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Marilyne

Women buried on the Western Front - a complete overview

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frev
8 hours ago, Marilyne said:

About Sister Ellen Lucy Armstrong I ounf out even less. she also was a Recipient of the Royal Red Cross medal and mentioned in Dispatches for her work. She died aged 38, probably from pneumonia realted to the Spanish flu epidemic. 

She was a reservist of the QAIMNS, a professional nurse, one can only imagine very dedicated to her work and her patients. 

 

Sister Ellen Armstong’s Service Record can be found & previewed here:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10792903

 

She was born on the 24/4/1880 in Glasgow – the daughter of Thomas Newton & Jane Elizabeth Armstrong

Her nursing training took place at the Royal Infirmary, Dumfries, from 1902 to 1905

Her death was from Pneumonia, at the 8th General Hospital

 

Cheers, Frev

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frev
8 hours ago, Marilyne said:

Nurse Mary Cawston Bousfield was mentionned in despatches and received the 2nd class Royal red Cross medal for her service.  Mary Bousfield was born in 1891 and was from Lambeth, London. She was stationed at N° 8 General Hospital in Rouen as an assistant nurse. There is a bench dedicated to her in the chapel of the cemetery.

 

Mary's BRC VAD card: https://vad.redcross.org.uk/Card?sname=bousfield&id=23695

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Marilyne

Thank you for this, Frev!!

Very much appreciated!!

 

M.

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phsvm

Not sure whether you'd include this lady in your research.  Unless Jim Sawbridge has come up with anything recently her resting place is unknown.

 

JIM - any progress with this one?

 

Beatrice Elizabeth Stevens died on 2 October 1918 in Troyes, France. It is unknown where she is buried but she is commemorated on the grave of her father William Stevens in Chilton Church yard, Berkshire and in York Minster.

 

Born in 1883 in Compton, Berkshire, Beatrice Stevens was the 5th and youngest child of William and his Jane Stevens. She had two sisters, Wilhelmina and Edith and two brothers Guy and Edward although Edward had died in infancy some years before Beatrice's birth.

 

Her paternal grandfather was a racehorse trainer who lived in Chilton, Berkshire and whose son, William was working with him but by 1901, the family had moved to Compton where William continued to train racehorses as well as farming. In 1906 William died a wealthy man, leaving an estate valued at £12,182 to his widow Jane.

 

Beatrice, her mother and two of her siblings, Edith and Guy moved to Washford in Somerset.  There is nothing to indicate that Beatrice had any experience of nursing before travelling to France in September 1918 to work with the French Red Cross as a canteener. she died on 2 October 1918.

 

The French Red Cross have no records for her.

 

 

 

 

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Jim Strawbridge
16 hours ago, phsvm said:

Not sure whether you'd include this lady in your research.  Unless Jim Sawbridge has come up with anything recently her resting place is unknown.

 

JIM - any progress with this one?

 

Beatrice Elizabeth Stevens died on 2 October 1918 in Troyes, France. It is unknown where she is buried but she is commemorated on the grave of her father William Stevens in Chilton Church yard, Berkshire and in York Minster.

 

 

Sorry, her grave site is still unknown to me. Almost certainly it will be in Troyes, France but exactly where will need investigation through the mayor's office, locally, I would think.

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Marilyne

Looks like she fits all the "criteria" to be included in the research and thanks for pointing her out.

I'll get in touch with the city of Troyes and ask if they have a record of her burial.

 

M.

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Jim Strawbridge
55 minutes ago, Marilyne said:

meanwhile… Beatrice has been researched before on the forum:

 

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/147460-beatrice-elizabeth-stevens/

 

 

I wouldn't quite call that listing of vague facts "research". I actually have researched her, and her father and uncle had a very interesting background in horse racing circles in their time.

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Marilyne
1 hour ago, Jim Strawbridge said:

 

I wouldn't quite call that listing of vague facts "research". I actually have researched her, and her father and uncle had a very interesting background in horse racing circles in their time.

