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Remembered Today:

Women buried on the Western Front - a complete overview


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4 hours ago, frev said:

 

have just realized you've done a write up on her at the top of this very page!!!!

Hi Frev, no worries... I took a bit of advance on Etaples, before having the pictures ... but now that I've got the pics, I'm back to the order in which I took them. So Etaples is up after Abbeville... 

 

2 hours ago, AOK4 said:

 This topic is only about women who had been in the service of the British Empire who are buried on the Western Front. Not a word about the French, Belgian and yes, German women... 

 

 

Jan, 

je hebt gelijk ... voorlopig... 

You're absolutely right in saying that this STARTED with the British... that was my first idea. I've always been researching the BEF, so it's logic that I start with them, right?? 

 

BUT... I am not done... 

 

To all: please believe me when I say I absolutely don't want to downplay the role of the other nation's women in the war !!! 

 

They are in the back of my head, in the sense that when I'm done with the British Empire women, I'll start with the others... but this might take a while !!!

I've been at this for nearly two years now... what started as a little idea to "just quickly" look into the women, turned out to become a fascinating research into a generation of women who laid the basis for OUR (as in modern military women) place and work in our nation's armies. I've accumulated a stockpile of books and articles and memoirs and insights that I'm only starting to get through. So yes, the project kinda took on a life of it's own... But this is still a hobby... I have a life next to it, I have a fulltime and very demanding job, so work goes slowly... but it goes

To remind, until now we've been to Lijssenthoek, Belgrade, Sangatte, Godewaersvelde, Lillers, Lille, Longuenesse, Rouen, Caudry, Bagneux, Abbeville and I'll end with Etaples for now... Tomorrow (2nd Sep) I'm starting General Staff Course at Belgian Defence College... that's a year of intense lessons and papers to write. I'll have to shelve my research and when I'll get back to this, after the course (I hope you'll still be around...) we'll have another 60 British Empire women to go through. And then I'll turn to the others... all in due time. When will that be?? I don't know... but I do have the names and cemeteries ready and will research them also. 

 

So this topic is not only about the British Empire women... it's about all of them, I just happened to start with the British! 

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46 minutes ago, Marilyne said:

(I hope you'll still be around...)

 

Marilyne,

 

I'm here on this forum since day 1 (well, to be honest, day 2, as only Chris is here since day 1), so I should be still around then as well (of course, as long as one stays healthy).

 

I'm happy to hear that you intend to include the other nationalities as well.

 

Jan

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That's a date, Jan... 

but for now I'll stick to the British ladies... 

or rather in this case: Scottish! 

 

The case of Mary McLachan Blaikley is an interesting one because for several years, there has been some confusion between her and an apparent Canadian victim. Luckily this has all been sorted out since, thanks to the thorough research by GWF Pal Richard Laughton (it's on the forum)

Mary McLachlan Blaikley was born in Gartcosh (Glasgow), Scotland, on Christmas Eve 1897 to farm servant Elizabeth Blaikley and was an illegitimate child. She spent most of her childhood at her grandfather’s home. James Blaickley was also reported as her next-of-kin when she enlisted.

We don’t know anything about Mary’s life, except that she was close to her aunt, her mother's sister. She chose very early in her adult life to serve with the WAAC. She was posted in Abbeville as a domestic servant. 

What now is interesting and fueled the confusion, is that the letter informing her parents of her death (including all the right details) was sent to Milton, Ontario in Canada and was addressed to a Pte and Mrs John Paterson.  this letter resurfaced in 2004 and incited Milton to include "Mary Paterson" on the war memorial.

two problems: there were never Canadians in the WAAC and the CWGC does not hold any records of a Mary Paterson being a casualty, nor does the Nominal Roll of the QMAAC Killed in Action on the 31st May 1918. 

