Jump to content
Great War Forum
themonsstar

Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps

Recommended Posts

themonsstar

Hi

I trying to see if anyone has any more info on this lady Margaret Selina Caswell No 15703. KIA at Abbeville on 30/5/18 with 7 other Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps Lady's in a bombing raid ? Cheers Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge

Daughter of Fredrick and Mary Jane Caswell of Green Cross Farm, Churt, Farnham, Surrey. Native of Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Hants although born at Ogborne, Wilts. She enlisted at Tidworth. Margaret Caswell was a waitress at the Officers Club, EFC who was killed on the night of 29th- 30th May 1918 when enemy bombs were dropped on Camp 1. One bomb fell into a protection trench killing her and eight colleagues (Blaikley, Campbell, Connor, Grant, Moores, Thomasson, Parker and Watson ) and wounding a further seven. The memorial plaque is in the WRAC museum. The headstone has a personal inscription “The dearly loved daughter of Frederick and Mary Caswell. Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast”. There is a group photograph that includes her in the Australian Memorial archives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

Hi Jim

Do you have any info pre war on her as i am doing this for a friend cheers Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge

Only census information at this point in time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

Hi Jim

Here are some photos No1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

No2

Some of the WAACs tending graves of fallen soldiers in a cemetery at Abbeville, 9 Feb 1919

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

No3

Chandlers Ford Hants War Memorial with Margaret Caswell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

No4

St Boniface Church Chandlers Ford with Margaret Caswell QMAAC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

No5

Green Cross Cottage / Green Cross Farm Churt Surrey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

Hi Jim

Can i ask what info is on the census & do you have a copy of the photo from the Australian archives. cheers Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge

Roy,

The 1901 census shows the family living at 5 Lower House Cottages, Everleigh, Wiltshire. Frederick Caswell is aged 39 (carter on a farm – born Osborne St. Andrew, Wiltshire) and his wife Mary Jane Caswell is aged 27 (born Kingsclere, Wiltshire). They have five children being Thomas Caswell, aged 13 (like his father he is shown as a carter on a farm – born Osborne St. Andrew, Wilts), Florence Caswell, aged 6 (born Osborne St. Andrew, Wilts), Margaret Caswell, aged 5 (born Osborne St. Andrew, Wilts), Charles Caswell, aged 3 (born Rainsbury, Wilts) and Frank Caswell, aged 1 (born Rainsbury, Wilts).

The photograph that I mentioned is of the funeral procession for the nine casualties of the bombing that included Margaret Caswell. The photograph is copyright and I have not yet asked permission if I may use it. But you can find it on the web and entering http://www.awm.gov.au/database/

then click on collection search and when that page appears type in Caswell, It will take you to a few pictures of the funeral procession.

Attached should be a photograph of the grave hedstone of Margaret Caswell as supplied to me by Chris Noble.

May I have your permission to use the two memorial photographs that you have entered on the Forum in my Register?

edit - the photograph hasn't taken so I assume that the pixel size is too large. If you would like it sent direct please let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

Hi Jim

Yes to the photo's and i will see if he as any more and thank you for the census info i will PM you with my E-mail cheers Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge
Hi Jim

Yes to the photo's and i will see if he as any more and thank you for the census info i will PM you with my E-mail cheers Roy

Roy, My emails to you at the Yahoo address that you gave me are being returned with the answer "This user doesn't have a yahoo.co.uk account". Have you paid the subscription?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton

When you least expect it, there is a member of the GWF with some tidbit of information that relates to your search. I had tried every other source.

Stepping aside from my personal research, I have been putting together details on the Canadians from MILTON ONTARIO CANADA that were killed in the Great War. One on our local cenotaph (added in 2004 after our discovery) was Mary Paterson of the QMAAC. She is listed here on the BLOG and the MHS WEBSITE:

http://miltonsoldiers.blogspot.com/

http://www.miltonhistoricalsociety.ca/Rese...s/paterson2.htm

I have the report that she was killed on May 30, 1918 when an aerial bomb was dropped on their protective shelter. She must have been part of the group. The UK National Archives yielded nothing, as they report the records were destroyed in a WWII bombing raid.

