Cymraeg

The Experiences of Women in World War One

A collection of information, experiences and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2014-18

A collection of information, experiences and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2014-18

Browse the collection


Sorted by date of death

Gladys *

Place of birth: Cardiff

Service: Girl

Notes: Photograph of a teenage girl dressed in the uniform of a regular soldier in the Royal Artillery (too large for her) complete with swagger stick, seated in a chair. Her hair is tied back with a large bow, indicating that she is probably no older than 16 or 17.; Reverse of photograph indicating it was taken at Gale’s Studios Ltd, Queen’s Street, Cardiff. Inscribed in ink ‘From Gladys / To Ada’.

Reference: WaW0077

Photograph of Gladys, a teenage girl, dressed in the uniform of the Royal Artillery, c.1914

Photograph of Gladys, Cardiff

Photograph of Gladys, a teenage girl, dressed in the uniform of the Royal Artillery, c.1914

Reverse of photograph, taken at  Gale’s Studios Ltd, Queen’s Street, Cardiff, inscribed 'To Ada From Glady's.

Reverse of photograph of Gladys

Reverse of photograph, taken at Gale’s Studios Ltd, Queen’s Street, Cardiff, inscribed 'To Ada From Glady's.


Jean Arbuckle

Place of birth: Scotland

Service: Schoolgirl

Notes: 'My mother, Jean Wardlaw Arbuckle, was born in Scotland and spent her early years there in various small towns and villages in the central belt from Gourock in the west to Preston Pans in the east. She was the third of twelve children. When she was about 11 years old, the family moved to the coal-mining valleys in Wales, as her father sought promotion in the coal industry.My mother was 15 years old when World War I broke out. The memories she passed down to me were of the extreme difficulty in obtaining food, and its high cost, until rationing was brought in. She said that it was extremely unfair for poorer families, and that rationing made the situation much fairer. At the beginning of the War the family lived in Tondu, just north of Bridgend, but moved to Llanharan, eight miles from Bridgend some time during 1915. She attended Bridgend County School during those years, travelling by train from Llanharan station. The scarcity of staff seems to have caused some level of amalgamation of the boys and girls schools. It seems to have been quite a lax regime with a considerable amount of truancy. The pupils often disappeared during the day, walking to Merthyr Mawr, boys and girls together.One day she decided to leave school early, and hitched a lift with a farmer, riding in his horse-drawn trap back to Llanharan on the then narrow and twisting road. My grandfather had one of the few cars in the area at that time, and she heard it coming towards them along the road. She knew that if he saw her she would get the strap, so she jumped off the trap, over the hedge, and then walked the rest of the way home.The family were members of the Plymouth Brethren, but this does not seem to have stopped the children running a bit wild.' Janet Davies 13.11.2015.

Reference: WaW0078


Isabelle Eugenie Marie Barbier

Place of birth: Cardiff 1885

Service: Nurse, CHR, 11/08/1914 - 1919

Notes: Isabelle Barbier was one of the daughters of Paul Barbier, professor of French at Cardiff University. She trained as a nurse at Bristol Royal Infirmary. Called up very early in the war, she was called upon to help Maud MacCarthy, the Principal Matron in France, who had crossed to France at the same time and who spoke no French. Isabelle became her personal assistant throughout the War, working in France and Flanders. She later became a nun, and died in 1982 aged 96.

Sources: http://www.fairestforce.co.uk/6.html

Reference: WaW0104


Minnie Bevan

Place of birth: Swansea

Service: Munitions Worker

Notes: Suffered from shock but survived the accident that killed Gwendoline (Gwenllian) Williams and Sarah Jane Thomas 8th January 1919

Reference: WaW0085

Minnie Bevan mentioned in a newspaper report, Carmarthen Journal Jan 1919

Newspaper report of explosion

Minnie Bevan mentioned in a newspaper report, Carmarthen Journal Jan 1919


May Brooks

Place of birth: Cardiff

Service: Worker, WAAC/QMAAC, 1917 - 1919

Notes: May Brooks was a clerk in a confectionary firm before joining the WAAC. She served at various places in the south of England. She contracted influenza, spending a week in hospital, and was discharged on compassionate grounds in June 1919. Image and information courtesy of Glamorgan Archives (DWESA6).