Sorry Jim,

 

my bad choice of words… "on en a touché un mot"...

Horse racing sounds interesting…

 

M.

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phsvm

Jim - I know you've done considerable research into Beatrice and we've already talked about my interest in her.  You may have this but in case you haven't (and for anyone else who's interested).

 

The British Red Cross have no record of Beatrice and the email to the French Red Cross via the contact suggested by the British Red Cross was never replied to.

 

Trying to find out about her through her siblings has been fruitless.  Her sister Wilhelmina married Nelson George Harries in 1900 and seems to have lived overseas, possibly in Canada and the States, finishing up in South Africa although she returned to England in 1950 where she died in 1954  I haven't been able to trace any descendants.  Her other siblings Guy and Edith died unmarried.

 

Any other Stevens are considerably more distant – they would be children of Beatrice’s uncles / aunts. Of these, her uncles James Francis, Alfred, and George Matthews, and her aunt Fanny Guy all died unmarried. That just leaves her uncle Henry Arthur Stevens born 1857 in Chilton. He married Francis Mary Scovell in 1888. He died in 1914 leaving everything to his widow. They had two daughters Francis Ruby born 1893 and Mary Scovell born 1897. Any decendants from this line would be pretty remote from Beatrice although I did manage to speak to one of my neighbours who was a distant relative but she knew nothing about Beatrice.

 

One slight correction to your earlier post  She's commemorated on her father's grave in Chilton.  Her mother's resting place is somewhere else, location and date of death not known.

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Jim Strawbridge
16 hours ago, phsvm said:

One slight correction to your earlier post  She's commemorated on her father's grave in Chilton.  Her mother's resting place is somewhere else, location and date of death not known.

 

This was on a separate post about Beatrice. It was an error on my part and I have edited the entry from "parent's grave" to "father's grave". Thank you for pointing it out. I think that the British Red Cross Society will have very little or nothing on her. Her service was with the British Committee of the French Red Cross. Two totally separate organisations

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Michelle Young

Not sure if you have this lady at Sezanne

AB8C8C47-C993-40AD-AE74-6ED170D54718.jpeg

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Jim Strawbridge

Michelle, if the above comment was addressed to me, yes, it is one that I have. In fact, I have nearly all of the usual female headstones to WW1 serving female casualties on mainland Europe. Still a few obscure ones or monuments, statues, etc. to get.

FRANCE, Chaumont, Estaires (2), Ecrouves (Muerthe-et-Moselle), Gironde, Hemévez (Normandy), Lamalou, Le Havre (awaiting CWGC upgrade), Mentone, Mouleydier (Dordogne), Saint Amand les Aux, Sallanches
BELGIUM, Brussels, Froyennes

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Marilyne

Michelle, 

 

she's on my list, yes. 

Thing is, I'm working cemetery to cemetery, trying to do the research first and then finding the time to get out there, visit the places and make the pictures. It's not an easy undertaking as I can't devote myself fulltime to this and having to drag Boyfriend along to roam some cemteries now and then is not easy either. Plus we're in the middle of selling our respective homes and buying one together... also not easy. 

But I'll get there eventually, even if takes me a couple of years. 

 

Jim, I'm intrigued my your mention of Froyennes... which is definitely NOT in Brussels, but near Tournai... that's some 120km further, close to the French border. 

If there's anything there that needs checking... next time I'm over to our "université de la logistique", I'll hop over to the cemetery. 

 

M. 

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Marilyne

This being said, I still owe you some of the Rouen girls: 

 

Rose Holborrow was attached to the 1st Motor Transport Bade Depot. She was a loggie, like me!!! 

As already said, Rouen was one major logistics crossroads. In July 1916, there were as much as TWO BMT depots, a base pay unit, the army Pay corps, one base remount depot, TWO General Base Depots, EIGHT Infantry Base Depots (that’s basically what we’d call today an RSOM unit) and TWO Territorial Base Depots.

The British army was the most mechanized of all the armies on the Western Front and that meant an ever increasing number of vehicles to be shipped to France, fitted for use and then distribution to the units, as well as their maintenance.