I have added the photographs to our local web site as that is allowed if you read the restrictions. Thanks to Jim Strawbridge for leading me to that source. What I am missing now is any mention of her name along with that photograph?

Here she is on our Cenotaph in Victoria Park, Milton. You can click on the link to see the full picture. Mary was on the left at the bottom.

http://www.miltonhistoricalsociety.ca/images/Victoria_Park_Cenotaph_ww2.jpg

Victoria_Park_Cenotaph_ww2.jpg

 

Any help with additional information on Mary Paterson would be appreciated. Her uncle Duncan was KIA and is reported on our sites as well.

Thanks,

Richard

Edited by laughton
replaced photobucket image with one that shows

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge

Am I missing something here? I have yet to discover a Mary Paterson of the QMAAC as being a casualty. There were eight female casualties in the bombing raid on the 30th May 1918 (Blaikley, Campbell, Connor, Grant, Moores, Thomasson, Parker and Caswell) and one died later of her wounds (Watson). So this lady's name was not one officially reported back in a casualty list, does not have a grave tended by the CWGC, her name is not on the York Minster panels as a casualty and she doesn't even appear to have a medal index card. I am not sure where the source of Mary's death has come from although mention is made of a letter from her superior reporting that she was killed. I hope that this single report was not the source of her name being entered on the Milton Cenotaph as, call me a sceptic, but I am not at all convinced that this woman was a casualty. Many wrong reports were sent back from the front line in the heat of the moment but I think it seriously unlikely that a woman in the QMAAC just disappeared off the radar. Blitzed records in WW2 does not account for her not being amongst the MICs. I would dearly like to add her name to my Register so, Richard, would you please let me see what evidence that you have found about her death?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton

Jim:

Thanks for your quick reply and details. I fully support your evidence and I will see to any corrections here in Canada if it turns out the whole thing was incorrect. I will check to see what additional evidence they had before Mary's name was added.

One option, she may have married and so do we have any "Mary's" on your list? Can you send me details as to what you have to improve my search?

Thanks,

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge

Richard

Mary McLachlan Blaikley, QMAAC. She was the grand-daughter of James Blaikley of Glasgow. Cannot see a Canadian connection.

Margaret Selina Caswell, QMAAC. Daughter of Frederick Caswell of Chandler's Ford. Cannot see a Canadian connection.

Ethel Frances Mary Parker, QMAAC. Daughter of William Carter of Canterbury. Cannot see a Canadian connection.

That is the only Mary's from this bombing. However around the same time there was a bombing on 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital, Doullens where three Canadian nursing sisters (Baldwin, MacPherson and Pringle) and two doctors were killed.

Dorothy Mary Baldwin Baldwin, CAMC. Daughter of W.Y. Baldwin of Ontario, Canada.

I had already thought that Paterson could have been a married name but discounted it as most unlikely. I also haven't quite got my head around why a woman with a Canadian background should be in the QMAAC. The members of the QMAAC were engaged mostly in domestic work and came from the working classes. She could have come over from Canada to help in the war effort but to do so she must have had money available to have made the trip. So family money in Canada would more likely to have seen her join the VAD which drew many of their members from the middle classes. But this is all supposition and we really need to get back to how the Milton Cenotaph people were persuaded to add her name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton

Thanks Jim, at least that rules them out .... and saves me downloading those medal cards.

I checked the Canadian nurses that were at the Etaples bombing, as that list is on the VAC Memorial here in Canada. No matches.

The letter from the Controller of the QMAAC to here family clearly shows she must have be QMAAC but there is also some indication she was an nurse, which suggests a different group. I have no confirmation she was a nurse. The ladies here are going to pour through the archives tomorrow. I understand Jim Dills who co-authored the Milton book on WWI soldiers did considerable research on this topic. I have contacted him as well to see if he has additional information.

I can scan and link the letter if you are interested?

