Category Archives: WW1

Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm – War Nurses

“Elsie Knocker has an irresistible inclination towards the greatest possible danger.” Author May Sinclair.

When I first heard about the war-time achievements of Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, my first thought was not only how remarkable they were, but also how on earth hadn’t I heard about them before?!  It makes me furious that so many extraordinary women have been neglected or ignored –  and I’ve been determined to shine a light on Elsie and Mairi ever since. Continue reading Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm – War Nurses

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Dr Elizabeth Ross

A reason to remember Tain in North East Scotland is Dr Elizabeth Ross. She wasn’t born there, as her banker father worked in London at the time of her birth, but the family came from the Ross- shire town, and returned after his death. But except for a small plaque in Tain’s St Duthus Church she is almost forgotten. Interestingly this is NOT the case in Serbia. Each year she is commemorated in a ceremony attended by Serbian high ranking dignitaries and many thousands of people. It is a huge celebration. Continue reading Dr Elizabeth Ross

Edith Picton-Turbervill

When I lived in Wellington Shropshire during the 90s I learnt that Edith Pargeter ( better known as Ellis Peters ), had lived in the area. But it was only by chance that I found out about another Edith – Edith Picton-Turbervill . I discovered that she was by far the most important Edith. However, there wasn’t one plaque or memorial to her and she seemed all but forgotten. I read about her in a biography of Jennie Lee. My Edith had been a very early Labour Member of Parliament for the area and as I was interested in politics, I became curious to discover her story. Continue reading Edith Picton-Turbervill

Dr Isabella Stenhouse’s Sheroic Journey

Isabella Stenhouse served as a doctor during the First World War, but is that enough to make her a Shero? In fact, what makes any ordinary girl into a Shero? Joseph Campbell analysed hero stories from around the world. He found that they followed a remarkably constant pattern that he called  The Hero’s Journey. If Isabella’s journey matched Campbell’s model, would she qualify as a Shero?  Continue reading Dr Isabella Stenhouse’s Sheroic Journey

Freda White

For a short time in the sixties and early seventies I had two great female friends. I was in my twenties, Frances Gordon in her fifties and Freda White in her late seventies. I had recently graduated from Glasgow University and was accumulating educational qualifications; Frances had a degree from the LSE gained in the 1930s and was a linchpin in the political and cultural life of Edinburgh; Freda was among the first graduates from Somerville College, Oxford, an author, journalist, campaigner and lecturer of international renown. Continue reading Freda White

No Petticoats Here

No Petticoats Here tells the stories of remarkable women who lived during the First World War, through song. As a folk singer, songwriter and some time teacher of history I take great interest in combining music with stories from the past. Frustrated at the relatively small amount of attention given to women’s stories during the centenary commemorations of the First World War, I decided to look closer at women’s achievements from this period.

My research took me from Flanders to the battlefields of the Somme, through the doors of many museums and research centres and brought me into contact with some incredible historians and authors as well as the relatives of some of these incredible women. Continue reading No Petticoats Here

Mary Quaile

Mary  Quaile was born in Dublin on 8 August  1886. The Quailes emigrated to England in 1889 or 1890.  Mary left school aged 12, working as a domestic servant,  which she later described as “by no means a bed of roses.”  She went abroad, working in the French port of Brest for a time where she gained a working knowledge of French,  a skill that no doubt  later proved very useful at international trade union meetings. Back in Manchester she became enthused by trade unionism after  the well-known trade union organiser Margaret Bondfield came to Manchester to  organise women workers. Continue reading Mary Quaile