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Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps

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Marsouin 80
On 11/01/2006 at 20:46, Jim Strawbridge said:

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.

 

On 22/10/2007 at 19:21, Jim Strawbridge said:

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?

Hi, 

 

Watson Jeannie, born Cambuslang Glasgow, 25 years old, died 1918 may 30 in Abbeville Somme during air raid bombing, her casualty is near the 8 others in Abbeville Commonwealth Cemetery. Mat 34864, grave IV C 05...

 

André (Le Souvenir Français, Abbeville Somme).

 

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Marsouin 80
On 23/11/2009 at 18:56, Cassi said:

Hi Roy

I'm Margaret's great niece and see you have been researching her story in the past. Are you related? Family history has always told her story and how her mother reacted to the terrible news.

Irene Caswell

Hi, 

A ceremony is held and commemorates the centenary of the disappearance of the nine British volunteers from the QMAAC, on May 30, 2018, at 4:30 p.m., at the Commonwealth Cemetery, notre Dame de la Chapelle, in Abbeville, Somme. A tribute, as every year, in the presence of pupils from the schools and autorities of the city of Abbeville. This ceremony is organised conjointly by the Tawn Hall and the association "Le Souvenir Français".. 

 

André, (Le Souvenir Français, Abbeville, Somme)

 

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Marsouin 80
On 23/11/2009 at 19:52, Cassi said:
Jim Strawbridge said:

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.

[/q

Hi

Oh yes, Margaret Caswell came from good working class stock and was part of a large hardworking family. Strangely, her younger sister was in no doubts at all that Margaret was a nurse in the Q.M.A.A.C. Her younger brother Charlie was a farm labourer in Churt - possibly on Lloyd George's Estate - and married a local girl Mabel who was in service on the Estate around 1922-24.

I'm intrigued as to why there's so much interest in Margaret and the others who sadly lost their lives in this was. Was it unusual or were the first women to die at the hands of the enemy or in the front line?

Regards

Irene Caswell

Hi Irene, 

 

The nine female volunteers, who died on 30 May 1918 in Abbeville, are a strong example of women's investment in the war effort. 12 female volunteers from the QMAAC lost their lives in Abbeville and were buried there. including your relative. To make their history and their commitment known is a duty of remembrance to the younger generations, hence the Association of the Youth of the schools of the city to these ceremonies in homage to these ladies. 

 

André, (Le Souvenir Français, Abbeville, Somme)

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