Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Women buried on the Western Front - a complete overview


Recommended Posts

typo... so sorry... will immediately change it !!! 

Thank you for the correction! 

 

M.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Forgive me, @Marilyne, this is a long thread and I did give it a try, but have you been to Wimereux Communal Cemetery?

 

I apologize as it is one of the more obvious CWGC cemeteries to discover women casualties of the Great War.

 

This is a great subject, and again I did not happen to see any comment about the other woman buried surreptitiously in Llijssenthoek (however, not a Great War casualty).

 

I think what may have been complicating your search is that many of the women are not listed by CWGC?   

 

Several exceptions all the time, like wives of soldiers, and other civilian casualties. 

 

"All the time", as in I have discovered many such graves by accident, and have had difficulty afterwards learning more.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge
10 hours ago, ejwalshe said:

This is a great subject, and again I did not happen to see any comment about the other woman buried surreptitiously in Llijssenthoek (however, not a Great War casualty).

 

I think what may have been complicating your search is that many of the women are not listed by CWGC?   

 

Several exceptions all the time, like wives of soldiers, and other civilian casualties. 

 

 

I should like to know the names of these "many" women, please.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, ejwalshe said:

Forgive me, @Marilyne, this is a long thread and I did give it a try, but have you been to Wimereux Communal Cemetery?

 

Hi. 

Thanks for your question.

I have not been to Wimereux yet... well, I have visited it in the past, but not within the framework of this research. I'm right now completing the research for Etaples and then will go on to the other coastal cemeteries, hoping to visit them earle next year and then go on with the posts. 

So yes, I'm asking all of you here a bit of patience before I get to have them all.

 

To come back to the question of the other woman in Lijssenthoek - and all the others - I think I have about 99% of the names, thanks to several sources and other threads on the forum. Of course all of them are those listed by the CWGC and I might stumble upon surprises, but that's what makes this project so interesting. Right now, I'm learning a lot, and I hope to be able to share these lessons with the Pals very soon. 

 

Can you point me to the grave of the civilian woman in Lijssenthoek?? 

 

M.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure if the location AND identify is known.

 

The woman in question made an 'arrangement' with the gardener at Lijssenthoek before her death....to be buried in the same grave as her loved one.

 

Looking again for the original source....

 

EDIT:  Love the internet....did not find the original, but here is perhaps a better source:

 

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/mother-war-hero-granted-last-3300233

 

 

 

Edited by ejwalshe
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Ted, good find.

 

Pete.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mouais... 

Not sure if I want to believe that story to 100% ... Picture is also wrong "George at the headstone" is standing at a flat, square shaped German headstone. 

 

But anyway, she falls outside my scope, as she did not die in action, on or near the battlefields. 

 

M.

Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Marilyne said:

Picture is also wrong "George at the headstone" is standing at a flat, square shaped German headstone.

 

Good spot MM; looks like 'artistic licence' by the Mirror photographer. Curious.

 

Pete.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎10‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 12:26, Jim Strawbridge said:

 

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.

 

Jim,

FOUND HER!!!

you were absolutely right… I sent a mail to Troyes, as promised, and was rewarded by a very succesfull answer:  Elizabeth Stevens still lies in the Communal Cemetery of Troyes, in a perpetual concession that was requested by the director of the French-british canteen where Elizabeth worked, Miss Bertha Dykes Spencer.

I've got the paperwork of the request and her death certificate. I'll post the details once I've translated the whole shebang for all the non French speakers and she is now part of my little list!

 

The one problem is that the grave is still there, but because it's in a very bad state, it's part of an abandonment procedure. I don't know if there's anything we can do… I've asked the conservator of the cemetery what the procedure is now. Maybe we can on our side track down family members??

 

M.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Marilyne said:

 

FOUND HER!!

 

The one problem is that the grave is still there, but because it's in a very bad state, it's part of an abandonment procedure. I don't know if there's anything we can do… I've asked the conservator of the cemetery what the procedure is now. Maybe we can on our side track down family members??

 

 

 

Great news Marilyne!

Ancestry has a Family Tree for her, so family members should be fairly easy to trace....

Best of luck, Frev

Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge
15 hours ago, Marilyne said:

 

Jim,

FOUND HER!!!

you were absolutely right… I sent a mail to Troyes, as promised, and was rewarded by a very succesfull answer:  Elizabeth Stevens still lies in the Communal Cemetery of Troyes, in a perpetual concession that was requested by the director of the French-british canteen where Elizabeth worked, Miss Bertha Dykes Spencer.

I've got the paperwork of the request and her death certificate. I'll post the details once I've translated the whole shebang for all the non French speakers and she is now part of my little list!

 

The one problem is that the grave is still there, but because it's in a very bad state, it's part of an abandonment procedure. I don't know if there's anything we can do… I've asked the conservator of the cemetery what the procedure is now. Maybe we can on our side track down family members??