I really need to read more about the ASC and the logistical Sp Chain on the Western front for more details, but the Base MT depots were first and foremost depots with spare pieces for all the vehicles used on the Western Front.

QMAAC workers were used in the depots as clerks, mechanics and drivers, often quite close to the front line. 

 

About Rose I could not find a lot, but I imagine her to be a fairly independant minded, hard worker.

She died of illness. 

1558599739_forewomanHOLBORROWsmall.jpg.863ece0aed93a90b53dd52993c32c04b.jpg

 

Nurse Gwynnedd Violet Llewellyn was born in October 1899, at Wribbenhall, (today Bewdley), into a military family. Her grandfather was conservative politician and officer Evan Henry Llewellyn and her father Lt Col Arthur Llewellyn. Arthur married Meriel Byrne is a “high society” wedding in November 1895. They had five daughters, Gwynedd being the second. Interesting fact: Evan Henry Llewellyn was the great-great-grandfather of former British PM David Cameron.

In 1911, the family was living in Severn House, Wribbenhall. At the time, Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Llewellyn’s unit was the 3rd Somerset Light Infantry, a reserve and training battalion during the Great War. 

Gwynedd joined the VADs in March 1918 and served with the 126 (Somerset) Detachment.  Initially, she was a ‘housemember’ at Ashton Court near Bristol, which was an officers’ hospital during the war (Ashton court was an 11th century manor, bought in 1495 by the Smyth family from Bristol who kept it for 400 years. It belongs to the city of Bristol today) ; her work was described as ‘very good’ and in October she was selected for service in France (passport number 206603), commencing her service on the 22nd October 1918, attached to the 2nd British Red Cross Hospital based at Rouen.

But Gwynedd Llewellyn’s service as a VAD was tragically short as after only a week at work, she became a victim of the Influenza pandemic.  She died on the 3rd November 1918, only 19 years old.

 

1234001988_GwynnydLLEWELYNsmall.jpg.5d5e33d9cde856411367ac557cf0b041.jpg

 

M.

 

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Carmania
9 hours ago, Marilyne said:

 

…...

Jim, I'm intrigued my your mention of Froyennes... which is definitely NOT in Brussels, but near Tournai... that's some 120km further, close to the French border. 

If there's anything there that needs checking... next time I'm over to our "université de la logistique", I'll hop over to the cemetery. 

 

M. 

My reading of his message is that Jim has two to get in Belgium, one in Brussels and one in Froyennes. I don't think he implied that Froyennes was in Brussels.

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frev
18 hours ago, Marilyne said:

Rose Holborrow was attached to the 1st Motor Transport Bade Depot. She was a loggie, like me!!! 

As already said, Rouen was one major logistics crossroads. In July 1916, there were as much as TWO BMT depots, a base pay unit, the army Pay corps, one base remount depot, TWO General Base Depots, EIGHT Infantry Base Depots (that’s basically what we’d call today an RSOM unit) and TWO Territorial Base Depots.

The British army was the most mechanized of all the armies on the Western Front and that meant an ever increasing number of vehicles to be shipped to France, fitted for use and then distribution to the units, as well as their maintenance.

I really need to read more about the ASC and the logistical Sp Chain on the Western front for more details, but the Base MT depots were first and foremost depots with spare pieces for all the vehicles used on the Western Front.

QMAAC workers were used in the depots as clerks, mechanics and drivers, often quite close to the front line. 

 

About Rose I could not find a lot, but I imagine her to be a fairly independant minded, hard worker.

She died of illness. 

 

The Service Record for Rose Mabel HOLBOROW can be viewed here:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7227174

 

Rose was born on the 7/2/1892 at Bartestree, Herefordshire – the daughter of William & Jane

She enlisted in 1917 giving her next of kin as her brother (at Castle Villa, Caerphilly, Sth Wales)

 

Served in France from 14/8/1917 until her death 5/10/1918 (at the 25th Stationary Hospital, Rouen)

Occupation: Cook – attached to the 1st Base Mechanical Transport Depot

 

 

Cheers, Frev

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Marilyne

Thanks Frev !!

