Cymraeg

The Experiences of Women in World War One

A collection of information, experiences and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2014-18

A collection of information, experiences and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2014-18

Browse the collection


Sorted by name

Sarah Hannah Bagnall

Place of birth: Wrexham

Service: Child

Death: 1916/03/09, Moss, Wrexham, Explosion / Ffrwydrad

Memorial: Holy Trinity Church, Gwersyllt, Wrexham, Denbighshire

Notes: Sarah, aged 1, died when a souvenir shell brought home by her father exploded, killing or fatally injuring her and her three cousins. Her mother Mary Bagnall was seriously injured as well as her father and aunt Sarah Roberts. The children were buried in two graves in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Gwersyllt, where a memorial to the four girls was dedicated in March 2016.

Sources: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/wrexham-remembers-four-children-killed-11027982

Reference: WaW0217

Report of the shell explosion that killed four girls and injured three adults, North Wales Chronicle 10th March 1916

Newspaper report

Report of the shell explosion that killed four girls and injured three adults, North Wales Chronicle 10th March 1916

Report of the explosion giving the names of the victims.

Newspaper report

Report of the explosion giving the names of the victims.


Memorial to Sarah Bagnall, Ethel Roberts, Mary Roberts and Violet Williams at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Gwersyllt, dedicated March 2016.

Newspaper report

Memorial to Sarah Bagnall, Ethel Roberts, Mary Roberts and Violet Williams at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Gwersyllt, dedicated March 2016.


Gertrude Mary Bailey (née Buchanan)

Place of birth: Sunderland

Service: Businesswoman, Committee woman, Grand Dame, 1914 - 1919

Death: 1942, Cause not known

Notes: Gertrude Bailey moved to Newport following her marriage to the wealthy Newport ship-repairer C H Bailey in 1895. Following his death in 1907 she continued to run his successful business. From the outbreak of War she became involved in many war-related activities, included help for Belgian Refugees and the Red Cross, and serving on the War Pensions committee. In 1917 Gertrude established a crèche for the children of women munitions workers. She received the CBE in 1918; curiously there is no citation with her name. Perhaps she was involved in too many things to list. In 1920 she handed over the business to her sons, and became one of Newport’s first two women magistrates. Gertrude was anti-suffrage before the War, and patron of temperance societies. Who’s Who in Newport (1920) described her as ‘La Grande Dame of the place’.

Sources: Sylvia Mason: Every Woman Remembered. Saronpublishers 2018\r\nhttp://www.newportpast.com/gallery/photos/php/search.php?search=munition&search2=&Submit=Submit

Reference: WaW0360

Gertrude Bailey published in Who’s Who in Newport, 1920.

Gertrude M Bailey

Gertrude Bailey published in Who’s Who in Newport, 1920.

Opening of the Munitions Workers’ Crèche, Newport 1917.

Munitions workers crèche

Opening of the Munitions Workers’ Crèche, Newport 1917.


Gertrude Bailey’s award of C B E in Supplement to The London Gazette, 7 June, 1918.

London Gazette

Gertrude Bailey’s award of C B E in Supplement to The London Gazette, 7 June, 1918.


Isabelle Eugenie Marie Barbier

Place of birth: Cardiff 1885

Service: Nurse, CHR, 11/08/1914 - 1919

Notes: Isabelle Barbier was one of the daughters of Paul Barbier, professor of French at Cardiff University. She trained as a nurse at Bristol Royal Infirmary. Called up very early in the war, she was called upon to help Maud MacCarthy, the Principal Matron in France, who had crossed to France at the same time and who spoke no French. Isabelle became her personal assistant throughout the War, working in France and Flanders. She later became a nun, and died in 1982 aged 96.

Sources: http://www.fairestforce.co.uk/6.html

Reference: WaW0104


Edith Frances Barker

Place of birth: Liverpool

Service: Nurse, VAD, February/Chwefror 1915 – Apr

Death: 1918/04/03, St Omer, France, Illness / Salwch

Memorial: St Collen\'s Church, Llangollen, Denbighshire

Notes: Born 1869, the daughter of a Liverpool Brewer, Edith lived with two brother in Pen-y-Bryn Hall, Llangollen for a number of years from 1901. She nursed in Malta and France where she died aged 49. She is buried in Longueness (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, and her name appears on Llangollen War Memorial.