A second letter found in 2004 was  signed May Harris, also addressed to Mr and Mrs Paterson and sent from Gartcosh, Scotland: it has come a great blow to everyone here, especially to her grandfather’s home, where she has spent most of her life. It is a great loss to your sister, Mary’s aunt, for Mary was her sole companion in every way. The letter goes on paying credit to Mary’s character, her courage and devotion to duty. The next sentence seems important to me: It would have done you good to see Mary going away, as she is the first and only girl to leave Gartcosh to serve her King and Country, and I can assure you we are all proud of her today

What probably happened is this: Mary's mother at some point married John Paterson and left to Canada with him. John was a miner. Was he Canadian by birth?? Or British and then immigrated to Canada at the beginning of the century with his wife??? John and Elizabeth Paterson were Mary's mother and step-father. 

John enlisted and served with the Canadian forces. 

I find this an extraordinary story... 

 

1382742011_MaryBlaikley.JPG.2f204a156e752c6ac709cffc41050090.JPG

 

M.

 

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Heid the Ba

Thanks Marilyne, both sides of my family have links to that area.

Edited by Heid the Ba
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You're welcome !! 

 

The two Jeanie's are nearly completely unknown... I have found nothing much unfortunately about them. 

 

Jeanie Watson died in hospital a few hours after the attack from her wounds. The CWGC records her to be the daughter of Mrs. J. Oliphant of Glasgow.

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Jeanie Grant (Her picture says Jeannie, with two “n”) was a postal clerk from Greengairs, in Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was 22 when she died.

 

538684594_JennieGrant.jpg.0eb2a937d533f0b4c1789ba903d5fdbb.jpg

413443032_JeannieGrant.JPG.94b6fffa5f5570267a0d10070483cb22.JPG

 

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Heid the Ba
14 hours ago, Marilyne said:

Jeanie Grant (Her picture says Jeannie, with two “n”) was a postal clerk from Greengairs, in Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was 22 when she died.

It wasn't uncommon for a woman to be called Jean or Jane but be known as Jeanie or Jeannie.  I've even come across Janets who were known as Jean.  And occasionally the other way round.

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and so it started... my course!! 

Which means input here will start to be less frequent... all depends on the workload we're given for the evenings. 

but this too will pass... 

 

Beatrice (or “Trixie”, as she was called by her friends) Campbell was born in Cupar, County Fife, in 1898 as the  seventh child of fishmonger John Campbell and his wife Annie Morgan. She had five sisters (Margaret, Jeannie, Jessie, Annie and Mary) and two brothers, Robert and Archibald. She lived her whole young life in Cupar, where she attended Castleview School.  

Before enlisting with the WAACs, Trixie worked for 18 months in the "Devil's Porridge" Munitions Factory in Gretna, helping to produce cordite for shells. Their job there was to mix the highly volatile nitro-glycerin paste and gun cotton in order to producing the finished cordite propellant, destined for the shell-filling factories. The name “Devil’s Porridge” was coined by Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle after a visit to the factory as a War Correspondent.

In 1917, Trixie decided that she needed a change of scenery and enlisted with the WAAC. Maybe the pay enticed her, or the dangers of the nitro-glycerine pushed her away? She entered service in “general domestics”, worked in Britain first for a while and was posted in France from 29th April 1918, in the same capacity.

 

2034047251_BeatriceCampbell.jpg.b6943c76a55db14aa4d81e96021d891a.jpg

Trixie’s best friend in France was Marjorie Peacock, thought that something needed to be done for the funeral of their colleagues: Graves in France were just long trenches so before Trixie was buried some of us went out into the woods and gathered daffodils and brought packets of hair pins from the canteen and went down into the grave and lined her part of it by pinning daffodils to the sides before she was buried.

Trixie’s epitaph mirrors the feeling: "In remembrance of dear Beatrice, beloved of all who knew her".

 

1731935292_TrixieCampbell.JPG.2f26ff534039f9fbf059d9f75b6c6b95.JPG

 

 

 

 

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The last of the bombing victims in Abbeville: 

Alice Thomasson was born in Bolton (Greater Manchester) on 2nd March 1897 to Edwin and Sarah Alice Thomasson. Her mother died in 1909, only 33 years old and this left 12-year-old Alice in charge of the household for her father and her younger siblings John, Edith, Doris, and the youngest, Ernest, only three. Edwin Thomasson was an iron driller and was unfortunately not in the best of health, which meant that the biggest burden of putting food on the table eventually fell on Alice. She left school early and found a job at the Croal Spinning company. 

