Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps


Recommended Posts

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?



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).


Link to comment
Share on other sites

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


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)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

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


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.



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?


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)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...
On 5/16/2018 at 11:30 AM, Marsouin 80 said:


WALCROFT Kitty, born 13/11/1894 (Maidenhead), died 1919 feb 14, in Abbeville Hospital...


Marsouin 80 (Le Souvenir Français, Abbeville Somme). 


     I just ran across your posting from May of this year.  Kitty Walcroft was my grandmother's sister.  My sisters and I are planning to visit Abbeville in about 2 weeks.  We are flying from USA to France and one of the places we wanted to stop was at Kitty's grave.  I saw in one of your posts that you had referenced Aunt Kitty with VF 36.  Is this a reference to where in the cemetery we might find her grave?  Thanks for your help.

Pam Cowan, Pennsylvania, USA

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whilst waiting for your reply, you can see the grave here.




The CWGC are good with the information they give, there is a link to a cemetery plan on their website.  Also a copy of the Grave Registration.




Their own cemeteries also have copy available on site I think.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all,


again I find a post that is going to be very interesting for my thread...

I don't know when I'll be able to go to Abbeville...  I'm afraid it's going to have to wait for next year. But I will be able to prepare the visit properly and get all the right documentation thanks to your inputs here.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
On 10/04/2008 at 15:25, laughton said:


Mary Paterson Report PDF

Thanks to all CEFSG and GWF members who have assisted me in this hunt for factual evidence.



Good afternoon Richard, 


I read your report for my project and was very happy to be able to visit Mary's grave last july... she'll be one of the next in my thread here on the forum. 

one question though: had the memorial in Milton been adapted since your report? I mean: had the name been deleted?? I see on the website that Mary is still begin referred to as a nurse too... 



Link to comment
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...