Sources: https://grangehill1922.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/edith-frances-barker/

Reference: WaW0174

Document giving instruction for inscriptions on headstones in Souvenir Cem Longueness. Edith Barker’s age is given as 49.

Imperial War Graves Document

Document giving instruction for inscriptions on headstones in Souvenir Cem Longueness. Edith Barker’s age is given as 49.

Red Cross record for Edith Frances Barker (reverse).

Red Cross Record Card (reverse)

Red Cross record for Edith Frances Barker (reverse).


Red Cross record for Edith Frances Barker. This gives her age as 37.

Red Cross Record card

Red Cross record for Edith Frances Barker. This gives her age as 37.


War memorial, Llangollen. Edith’s name is near the top of the second column from the left.

War Memorial

War memorial, Llangollen. Edith’s name is near the top of the second column from the left.


Ethel Clara Basil Jayne

Place of birth: Llanelly

Service: Businesswoman, laundry owner, munitions welfare officer, government advisor

Death: 1940, St Albans, Cause not known

Notes: Ethel Jayne was born in 1874, daughter of the proprietor of the Brynmawr Coal and Iron Company Ltd. She trained in laundry work, and set up her own steam laundry company, Little Laundries Ltd, in Harrow in about 1906. At the outbreak of war she joined the Women’s Volunteer Reserve, and also worked organising canteens for the French Red Cross. In 1916 she was appointed chief welfare officer for the Armstrong Whitworth armaments company, becoming responsible for more than 20,000 women employed in the North of England and Glasgow. Her welfare innovations included steam laundries. In 1919 she gave evidence on welfare to the Parliamentary Committee on Women in Industry. She was among the first recipients of the OBE in August 1917. After her death her ashes were buried in the family grave in Llanelli.

Sources: https://doi.org/10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.111297

Reference: WaW0370

Ethel Basil Jayne driving to one of her early laundries in a pony and trap. This was her preferred mode of transport.

Ethel Basil Jayne 1907

Ethel Basil Jayne driving to one of her early laundries in a pony and trap. This was her preferred mode of transport.

Miss Ethel Basil Jayne’s name in the first list of OBEs. London Gazette 24th August 1917.

London Gazette

Miss Ethel Basil Jayne’s name in the first list of OBEs. London Gazette 24th August 1917.


Gwyneth Marjorie Bebb (Thomson)

Place of birth: Oxford

Service: Lawyer

Death: 1921, Edgbaston, Birmingham, Complications of childbirth / Cymhlethdodau esgor

Notes: Gwyneth Bebb moved to Wales when her father, Llewellyn John Montford Bebb, was appointed Principal of St David’s College Lampeter in 1898. She attended Lampeter Girls School for a while (and was an enthusiastic hockey-player). She studied law at St Hugh’s College, the 6th woman to study law at Oxford, and was the first to gain first-class marks in her finals, though she was not allowed to graduate. In 1913 she and three other women started an unsuccessful legal action, known as Bebb vs. the Law Society, to enable women to enter the legal profession. There was considerable support in the Welsh press. By this date women could practise in all other professions except the law and the Church. The case failed, and it was not until the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 that women were admitted to the legal profession. During the War Gwyneth worked at the Ministry for Food. As Head of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Food in the Midlands she used her legal skills to help prosecute black-marketeers. While there she met and married T W Thompson, a solicitor. Her first child was born the day after the Sex Discrimination (Removal) Act became law. Soon afterwards she was accepted to read for the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn. She would have become Britain’s first women barrister if she had not died, aged 31, following the disastrous birth of her second child.

Sources: https://www.st-hughs.ox.ac.uk/celebrating-the-life-of-legal-pioneer-gwyneth-bebb\r\nhttps://www.lincolnsinn.org.uk/library-archives/archive-of-the-month/february-2017-the-admission-of-gwyneth-bebb/

Reference: WaW0400

Gwyneth Bebb, now Thomson with her baby daughter Diana, early 1920.

Gwyneth Bebb

Gwyneth Bebb, now Thomson with her baby daughter Diana, early 1920.

