FEMALE WAR POETS
In May 2012, I began researching Female Poets of the First World War for an exhibition at The Wilfred Owen Story Museum in Argyle Street, Birkenhead. By the time the exhibition ended, I had become so fascinated by the subject that I continued with my research adding more sections – Inspirational Women of WW1, Fascinating Facts of the Great War and Forgotten (male) Poets of the First World War.
As part of my research into inspirational women of WW1, I have been reading The Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties in the First World War, and I found several women with links to the Wirral, as well as those who are buried in Wirral Cemeteries:
Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France – Assistant Forewoman (equivalent to the rank of Lance Corporal) E.H. ROUTLEDGE, Mentioned in Despatches, of the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC), from Rock Ferry.
Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq – Chief Matron, Beatrice Isabel JONES from the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), holder of the Nightingale International Medal, from Wallasey.
Cobh Old Church Cemetery, County Cork, Ireland – Stewardess Jane Ellen HOWDLE, daughter of John and Jane Hughes of Station Road, Liscard, who drowned when the S.S. “Lusitania” was sunk on 7th May 1915.
Birkenhead (Flaybrick Hill) Cemetery – Sister Annie Louise ROBERTS, QAIMNS, died 26th November 1916.
Chester (Overleigh) Cemetery – Worker (equivalent to the rank of Private) Elsie FOULKES of the QMAAC attached to the Cheshire Regiment, died 3rd September 1918 of Tarvin Road, Chester.
Liverpool (Toxteth Park) Cemetery – Staff Nurse Lilian THOMAS of the QAIMNS who died on 14th August 1918 aged 27, daughter of Mrs E. Thomas of High Bebington Road, Lower Bebington.
Southampton (Hollybrook) Cemetery – Staff Nurse Annie Elinor BUCKLER of the QAIMNS, died 17th October 1918, daughter of the Rev. John Findlay Buckler late Rector of Bidston and Mary Annie Buckler, nee Mullow. Annie, who was born in Chester and trained at the Manchester Children’s Hospital, served in Malta and at the Queen’s Hospital, Sidcup, Kent, where she was part of the team that pioneered the work of plastic surgery.
Tower Hill Memorial, London – Stewardess Eliza KENNEDY, aged 66, who was born in Tranmere, daughter of John Dean Drake and Eliza Drake and wife of the late Andrew James Kennedy. Eliza drowned on 4th September 1915 when the S.S. Hesperian” was sunk by an enemy submarine.
Wallasey (Rake Lane) Cemetery, Wirral – Worker (Private) Florence Esther BENOY of the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, died 26th April 1918 aged 25. Daughter of Isaac Frank Benoy of 6, Carlton Terrace, Birkenhead Road, Hoylake, Wirral.
If you know of an Inspirational Woman, Fascinating Fact or Female Poet that I have not included in the lists on my weblogs, please get in touch and I will do my best to research them and add them to my on-going commemorative project.
This, self-funded, commemorative First World War exhibition project began as an exhibition of Female Poets of the First World War in November 2012, at the request of Dean Johnson of the Wilfred Owen Story Museum in Birkenhead. Having enjoyed the research so much, I decided to continue, adding other topics concerning WW1 – Inspirational Women, Fascinating Facts and then Forgotten (male) Poets.
The project is in memory of family members:
Grandfather, Lewis Jackson, a professional soldier who joined the Royal Field Artllery as a boy soldier in 1905, and who was one of the ‘Old Contemptibles’ – soldiers who went to Belgium and France in August 1914. Grandfather survived WW1 and also served in WW2.
Great Uncle, James Yule, who joined the Army in 1914, and was with the Northumberland Fusiliers when he was killed at the Battle of Arras on Easter Monday, 9th April 1917 – the same day as the poets R.E. Vernede and Edward Thomas. James has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in France.
And Great Uncle, William Gill Yule, who died of pneumonia on board the Thames Barge ‘99’, of which he was Master, after taking supplies to Dunkirk, on 8th November 1918.
Since 2012, the project has expanded to include weblogs and Facebook pages, I have been contacted by people the world over with ideas for research, and exhibitions have been held at:
The Wilfred Owen Story, Birkenhead
Lucy London, January 2016
Lucy is a poet and writer who, like Wilfred Owen before her, was brought up and educated on the Wirral Peninsula.