When the war started, Alice held on to the job, especially when all the men she used to work with joined up. But then, maybe hoping she would earn more than she did at the Croal, Alice decided in 1918  to join the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.

When she enlisted, Alice had given her next-of-kin as her youngest sister, Doris and listed her father as being dependant of her, indicating that Edwin did not work anymore at this time and that Alice was the premier breadwinner of the family.

By late April, she was undergoing training, being based at the Hostel in Folkestone and she sailed for France on the 9th May 1918 and disembarked in Boulogne. From there she went to Etaples as part of the “Base Pool” and only on the 26th May she arrived in Abbeville,  to serve as a general domestic worker. One could conclude from events that after the previous bombing, some WAACs were evacuated for rest with strained nerves and these had to be replaced. The “pool” was thus requested to send over reinforcements, among which Alice and probably some other of the 30th May victims.

News of Alice’s death seems to have reached her family in June 1918, which Doris acknowledged, asking for the deceased effects and her will to be sent to her.

From that moment on, things get a little bit difficult. On the 3rd August 1918 Alice’s father Edwin wrote to the War Office, expressing the distress caused by his daughter’s death to the family: because of his illness she was the main breadwinner. Edwin died in 1919 and from there the struggle for Alice’s gratuity ended.

The fact that the family was split up means that eventually, some parts of the family never learned about Alice’s death during the war. Father In 2014, the BBC conducted an interview with her great-nephew, who only just learned about her existence. He says the family should be extremely proud of what Alice did: she left her family to go to France only to fight for a better life for them all!

 

1840988077_AliceThomasson.JPG.2cac4680f3415db8980b84d0042b5d29.JPG

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Time to move on in Abbeville: 

The search for Edith Fanny Rowe was certainly an interesting one and I owe, before starting, many thanks to Sue Bond of the Devon Family History Society for sharing her knowledge and documentation!

Edith was born in 1873 in Exeter to Charles Edward Rowe and his wife Emily Jessie Ann Rowe, née Bradley. Charles was the youngest of the fifteen sons of a Cornwall farmer who came to Exeter to join the firm of his uncle James Rowe. Charles and his brother Thomas took over the Exeter branch of the firm and developed it into the successful Rowe Bros and Co, a very successful lead pipes manufacturing business. The Rowe family had five children, of which Edith was the oldest. Their mother died in 1901 and so Edith took over the duties of the Lady of the house, serving as acting Mayoress during her father’s tenure as mayor in 1902-1903. She never married but was active in several committees, like the Exeter Court of Guardians and the Exeter Education committee. Her sister Kate and her were also active supporters of women’s suffrage, Kate serving as secretary of the Exeter Women’s Liberal Association and Edith worked closely with the National Union of Women’s Workers, founded in 1898 by feminist icon and suffragist Millicent Fawcett.

Charles died on 11th January 1911 of sudden heart failure, aged 78. 

When the war broke out some months later, Kate and Edith started volunteer work at soldier clubs in Exeter and later at the canteen in Woolwich.

In October 1916, both decided to cross over the France to serve in the YMCA hut in Abbeville.

Two weeks later, it all went wrong, as Edith fell ill. In the night of 27th October, Miss Mc Carthy, Matron-in-Chief was called up by Major Galloway asking if I could possibly supply a nurse to the YMCA ladies’ house, where a lady who had only arrived 14 days’ ago was seriously ill; if not influenza, it was cerebro-spinal meningitis. Two nurses were sent to stay with Edith at the YMCA hostel, as she was not able to move. Kate must have called their brothers. Frank was town major[6] somewhere on the Somme and was able to come down to Abbeville right away. Once the diagnosis of Meningitis was establishes, precautions were taken against contamination.