I'm sure there's a lot if information to be gotten from the WO records… but pay 3,5£ for every record... I'll have to hop over one day and consult them all for good measure!!

 

M.

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Marilyne
12 hours ago, Carmania said:

My reading of his message is that Jim has two to get in Belgium, one in Brussels and one in Froyennes. I don't think he implied that Froyennes was in Brussels.

Still intrigued... There are knowingly TWO women buried in Belgium: Nellie Spindler in Lijssenthoek and E. Gladstone in Belgrade (Namur) ...

 

if there are really two others to be found... I'm in for the search ... meaning I can do the legwork!

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Jim Strawbridge
2 hours ago, Marilyne said:

Still intrigued... There are knowingly TWO women buried in Belgium: Nellie Spindler in Lijssenthoek and E. Gladstone in Belgrade (Namur) ...

 

if there are really two others to be found... I'm in for the search ... meaning I can do the legwork!

 

As I stated in post #88 my main quest is now away from the normal CWGC commemorated women (I have almost all of them) but looking for plaques, statues and the like. This extends to non-British ladies whose lives were taken. Brussels, as you can guess, has some rich Edith Cavell rememberances. I list here what I need but do not want anyone to go too far out of their way to satisfy them.

BRUSSELS  -  Edith Cavell - there is a plaque outside St. Gilles prison of which I would like a non-copyright photograph. There should also be plaques to Gabrielle Petit, Louise Bettignies and there may possibly be others. There is a mural medallion of Edith and her friend, Madame Marie Depage, set into the wall of Edith Cavell Nurses Home, Brussels.There is a statue of Gabrielle Petit here :- https://www.gpsmycity.com/attractions/gabrielle-petit-statue-12662.html

FROYENNES  -  There is a wall plaque set into the wall of the Canon d'Or coffee house where Louise Bettignies was arrested.

 

 

 

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Marilyne

ach soooo.... OK, now I get it...

It's all noted... I have to be in Brussels now and then for work and as said, sometimes also in Tournai, so I'll see what I can do!!

 

M.

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frev
21 hours ago, Marilyne said:

 

I'm sure there's a lot if information to be gotten from the WO records… but pay 3,5£ for every record... I'll have to hop over one day and consult them all for good measure!!

 

 

Marilyne you don't have to pay for them - you can view them on line, and pick up quite a lot of info in amongst the watermarks!

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Marilyne

Aha !!! now I see how you do it!!

Not easy though, reading through those marks…

 

M.

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Marilyne

Good evening all, 

 

there are just two women in Rouen I haven't talked about yet: Telephonist Elizabeth Johnston and Winifred Steele. 

 

Without a doubt the most famous in the Extension, the tragic story of Elizabeth is one for the movies… 

 

And for that story I owe thanks to Kevin Dunion for sending me his book "After the Armistice: love and loss: the life and death of Elizabeth Johnston" !! 

 

Elizabeth was born 26 December 1890 and grew up in Anstruther, on the shores of the Firth of Forth, as the second last of six children. Her father was a sailmaker and her mother Maggie his second wife. In 1901, the big family (there were to be seven children) were living in East Green.

Elizabeth went to Anstruther Public School and then to Waid Academy. She could have gone to university but chose instead to join the Post Office. After being tossed around from one office to the other, she eventually moved to Glasgow to be a telegraphis for Western Union.

When the war broke out, her hometown suffered. Men moved out, women left to do war work she wanted to do her bit, writing: IF I could afford it, I’d love to get away to Alexandria or France and serve in some of the hospitals as an orderly or a clerk or some such thing. But she needed paid work… just what the WAACs were offering! Wanting to join as soon as recruitment began, she worked on her French and took driving lessons.  But her parents opposed her plans of being a driver as being too dangerous. So she reverted to what she knew: telephony.

