee Wollam, of The Willows, St. Martin's Moors, Oswestry, Salop.  Eugenie had a brother called Harry, b. 1888 and a sister called Ada, b. 1883.  Eugenie was buried in St. Martin’s Churchyard, St. Martin’s Shropshire, UK -  Grave Reference: In old ground North East of Church. 

Wherever possible I try to contact the churches where WW1 women are buried and I ask for them to be remembered in prayers.  

I am extremely grateful to everyone who helps me with my commemorative project.

Photographs of the grave of Louisa Ellen Speedy, a WW1 New Zealand Volunteer Worker

With grateful thanks to Maria Coates for these wonderful photographs taken during a pilgrimage to Brookwood Cemetery two years ago -

Remembering Volunteer MISS LOUISA ELLEN SPEEDY, a New Zealand Volunteer Worker, New Zealand Reinforcements. Louisa died of influenza and  pneumonia on 11th January 1919 at the age of 47. Her parents were Graham and Emily J. Speedy. Louisa was buried in Brookwood Military cemetery, Surey, UK - Grave Reference: II. H. 1B.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Ida Thekla Bowser, Fellow of the Institute of Journalists (1874 – 1919) – British writer and journalist

Ida Thekla Bowser was born in London in 1874. Her parents were John Carrick Bowser and his wife, Elizabeth, nee Mannell, of London. Thekla’s elder sister Elsie was Matron of a Nursing Home in Putney, London, UK.

Thekla became a writer and journalist, writing under the name of Thekla Bowser. She worked for “The Queen” magazine and had articles published in national newspapers.  Thekla became a member of The Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England in around 1903. When war broke out, she served as an Honorary  nurse initially in England and then, after volunteering for overseas service, served in France as Commandant of a First Aid Post at a railway station.

Thjekla became ill and returned to Britain where she underwent an operation.  She died on 11th January 1919 and was buried in Hastings Cemetery, Sussex, UK - Grave Reference: Screen Wall. E. M. B1.

Thekla’s book “Britain’s Civilian Volunteers: Authorised story of British Voluntary Aid Detachment Work in the Great War” (Moffat, Yard & Co., New York,, 1917) is available to read as a down-load on Archive:

“Hastings and St Leonards Observer” 18 January 1919

Photograph - photographer unknown - from Agnes Conway's collection for the nation of the Women of the First World War in the Imperial War Museum, London

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Marjorie Lilian Purfoy Fitzgerald (1898 - 1919) - Driver with the Women's Royal Air Force.

A very special ceremony of Remembrance was held on Friday, 4th January 2019, at the graveside of Member MARJORIE Lilian Purfoy FITZGERALD, No. 16242, a Driver with the Women's Royal Air Force. Marjorie died on 4th January 1919 at the age of 20. She was buried in Goudehurst Cemetery, Kent, UK - Grave Reference: A. 16. 20.
The ceremony was organised by Goudhurst & Kilndown Local History Society and was attended by a representative of the WRAF Branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), Patricia Welsh. Patricia attended in uniform, laid a wreath and read out a poem written by Verena Bobbie Smith, a former Member of the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF), now an English teacher who raises funds for the Royal Air Force Association and other worthy causes. The poem was written in 2014 for the wrafsontour14 relay, at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) and has been adopted as the prayer of the WRAF Branch of the Royal Air Force Association.
Marjorie Fitzgerald was born on 11th April 1898 in Crowthorne, Berkshire. Her parents were Reverend Henry Purefoy Fitzgerald, an Anglican Minister and his wife, Lilian Mary, nee Langton. Marjorie had three siblings. The family moved to Goudehurst in Kent where they had a house called “Lidwells” which they converted into a convalescent hospital during WW1. Marjorie is the only First World War Female casualty commemorated on the WW1 Memorial in Goudehurst. Additional information supplied by Gill Joye, Archivist, Goudhurst & Kilndown Local History Society. 
The National Memorial Arboretum is Britain's year-round national site of Remembrance and is in Alrewas, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.
Photo of Marjorie's grave kindly supplied by Patricia Welsh who put me in touch with Verena Bobbie Smith who kindly gave me permission to share her poem with you.