Newspaper photograph and article ‘Are Lawyers Afraid of Women’s Brains?’ Daily Sketch, December 1913.

Newspaper photograph

Newspaper photograph and article ‘Are Lawyers Afraid of Women’s Brains?’ Daily Sketch, December 1913.


Report of a hockey match between Lampeter Ladies’ Team and Lampeter Girls’ School. Gwyneth is the only Girls’ School member mentioned. Carmarthen Journal 27th June 1903.

Newspaper report

Report of a hockey match between Lampeter Ladies’ Team and Lampeter Girls’ School. Gwyneth is the only Girls’ School member mentioned. Carmarthen Journal 27th June 1903.

Report of Gwyneth Bebb’s evidence at the Appeal Court. Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 4th July 1913.

Newspaper report

Report of Gwyneth Bebb’s evidence at the Appeal Court. Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 4th July 1913.


Report of Gwyneth Bebb (Mrs Thomson)’s admittance to Lincoln’s Inn. Cambria Daily Leader 31st December 1919.

Newspaper report

Report of Gwyneth Bebb (Mrs Thomson)’s admittance to Lincoln’s Inn. Cambria Daily Leader 31st December 1919.


Marie Beckers

Place of birth: Belgium

Service: Teacher, refugee

Notes: Marie Becker was one of the Belgian refugees hosted in Holywell, and seems to have been a spokeswomen for the group. Her appointment to teach the Belgian children at Holywell County School was reported in the English and Welsh press.

Reference: WaW0399

Report of Marie Becker’s appointment at Holywell County School. Flintshire Observer 21st January 1915.

Newspaper report

Report of Marie Becker’s appointment at Holywell County School. Flintshire Observer 21st January 1915.

Report of Marie Beckers's appointment at Holywell County School. Y Brython 21st January 1915.

Newspaper report

Report of Marie Beckers's appointment at Holywell County School. Y Brython 21st January 1915.


Alys Bertie Perkins (née Sandbrook)

Place of birth: Swansea

Service: Commandant and committee woman, British Red Cross

Notes: Alys Bertie Perkins was Commandant and Secretary of Swansea Red Cross Society, and commandant in charge of recruitment across the whole county of Glamorgan. By early 1918 Swansea was reported to have the greatest number of Red Cross hospital beds in the whole of South Wales. She was awarded the OBE in January 1918, when she described by the Cambria Daily Leader as ‘the enthusiastic and popular Sketty Red Cross worker and organiser’.

Reference: WaW0369

Photograph of Alys Bertie Perkins OBE, part of the Women’s Work Collections of the Imperial War Museumrn

Alys Bertie Perkins

Photograph of Alys Bertie Perkins OBE, part of the Women’s Work Collections of the Imperial War Museumrn

Advertisement for a Red Cross course of first aid and nursing. Cambria Daily Leader 22nd February 1916.

Newspaper advertisement

Advertisement for a Red Cross course of first aid and nursing. Cambria Daily Leader 22nd February 1916.


Supplement to the Edinburgh Gazette, with Alys Bertie Perkins’s award of OBE January 9th 1918.

Edinburgh Gazette

Supplement to the Edinburgh Gazette, with Alys Bertie Perkins’s award of OBE January 9th 1918.


E Bethel

Place of birth: Talywain ?

Service: Munitions Worker

Notes: E Bethel’s name is recorded as a National Munitions Worker in the Roll of Honour at Pisgah Baptist Church, Talywain. Nothing is known of her.

Reference: WaW0293

E Bethel’s name on the Roll of honour at Pisgah Baptist Church, Talywain.

Roll of Honour

E Bethel’s name on the Roll of honour at Pisgah Baptist Church, Talywain.


Minnie Bevan

Place of birth: Swansea

Service: Munitions Worker

Notes: Suffered from shock but survived the accident that killed Gwendoline (Gwenllian) Williams and Sarah Jane Thomas 8th January 1919

Reference: WaW0085

Minnie Bevan mentioned in a newspaper report, Carmarthen Journal Jan 1919

Newspaper report of explosion

Minnie Bevan mentioned in a newspaper report, Carmarthen Journal Jan 1919



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