Sources: https://archifaumorgannwg.wordpress.com/

Reference: WaW0117

May Brooks in the outdoor uniform of the WAAC/QMAAC. Image courtesy of Glamorgan Archives

May Brooks, WAAC/QMAAC. Image courtesy of Glamorgan Archives

May Brooks in the outdoor uniform of the WAAC/QMAAC. Image courtesy of Glamorgan Archives


Gladys Butler

Place of birth: Valleys, 1914

Service: Small child

Notes: Gladys Butler had vivid memories of being dressed in a miniature soldier's uniform (c.1916/17) and being stood on a table. When admired as a 'smart soldier boy', she insisted 'I'm not a boy, I'm a girl!' (CF November 2014)

Reference: WaW0090


Edith Carbis

Place of birth: Cardiff

Service: Messenger, Girl Guides / Geidiau

Notes: Edith Carbis's photograph appeared in the 'Roath Road Roamer’, January 1915. She seems to have left school, and acted as a messenger for the Lady Mayoress.

Reference: WaW0094

Edith Carbis in Guide's uniform

Edith Carbis

Edith Carbis in Guide's uniform


Elizabeth Clements

Place of birth: Swansea

Service: Nurse, SWH, 1915 - 1916

Notes: Daughter of a Swansea pub landlord Elizabeth Clements trained as a nurse at Llanelli Workhouse, where she became Head Nurse. She joined the Scottish Women's Hospitals in 1915 and served in Serbia. She and the unit in which she served were taken as prisoners of war by the Austrians on 10th November 1915. It was an anxious time for her family

Sources: http://scottishwomenshospitals.co.uk/women/

Reference: WaW0114

Newspaper report, Cambrian Daily Leader, 18 December 1915

Newpaper report

Newspaper report, Cambrian Daily Leader, 18 December 1915


Editha Elma (Bailey), Lady Glanusk (Sergison)

Place of birth: Haywards Heath, Sussex

Service: ‘Active war worker’, Red Cross

Notes: Lady Glanusk was born in 1871 and married the 2nd Baron Glanusk in 1890. From the outbreak of war she became very involved in wartime activities, and was an indefatigable writer to the newspapers, calling for young women to encourage their men to join up, and demanding the internment of enemy aliens. She was the President of the Red Cross in Breconshire, (for which she was awarded a CBE in 1920), and was heavily involved in the Penoyre Red Cross Hospital in Brecon. Two of her three sons were killed in the war, one a 17-year-old midshipman.

Reference: WaW0228

Lady Glanusk with the matron and staff of Penoyre Hospital, Brecon.

Lady Glanusk

Lady Glanusk with the matron and staff of Penoyre Hospital, Brecon.

Letter to ‘The Women of Breconshire’ published in the Brecon County Times 5th November 1914.

Newspaper letter

Letter to ‘The Women of Breconshire’ published in the Brecon County Times 5th November 1914.


Letter ‘The Alien Enemy Danger’ published in the Brecon County Times 25th March 1915

Newspaper letter

Letter ‘The Alien Enemy Danger’ published in the Brecon County Times 25th March 1915

Red Cross record card detailing the service of Lady Glanusk

Red Cross record card

Red Cross record card detailing the service of Lady Glanusk


Red Cross record card detailing the service of Lady Glanusk (reverse)

Red Cross record card (reverse)

Red Cross record card detailing the service of Lady Glanusk (reverse)

Citation for award of CBE to Lady Glanusk, London Gazette (Supplement) 30th March 1920

London Gazette

Citation for award of CBE to Lady Glanusk, London Gazette (Supplement) 30th March 1920


Elizabeth Beatrice Cope

Place of birth: Lancashire, c.1871

Service: Mother

Notes: Beatrice Cope lived with her husband George in Trelleck, Monmouthshire. Here she is photographed with her younger son George, known as Eric. He was a temporary second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion (1st Tyneside Scottish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The photograph was probably taken just before Eric was sent to France in January 1916. Eric was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916. He was just 18 years old. Elizabeth Beatrice Cope lived with her husband George in Trelleck, Monmouthshire. They had previously lived in Denbighshire. Here she is photographed with her younger son George, known as Eric. He was a temporary second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion (1st Tyneside Scottish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The photograph was probably taken just before Eric was sent to France in January 1916. Eric was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916. He was just 18 years old. Elizabeth Beatrice Cope lived with her husband George in Trelleck, Monmouthshire. They had previously lived in Denbighshire. Here she is photographed with her younger son George, known as Eric. He was a temporary second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion (1st Tyneside Scottish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The photograph was probably taken just before Eric was sent to France in January 1916. Eric was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916. He was just 18 years old.

Reference: WaW0069

Beatrice Cope with her son Eric, possibly early 1916

Beatrice Cope with her son Eric

Beatrice Cope with her son Eric, possibly early 1916



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