 

M.

 

 

 

Delighted. I look forward to details when available.

Link to post
Share on other sites

FREV - family members are definately NOT easy to trace.  I live in the village she came from and I've been trying to track down relatives close enough for her to mean something to them for over 5 years. 

 

I did eventually find one lady who was a distant descendant but she told me she was the last of the family and she had no knowledge of Beatrice - and she still lived in the area.

 

That said I will investigate the tree on Ancestry - always assuming it's correct which more often than not I discover they're not.

 

 

Edited by phsvm
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, phsvm said:

FREV - family members are definately NOT easy to trace.  I live in the village she came from and I've been trying to track down relatives close enough for her to mean something to them for over 5 years. 

 

I did eventually find one lady who was a distant descendant but she told me she was the last of the family and she had no knowledge of Beatrice - and she still lived in the area.

 

That said I will investigate the tree on Ancestry - always assuming it's correct which more often than not I discover they're not.

 

 

 

Yep, have to agree there are an awful lot of family trees across the internet (not just on Ancestry) that are incredibly wrong - but if this one isn't - then the owner of the tree should be a relative, and one would hope would have more detail on other relatives....whether any of them would be interested in doing something about her grave, of course, is a different matter all together....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an update on trying to trace Beatrice Steven's family.  There were a couple of possible leads on Ancestry.  One had so many inaccurcies I didn't pursue it.  The owner of the other tree I contacted but have had no response.

 

I did manage to trace Beatrice's sister who had two sons.  One died in 2008 with out issue and the other has disappeared - I think he may have been in South Africa but there the trail goes cold.

 

However, great news on the grave as the local authorities are going to tidy it up and stop their destruction of it.  Well done to Marilyne for all her efforts on that one.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I'm very late coming to this thread but one of the original names caught my attention . NS Nellie Spindler was very well remembered at the IWM Lives of the First World War site but now that the IWM site is closed for more contributions it's possible to continue add links and comments to a WWI/CWGC mapping project. James Morley is an online colleague and I'm able to add links from his site to my very modest blog as my own research continues. He's very willing to add links wherever he can. 

Thank you for your interesting thread and the comments posted. I've developed a few public family trees to flesh out the lives of some C.E.F. nurses I've followed but I agree that a lot of the material in other public trees is rubbish.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, lizbet said:

I'm very late coming to this thread but one of the original names caught my attention . NS Nellie Spindler was very well remembered at the IWM Lives of the First World War site but now that the IWM site is closed for more contributions it's possible to continue add links and comments to a WWI/CWGC mapping project. James Morley is an online colleague and I'm able to add links from his site to my very modest blog as my own research continues. He's very willing to add links wherever he can. 

Thank you for your interesting thread and the comments posted. I've developed a few public family trees to flesh out the lives of some C.E.F. nurses I've followed but I agree that a lot of the material in other public trees is rubbish.  

Lizbet,

 

"late" is relative… I'm not even a quarter into the complete research and list right now… so withtout wanting to sound cheecky… the best is yet to come… next up are the cemeteries on the Cote d'Opale.

 

So to all my Faithfull readers here: fear not … more is on the way, I'm compiling quite some pages of research, but need to find the time to drive over to the cemeteries… actually today would be a great time: it's sunny, the air is fresh and cold which gives a nice blueey hue, but alas… work calls…

 

M.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Hi all, 

 

on post #2, I promised a better picture of Nellie Spinsler's grave... 

A few weeks ago I was an Lijssenthoek and all the graves had been cleaned up ... it was actually the first time I've seen Nellie's grave without any cross, poppy or other token on it! 

Which is good, because it allows to read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's words on the gravestone, for ever putting Nellie on the same pedestal as Florence Nightingale. The choice of these words were made by her mother. 

So while still researching away, and waiting for the time to go out for more pictures, I leave you with this one: Nellie Spindler's grave with just MY poppy... 

 

D94A0015.JPG.9389c48109593cc3001b2b531ef979cc.JPG

 

M. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Marilyne Return soon.  Most of those keepsakes have been put away for the winter by the most caring and thoughtful employees of the CWGC.

 

Those that have become too worn and battered are not returned.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Marilyne,

 

The list below is extracted from the war diaries of Maud McCarthy, as transcribed by the late Sue Light. Her full transcription is available at   http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/110.html    but it is much easier to search by copying and pasting the full text into a word document.

 

The following are from October 1917 onwards, and gives causes of death. Before this date individual deaths are made in the body of the text.