The doctors could unfortunately not do anything for Edith and she died early the next morning, with Frank and Kate by her side. Harold managed to join them on time for the funeral. By then Maud Mc Carthy had learned of her name and her relation with mayor Charles Rowe: Miss Rowe, the YMCA lady, died at 5 a.m. and was buried at 3 p.m. A certain number of the nursing staff from all units in Abbeville attended the funeral. Further precautions were taken as Miss Keene and Miss Rosenthal, the nurses who had attended her, received orders to proceed at once to 16 General, where they were to be isolated until free from infection.

On the 30st Miss McCarthy received a letter of thanks from Edith’s brother for the good care by the nursing sisters.

 

1839829160_EdithRowe.JPG.50af5d3f87f34d53250ad86feab057b1.JPG

 

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11 hours ago, Marilyne said:

The doctors could unfortunately not do anything for Edith and she died early the next morning, with Frank and Kate by her side. Harold managed to join them on time for the funeral. By then Maud Mc Carthy had learned of her name and her relation with mayor Charles Rowe: Miss Rowe, the YMCA lady, died at 5 a.m. and was buried at 3 p.m. A certain number of the nursing staff from all units in Abbeville attended the funeral. Further precautions were taken as Miss Keene and Miss Rosenthal, the nurses who had attended her, received orders to proceed at once to 16 General, where they were to be isolated until free from infection.

 

 

Thanks again for sharing Marilyne - and many thanks also for bringing this mention of Miss Rosenthal to my attention.

Sister Leah Rosenthal was actually one of our Australian nurses serving with the QAIMNSR - luckily she stayed free from infection and was discharged from isolation on the 17/11/1916 - she continued to serve in France until the end of the war, (also surviving a 'close shave' at a CCS in 1917) and returned home safely mid 1919.

 

Cheers, Frev

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We unfortunately don't know much of Staff Nurse Edith Agnes Baker, except that she was 28 and from Natal, South Africa.

I like her epitaph: “Sleep on, dear one, beside the boys whose lives were given for us.”

It puts her sacrifice au par with the men who died in the war and of which she took care and this led me to take the picture of her grave like this, with the men in the background. 

 

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355582114_EdithBaker2b.jpg.f5b6be5f28c172053221482faaef573b.jpg

 

 

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On 02/09/2020 at 20:07, Marilyne said:

The two Jeanie's are nearly completely unknown... I have found nothing much unfortunately about them. 

 

Maryline,

  Jeannie Watson was 25 years old when she died. She  landed in France on 4th May 1918, and died on 30th of same month. Her mother’s maiden name was Laird. When she married James Oliphant in 1914 she was known as Jeanie H.L. Watson.

  Jeannie McKerral Grant landed in France on 9th May 1918, 4 days after Jeannie Watson. Jeannie {Grant} was born in New Monklands, Lanarkshire in 1895. She had enlisted in Glasgow.

Regards,

Alf McM

Edited by alf mcm
Jeannie Grant added
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Alf, 

thank you very much. 

do you have any reference for this? 

Just to be sure... way to read the phrase... Jeannie was married to James Oliphant in 1914... did he enlist? Die he survive the war? This in very interesting information. 

 

M. 

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Marilyne,

  Sorry, I could have written it better. It was Jeannie's mother, also called Jeannie, who married James Oliphant in 1914. Information comes from Scotlandspeople.

 

With regards to the others who died on 30th May;-

Mary Blaikley arrived in France on 29/04/18.

Beatrice Victoria Campbell arrived in France on 29/04/18.

Alice Thomasson arrived in France on 09/05/18.

Margaret Selina Casswell arrived in France on 08/04/18.

Annie Elizabeth arrived in France on 08/04/18.

Catherine Connor arrived in France on 29/04/18.

Ethel Frances Mary Parker arrived in France on 27/02/18.

With the exception of Ethel, hey had all been in France for a very short time.