Elizabeth left Edinburgh on 10th December 1917, passed London and made her way to Folkestone first, for two weeks of administration, training and the dreaded inoculations and arrived in France with the troopship “Victoria” on 27th December 1917.

After a month in Calais, she was posted in Rouen and worked in the signal unit. Her letters speak highly of the town, of the tender care of the hospital staff for the wounded being put up for transport to Blighty (her brother had been wounded earlier in the war) and the cathedral and church of the town and a bit less highly of the French shopkeepers, to whom she often answered back in their own language when she found them profiteering a bit too much!  

Elizabeth witnessed the Armistice in Rouen and on that same day, she met Pvt Donald Cameron, a Canadian Highlander, who was very sweet on her!

At the end of the war, the influenza pandemic hit, and Elizabeth spent the beginning of December in hospital, where she witnessed something sad: the flu cases kept coming in every day, and quite a number of the girls have been sent back to Blighty. The Signal Girl who died, had a terrible struggle, she was so awfully ill. After a bit, they pumped oxygen into her lungs three times a day. Her people were sent for, but her sister didn’t  arrive until the day after she died. She was given a military funeral. Signal men carried her, and nearly all the signal girls and officers were there.  

 

This was Winifred Mary Steele, buried only three graves further... more on her hereunder.

 

On Christmas morning, Elizabeth came off shift, decided to walk to St Ouen Church in Rouen and climbed the church tower. It is believed she had a dizzy spell sitting on the low balustrade, having not quite recovered from her illness and having certainly not recuperated after a 12-hours night shift. She was found by American servicemen, who took her to N° 8 Stationary Hospital, but she died shortly after.

As to why she went up the tower… the verger noted that she was carrying  a book and a sketchbook and pencils and Donald Cameron confirmed that on the previous occasion when they went up there, the sight was misty, and she promised herself to come back. So she probably went up there to sketch, fell 80ft down and lay on the roof of the chapel for some hours before being found. There was of course an enquiry but the final conclusion was death by accident. 

 At her burial, Pvt Cameron is said to have replaced the British flag on her coffin by the St-Andrews flag, as she had wished. 

We’re lucky that she was a prolific writer and that to this day, her letters and diaries remain.

And what is most interesting is that after the war, Donald’s brother married Elizabeth’s sister, thus still lining the two families!

 

139812983_ElizabethJohnston.png.ff32105873384cee60adb6d5043d52cd.png

1017523519_ElizabethJOHNSTONsmall.jpg.d1836bd6a5bb5cacb5490041145eff3d.jpg

 

Winifred Mary Steele was born on 17th February 1891 (typo from earlier corrected) in Newport Pagnell to draper David Steele and his wife Jane, originally from Scotland. She was the youngest of six sisters. In 1901, the family moved to Derby, together with the oldest daughter and her husband, also a draper and tailor. When Mr Steele died in 1908, the family moved in with the Seatons.

The London Gazette of 1/12/1908 lists the appointments of the Civil Service Commissioners for the month of November and lists Winifred Steele as a “Female Learner” at the post office in Derby. There is where her career as a sorter and telegraphist clerk would start. After nine years in the service of the post office, on the 3rd July 1917, Winifred joined the WAAC, which was actively looking for female telegraphists.

The address she gave upon enlisting is that of her brother in law James Seaton, hinting that her mother had by then died (it is thought 1916). She worked in Rouen and died of pneumonia at N° 8 Stationary Hospital on the 9th December 1918. 

 

185966163_WinifredSTEELEsmall.jpg.ce5b383df145ee33592611ba436acc9d.jpg

 

That was it for Rouen ... I'm now off to research the hospital cluster of Etaples, Boulogne, Terlincthun and Wimereux... guess I'll have to drag the Boyfriend on a romantic outing to the sea one day ... 

 

Until then, 

 

M. 

Edited by Marilyne
typo... wrong birthdate for W.M. Steele

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Jim Strawbridge

Teeny error. You have Winifred Steele as having been born 17th February 1917. It should be 1891 but an easy mistake to make. She commenced service in 1917.

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