 

Casualties
Killed
Staff Nurse A. Climie, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Sister E. Kemp, TFNS, 37 CCS: 20.10.17
Miss D. Coles, VAD, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Miss E. Thomson, VAD , 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17

Died of wounds
Staff Nurse M. L. Milne, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 2.10.17

 

 

Deaths
Reserve Nurse A. Roberts, USANC (No.1 General Hospital) on 17.1.18 from septicaemia
Reserve Nurse H. Fairchild, USANC (No.16 General Hospital) on 19.1.18 from appendicitis
Reserve Nurse F. A. Hinton, USANC (No.18 General Hospital) on 20.1.18 from Cerebro-spinal meningitis.

 

 

Casualties
Killed Sister E. Andrews, TFNS at 58 CCS on 21.3.18 by a bomb.
 

 

Casualties
Died
Miss E. F. Barker, VAD on 3.4.18 from cerebro-spinal meningitis.
Nursing Sister Mrs. E. Whiteley, CAMC on 21.4.18 from abdominal tumour.

 

 

Casualties
Died
Miss E. M. Warnock, VAD from pleurisy, on 5.5.18

Killed
N/Sister K. M. Macdonald, CAMC (bomb wounds) on 19.5.18
N/Sister D. M. Y. Baldwin, CAMC (bomb wounds) on 29.5.18
N/Sister E. L. Pringle, CAMC (bomb wounds) on 29.5.18
N/Sister A. McPherson, CAMC (bomb wounds) on 29.5.18
Sister M. W. Bain, SJAB (bomb wounds) on 31.5.18

Died of wounds
N/Sister G. M. M. Wake, CAMC, Compound Fractured Femur, on 21.5.18
N/Sister M. Lowe, CAMC, wound of chest, penetrating, on 28.5.18

 

 

Casualties
Accidentally drowned – Miss A. H. Lancaster, Special Probationer, on 3.6.18.
Died – Miss N. Taylor BRCS Motor Convoy Driver (Melancholia) on 27.6.18

 

 

Casualties
Died – Miss M. C. Young, VAD (Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis) on 30.7.18.
 

 

Casualties
Killed in a bombing raid. Miss E. A. Ingram, VAD on 13.8.18.
 

 

Casualties
R/Nurse R. Rapp, USANC: died from Pneumonia, 4.10.18
R/Nurse C. Trank, USANC: died from Malignant Measles, 8.10.18
N/Sister M. E. Green, CAMC: died from Pneumonia, 9.10.18
Sister S. Hilling, QAIMNSR: died from Pneumonia, 12.10.18
R/Nurse E. Groves, USANC: died from Influenza, 19.10.18
Miss S. V. Barrett, VAD: drowned on “Leinster”, 12.10.18

 

 

Casualties
[This seems to refer to deaths, although not actually stated]
S/Nurse E. H. Watson, QAIMNSR on 5.11.18: Pneumonia
Sister E. A. Baker, SAMNS on 6.11.18: Pneumonia
Miss G. Llewellyn, VAD, BRCS on 3.11.18: Pneumonia
N/Sister E. V. Mackay, CAMC on 4.11.18: Pneumonia
Sister E. A. Moorhouse, AANS on 24.11.18: Pneumonia
R/Nurse M. L. Pepoon, USANC on 24.11.18: Endocarditis

 

 

Casualties
Sister E. M. Gladstone, QAIMNSR, on 24.1.19: (Pneumonia)
Miss J. Williams, VAD, on 31.1.19: (Broncho-pneumonia)

 

 

Casualties
Sister Wakefield, TFNS, on 7.2.19: Cerebro-spinal meningitis
Miss A. E. Young, VAD, on 13.2.19: Influenza
Miss M. C. Bousfield, VAD, on 24.2.19: Broncho-Pneumonia


 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
Marilyne
Posted (edited)

Good evening all, 

So with the confinement here in Belgium (and the rest of the world of course) I cannot go on with the project as I want it... meaning I can't go over now and make all the pictures of the graves of the ladies... BUT... I can do a lot of research and as I have a lot of time on my hands right now, I think I'm making great progress. And so I thought: why keep this all for me, I might as well share it now. The pictures of the graves will follow, there's time enough for that later. This thread is about the ladies, so ... for as long as the confinement is still going, I promise you one entry per day. This will get us first to Etaples and then to Doullens and then... we'll see. 

 

So let's start with Etaples and the first Canadian nurse to be killed in the war: Nursing Sister Katherine Maud Mary Macdonald, of Nb 1 Canadian General Hospital, who died in the first big air raid of the 19-20 May 1918.  

I won't go over the circumstances of the Etaples air raids... those who wish to read the whole chapter I wrote (three A4 pages) just PM me. 

Katherine MacDonald was born in Brantford, Ontario, on 18th January 1893. 

She graduated from Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario and started her career as a private nurse before joining London Military Hospital.

She enlisted (Canadian nurses were officers, so military personnel!!) in March 1917 in London, Ontario.  A note in her service records indicates that she sailed from Canada on April 6, 1917, and disembarked in England on April 16. She was first posted to 14th CAN General Hospital in Eastbourne and 10th CAN Stationary Hospital in Seaford. 