Dates of entry are taken from medal rolls, on Ancestry.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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On 27/09/2020 at 16:24, alf mcm said:

Marilyne,

  Sorry, I could have written it better. It was Jeannie's mother, also called Jeannie, who married James Oliphant in 1914. Information comes from Scotlandspeople.

 

 

Went on the website of Commission ... James Oliphant, 36y old, 7th Bn Highland Lt Inf died of sickness on 26th october 1915 and is burried in Glasgow Western Necropolis. "husband of Mrs. J. Oliphant, of 3, Windsor St., Scotstoun, Glasgow." ... I guess that's him. This poor lady lost a husband and her daughter in the war. 

 

M.

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Hi Marilyne,

 

I've only recently seen your post from 5th September about Beatrice and as an adopted Fifer I feel that she is one of mine.

 

I found out that Beatrice is commemorated on the Cupar War Memorial and couldn't resist taking a drive up to Cupar today to get a few photos. As you can see the bear got the umbrella because it was absolutely lashing rain, but I managed to get the war memorial and her name on one of the panels. I've put all the photos on a PDF, but if you would like any of the originals just let me know.

 

I knew that the site of the family fishmongers shop at 32 Bonnygate had been demolished, but I was delighted to see the information boards and an old photo of the shop on Bonnygate, complete with the fish hanging on the wall!

 

I'll also post some of the photos on twitter, and if you don't mind I'll include your photos of Beatrice and her headstone?

 

Best wishes,

Dave

 

 

Cupar.pdf

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Dave, 

 

thanks a lot for this. 

I've sent you the pics of the headstone and the inscription per wetransfer, so that you have the big resolution. Feel free to use them. 

Could I have the pictures of the memorial please? And Bear ... if he's OK with that of course. 

Belgian Bear is happy to see his British counterpart visited the memorial. The bear-circle is closed then, on both sides of the channel.

 

M. 

 

 

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Nearly done with Abbeville: 

I owe many thanks to Emily’s Grandnephew Lawrence Toye for sharing his book with me.

Emily Ada Pickford was a singer, member of Lena Ashwell’s Concert Party who tragically drowned in a car accident after an event.

Emily, born on the 8th August 1881 was from Penarth, where her father was a baker and her mother a confectioner who ran a sotf-drinks and sweet shop from their home. Emily became a highly respected – and very successful - music and elocution teacher and conductor of the Penarth Ladies Choir. With them, she won many prizes, including some at the “National Eisteddfod”.

In 1907 Emily married Ernest E. Pickford, who later became the co-owner of the Penarth Times.

During the war, Emily decided to put her art to the service of the men serving and conducted several concerts for the wounded both at home and in France. At some point she joined the musical parties organized by "Modern Troubadour" Lena Ashwell. 

The concerts went on even after the war was over and thousands of troops still remained in France waiting to be demobilized.  In February, 1919, a party of seven, among which Emily Pickford, gave such a concert in Le Tréport. They had been billeted in Abbeville for a week on performances. After the concert the part returned to their base by car. Soprano Jean Nolan and baritone Frederick Vincent Taylor joined Emily in the first of the two cars. They followed the tow-path along the Somme when suddenly, disaster struck close to bridge of Gouy: The conductor of the car had seen the bridge, but too late and gave the steering wheel a jerk; the car slipped on the icy-road, broke the guardrail and fell into the river, dragging the two Englishmen and their companion who were drowned. Eyewitness Tom Burrows, a ventriloquist in the second car, later wrote in a letter that: I heard Mr Taylor call ‘Help me, I cannot swim!’ […] I got nearer to the edge of the water, where I saw Miss Nolan almost exhausted, and I was able to reach out over the river. Fortunately a soldier who had jumped into the water assisted her to the bank. Madame Pickford was never heard or seen again, and Mr Taylor was lost from view after his pathetic appeal for help.   The family always believed that the driver was drunk.

Upon hearing the news, Lena Ashwell personally contacted Emily’s husband and met him Cardiff to address her condolences. It seems at first that the bodies were not found and the one comfort their relatives had was that, they too, were doing their best to serve their fellow-men (Lena Ashwell) but they washed ashore some time later.