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton
Richard

Mary McLachlan Blaikley, QMAAC. She was the grand-daughter of James Blaikley of Glasgow. Cannot see a Canadian connection.

Jim:

Some new information has come in after a search of the local newspaper acrchives. There is a link established for Mary Blaikley from in this second letter ("3 st. Andrew's Place, Gartcosh") with the CWGC listing (http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_detail...?casualty=78145) for Mary Blaikley from Cartcosh. The newspaper was very old, I suspect the C and G were confused and others report there is no such place as Gartcosh.

I myself do not believe that Mary came to Canada with her parents, I think she stayed with her grandfather and aunt Jennie. Too bad they don't give his name, but I note they don't say "his father" they refer to him as "her grandfather". A family rift perhaps? Did she marry a Blaikley or did she just take on the name of Blaikley as she did not want to be a "Paterson"?

This is becoming quite a topic over here, as she may have never set foot in Canada and thus has no entitlement to be on a Municipal Cenotaph or in the Virtual War Museum. I would have to agree if that was the case.

I paid the price and downloaded her card from the Uk National Archives and it told be absolutely nothing! That was a waste of money.

Not to be discouraged, off to the Scotland's People web site I headed. One of the lads here in Canada is sure she is Mary Blaikley.

So, why not, so off to Scotland's People I go with my MasterCard ready to buy some more credits. I used that site for may family history so I knew the ropes.

Mary McLachlan Blaikley exists for sure. She was born in 1897 in the Glasgow area (District of Cadder, County of Lanark). She was born at 10:45 pm to Elizabeth Blaikley, a farm servant. Elizabeth's record also exists. Oh no, Mary was an illegitimate child! Is that why she stayed in Scotland icon_question.gificon_question.gif Her death registration confirms that is the same one that was killed by the aerial bomb as a member of the QMAAC.

There are 11 marriages in the same area for John Paterson but none of them are post 1875, which was the birth year for Mary.s father. But I will watch those, as they have the wife's name as well.

ABSOLUTELY NO RECORDS of any Mary Paterson for birth, marriage or death. Makes it look like perhaps John was playing around with the hired help, then booted it off to Canada! The puzzle is getting more and more complex!

(I saved copies of the cards and records for those that have an interest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimonM

Re Margaret Selina Caswell

Hi everyone,

We hold her casualty plaque, victory medal, prnted scroll, portrait photo and modern photo of her grave as part of the former WRAC Museum collection; she also featured in our "finding the Fallen" exhibition a couple of years ago.

Regards

Simon Moody

That is at the National Army Museum Chelsea! :blush:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Strawbridge

Richard, So many names are coming into this string that I am getting a little confused. Are you saying that the Milton researchers are thinking that Mary McLachlan Blaikley, QMAAC. is the Canadian link and that she also went under the name of Paterson? Now that you have put forward the suggestion that she may have been nursing I can put forward another candidate. The York Minster panels have a section called "Auxiliary Hospitals". The listing of women under this heading is short of detail and a devil to research. I had always thought that these women were unskilled nurses doing the very basic work in hospitals or perhaps on the clerical side. But there is a name there in D.M. Paterson. Could this be the Mary Paterson mentioned with her going by her second name?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JRichards
Hi

I trying to see if anyone has any more info on this lady Margaret Selina Caswell No 15703. KIA at Abbeville on 30/5/18 with 7 other Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps Lady's in a bombing raid ? Cheers Roy

You may be interested in reading Hamilton Fyfe's account in the Daily Mail of the bombing of 3 Cabadain Stationary Hospital at Doullens at the end of May as he mentions in it the death of some WAACs elsewhere (may well be the incident where Margaret Caswell was killed). I'm sorry I don't have the excat reference as the cutting I've seen wasn't dated.

Regards

JRichards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Noble

Remembered with honour.

Abbeville.

Kindest regards,

Chris.

post-47-1194210409.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Noble

Row.

Remembering.

Chris.

post-47-1194210631.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bobbyjoehill

Out of curiosity how many women served in the QMAAC?

Share this post


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

×