WW1 Women's Stories

When the Barnsley War Memorials Project volunteers transcribed the 1918 Absent Voters' List for Barnsley we found four women listed out of the 6127 total names.  Of course when the franchise was extended in 1918 it only included women over 30 who fulfilled certain property rights, women over 21 did not all get the vote until 1928.  The Absent Voters' List also only tells us about the people who were expected to be away from home at the time of the expected election at the end of 1918.  

I had found one woman's story previous to this, Alice Hilda Lancaster was a Territorial Force Nurse who accidently drowned while in France.  She is remembered on her mother's gravestone in Monk Bretton Cemetery.

There will be many more women in Barnsley (and of course all over the country) who acted in important roles during WW1.  The Absent Voters' List is just one way of finding them. 

As we begin the mammoth task of indexing the Barnsley Chronicle for the war years, 1914 - 1919 more women's stories will come to our notice.  This index will not be limited to the war years however, women may have been playing important roles before the war, but it is only through our research that they are now coming to light.

If I have written a blog post on a WW1 Woman's Story or if someone else has I will link it to their name in the list below. Links may also be to the Lives of the First World War website or to the source of the information if nothing has been written about this woman yet. 

A Community of Barnsley Women's Stories has been created on Lives of the First World War to gather these women and others we discover together.

Women named on War Memorials around Barnsley:

Alice Lancaster, Territorial Force Nurse in France, remembered in Monk Bretton
Dorothy Fox, Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse, remembered in St Mary's Barnsley

The women listed in the 1918 Absent Voters' List for Barnsley are:

Gladys Alderson of Huddersfield Road, Y M C A Canteen
Katherine Blackburn of Sheffield Road, Territorial Force Nurse in Salonica
Lucy Johnson of Church Street, Red Cross Nurse
Sarah Morris of Prospect Street, Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps

Women's stories found through the Barnsley Chronicle 1914 - 1918:

Frances Mary Malkin (later Jeffs), Barnsley's First Health Visitor 1908 to 1918
Madame Amy Joyner, Vocalist from Cudworth

Margaret Briggs a housemaid in Scarborough, killed 16 December 1914 by the German Naval bombardment. Family lived Sherwood Street, Barnsley. Buried in Barnsley Cemetery.

Women's stories found in the Barnsley Independent 1914-1918:

Alice Ruth Georgina Rideal, second daughter of Alderman Rideal of Barnsley. Decorated with a Red Cross award by King George at Buckingham Palace. 

Emma Sarah Louisa Rideal, eldest daughter of Alderman E. J. F. Rideal, of Providence Villa, Sackville Street, Barnsley. Died in June 1919. Prominently identified with the local Nursing Association, and during the war worked zealously in patriotic movements, taking a keen interest in the Territorials' Comforts Fund, of which she was joint secretary. (Barnsley Independent, 21 June 1919, p.1. 

Women found on the British Red Cross First World War Volunteers website 

Elsie May Gregory a Domestic Economy student living at Marrow House, Worsbro' Bridge in 1911. She serves in Malta and Salonika as a cook gaining a Mention in Dispatches. 

Alice Oakland from Cudworth. A trained laboratory assistant, she works at the Wellcome Resarch Laboratories, Herne Hill London and the Military Hospital at Ripon.

Helena Mary Elizabeth Rideal, third daughter of Alderman Rideal of Barnsley. Worked at a hospital in Birmingham.

Dorcas Willey, Adelaide Willey, and Florence Mary Willey, daughters of David Willey, retired Grocer of Carlton House, Carlton. Grandaughters of Joshua Willey, Coal Owner, and previously Wine and Spirit Merchant in Hoyland.

Amy Birkenshaw from Little Houghton. Began her service doing a few hours a week at Middlewood Hall, Darfield, then moved onto full time nursing in Ripon and Marseilles.

Florence Aspden, from West Bridgeford, Nottinghamshire. Worked at Lundwood Hospital in Barnsley from 1916 until at least 1919.

Florence Bailey, from Darfield. Volunteered at Middlewood Hall, Darfield from 1916 to 1919.

Gladys Bowen, from Darfield. Volunteered at Middlewood Hall, Darfield from 1916 to 1919. Her brother William Reginald Bowen was killed in 1917. 

Daisy or Sarah Brooke, from Old Moor Farm, Broomhill, Barnsley. Volunteered at Middlewood Hall, Darfield from 1916, then moved to Leeds in 1918 to take up nursing. 

Women identified through Lives of the First World War

Ruby Emily Benson, Foreman Clerk, Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. Lived at 56 Blenheim Road, Barnsley in 1911 and in 1920. Awarded MOBE.

Dorcas Adelaide Willey, daughter of Jos Willey, Chemist and Druggist of Hoyland, also a grandaughter of Joshua Willey, Coal Owner. Sister in Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service.


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