Emily Pickford and Vincent Taylor now lay side by side in Abbeville.

 

829795052_EmilyYMCA.JPG.744debe523e1d86eab4efffbd2c05421.JPG

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On 10/06/2019 at 12:33, Marilyne said:

The Second Australian lady buried in St Sever Cemetery is Louisa "Louie" Riggall. For this lady also I am in debt for the great research done by Frev! 

Louisa “Louie” Riggall was an artist. Born in Maldon, County Victoria, she attended Sale School of Art and in 1897 travelled to France to continue her training at the famous Académie Delécluse.  The Académie was founded in 1884 by Auguste Joseph Delécluse and was a studio exceptionally supportive of women artists. she also toured Italy and visited the Heidelberg School. 

After returning to Australia she opened her own studio in Melbourne, held exhibitions of her work and lived by the sales of them.

 

I have not until now been able to find examples of her work on the web... anyone???

 

 

 

1.  Four watercolours by Louisa (Louie) Blanche Riggall:

 

'Haymaking, Bryon Lodge' circa 1907

https://www.facebook.com/gippslandartgallery/photos/a.445813823523/10156635751878524/?type=3&theater

 

Untitled 1909

https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/5df2d8b41a24ce0bdcd76de5

 

Untitled

https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/5df2e0891a24ce0bdcd77725

 

Untitled

https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/5df2d5f51a24ce0bdcd76a0c

 

2.  A very different oil on canvas:

 

'Returning Home', 1899

https://www.aasd.com.au/index.cfm/list-all-works/?concat=RiggallLouis

 

JP

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thank you very much for this JP!! 

I think I have arrived at the end of our journey to Abbeville. Two ladies still to introduce, but unfortunately, they are quite unknown. 

 

The only thing I have found about forewoman Nellie Teresa O'Neill is that she was from Ballyrussel in Co. Cork and the daughter of Laurence and Mary O'Neill. She was once Mentioned in Dispatches and was 28 years old when she died of the flu on the 16th November 1918. Worker Beatrive Violet Moore also died in the epidemic, on the 19th March 1919. She was 21. 

 

If anybody has more information on these ladies, I'd be grateful for it. 

 

1490697246_NellieONeill.JPG.590f888d61521e48f7d14557ac396b4f.JPG

 

648670440_BeatriceMoore.JPG.bfb0aa0ef7ba6970a06461b352e5c868.JPG

 

M. 

 

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Marilyne,

 

Nellie landed in France on 17th December 1917. She died at 2nd Stationary Hospital, Abbeville.

 

Beatrice Violet Moore was born in Fulham in early 1898. Her parents were Frank Moore, Decorator, and Martha Elizabeth Bridge {probably}.

Beatrice landed in France on 17th August 1917. She died of pneumonia. Her father was named as Frank on the Register of Soldiers Effects.

There is a tree on Ancestry which shows a Beatrice Violet Moore marrying in 1925. She was also born in 1898, but in Cheshire. Her parents were Richard and Elizabeth. The tree owner has picked the wrong Violet.

Regards,

Alf McM

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I haven't read the whole of this thread, but is C. Hillary included? She is buried at St. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre.

received_891382514601040.jpeg

Edited by Ken Lees
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@alf mcm thanks for that. I don't have an account on ancestry.... probably missing out on something, ... 

 

edit 4 hours later: I just found that her medical records are available at the National Archives... but are not digitized. So I guess I'll have to drag myself up to London one day to read them... 

The records say that she died at 3:30am on 13 March 1919 and  includes a laboratory report and two medical case sheets.

 

@Ken Lees LE Havre is of course included in the project... but I have to thank you for your reply, because I did not have her in my tables, as she is not in the CWGC database. So that's one more name to add... But as said earlier, I can't say yet when I'll be ready to tackle Le Havre but it will not be before next year. 

 

M.  

Edited by Marilyne
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