Katherine wrote home about her experiences: about the trip, about her being put in charge of a group of nurse, some being older then herself and about her work in the operating room, for which she was praised “sky high” by the Colonel of her unit. The following logical step was a posting in France, which came in March 1918, just when the Spring offensive started. 

When the bombs started to fall on Nb 1 Canadian General Hospital, Katherine was in the living quarters. The SE part of the Sister’s quadrangle was completely wrecked by one bomb, killing and wounded those inside. A piece of schrapnell severed Katherine's femoral artery and she died of massive haemorrhage, quite fast and without suffering. 

In 1939, Katherine's mother Mary Maud MacDonald was recognized as a Silver Cross Mother, the only mother to having received this cross for the loss of a daughter. .. ADDED 24 Hr later: In the Great War!! 

Which raises the question why the other Canadian nurses's mothers did not... if anybody has an answer to that... 

 

ns-katherine-maud-mcdonald.jpg.ae27c987d9d4765f3310009cbeab350a.jpg

 

Marilyne

 

 

 

Edited by Marilyne
Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge

Where did you get the information that her mother was the only recipient of a Silver Cross ?  I believe that, assuming the mother was still alive, that they all received a Silver Cross. Even if the mother had predeceased her daughter there was a "pecking order" from father, to siblings, etc. who received one.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Marilyne
6 hours ago, Jim Strawbridge said:

Where did you get the information that her mother was the only recipient of a Silver Cross ? 

 

 

Jim... my apologies... I should have added "in the great War"... my source is a talk on Katherine McDonald given by Meghan Cameron: https://www.academia.edu/35251762/Brantford_s_Women_at_the_Front_Katherine_Maud_Macdonald_a_profile_of_a_Canadian_nursing_sister_in_the_First_World_War

 

M.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Marilyne

Nursing sister Gladys Maude Mary Wake was caught in the same air raid that killed her colleague Katherine Macdonald.

"Bob", as she was known to her close friends was born in Esquimalt, Columbia in December 1883 from British-born parents. She graduated from the Royal Jubilee  Hospital School of Nursing, Victoria and enlisted in London, Ontario on the 10th June 1916. She joined Nb 1 CGH with her best froend Dorothy Collis. Dorothy remembers the attack and wrote in her idary that her friend had "a fractured femur, a huge wound in the other leg and several small others". 

another Canadian nurse, N/S Mabel Clint, also heard a rumor that Gladys was found by stretcher bearers but knowing she was badly wounded, told her to save themselves: "Don’t bother with me, I’ll be alright. You people will be exhausted” . They dragged her from under the debris and all was done to save her, but her wounds were too bad and she died on the 21st may in the morning. 

There is video footage from her burial that has been shared a few times already on the forum. 

 

1939661707_GladysWAKE.jpg.40aaaa3fe9a25c9ba94e5f224cd4ac88.jpg

 

M. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge
19 hours ago, Marilyne said:

 

Jim... my apologies... I should have added "in the great War"... my source is a talk on Katherine McDonald given by Meghan Cameron: https://www.academia.edu/35251762/Brantford_s_Women_at_the_Front_Katherine_Maud_Macdonald_a_profile_of_a_Canadian_nursing_sister_in_the_First_World_War

 

M.

 

If I understand it correctly your source is stating that of all the WW1 serving female Canadian casualties only Katherine Maud Mary Macdonald's mother was issued with a silver memorial cross. I beg to differ. I am aware of at least 47 mothers who received it and about 20 instances where is was not awarded as the mother had predeceased their daughter.

The actual wording reads :- "What is significant for this particular story is that Katherine’s mother was granted this respect because her daughter had died. This was the only daughter for whom the decoration was given in Canada during the Great War". This can be read in a number of ways. As the award was only instituted in 1919 it cannot relate to "given in Canada during the Great War". So I am totally confused at what the source meant but what I do know is that if she was under the impression that Katherine's was the only female casualty whose mother was awarded the silver memorial cross then I think that she is wrong. 

Here is an example :-

 

 

SareGI1offFacebook3.jpg

Edited by Jim Strawbridge
Link to post
Share on other sites
Marilyne

Jim,

 

I stand corrected then… I did interpret the sentence "This was the only daughter for whom the decoration was given in Canada during the Great War" as that Katherine was the only female WWI casualty for whom a silver cross was given. If that's not the case, I'll have to dig a bit deeper and review my research. 

I guess this won't be the last time my interpretation of the English language plays tricks on me… what would I then do without you guys??

 

Sorry for not posting another lady yesterday - I did promise one per day - but I heard yesterday that my grandfather had died (not COVID) and had to take care of a number of things… Don't worry, I'm fine, granddad was 92, he had a great life and it was his time, so we're not mourning, but celebrating his life.

 

M. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...