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. 

Barnsley Women's stories found in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph:

Marjorie Kate Mitchell (born West Melton, near Wombwell), daughter of Colonel Thomas William Howe Mitchell (born Worsborough, Barnsley) and a managing director of Mitchell's and Darfield Main Colliery. Her brother, Joseph Spencer Mitchell, died as a result of a flying accident in France on 5 October 1916. Miss Mitchell joined the V.A.D. in July 1916 and was in France until August 1917, after which she transferred to the Motor Ambulance Corps of the Italian Army. (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 12 December 1918, p.6)

Women buried in Bolton-on-Dearne Cemetery

Clara Beatrice Garbutt, Munitions Worker, accidentally killed 12 April 1918

Ella Gertrude Howitt, Munitions Worker, accidentally killed 12 April 1918

Annie E Scholey, Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps, died of illness 10 January 1919

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.
Other women identified as having been affected by the war:

Mary Ann Johnson, born at Staincross Common in 1894, died at Beckett Hospital, Barnsley 30 April 1917 from  T.N.T. poisoning. She was buried at All Saints, Darton, Barnsley. Remembered on the 'Women of Empire' memorial screen at York Minster.  See also her entry on Find A Grave for more details.

Ethel Cherry, born 1888 in Darfield, daughter of Thomas Cherry, Dataller in coal mine and churchwarden after the FWW by his first wife Elizabeth (nee Harrison). Ethel was a nurse at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds in 1911. In her family memoir 'Memories of a Darfield Childhood', in Aspects of Barnsley, Vol.6, p. 139, Margaret Mann notes that "Aunty Ethel's mauve and grey nurse's war uniform" was cut up to be recycled as peggy rugs. I can find no record of her war service, except this cutting. Ethel did not marry which sometimes indicates a woman in a professional role.

Mexborough & Swinton Times 9 December 1916 p.6

Women found on the United Kingdom, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920 on Family Search.  

Sarah Ellen Johnson, b.1898 Barnsley, Yorkshire QMAAC No.42898

Ellen Boocock, b. c. 1896 Barnsley, Yorkshire Women's Army Auxiliary Corps 

Ethel Bennett, b.1897 Barnsley,  Yorkshire WAAC No. 36804

Clarrissa May Thompson (nee Newsam) b. 1893 Barnsley, Yorkshire. Residence Manchester 

Maud Hannah Ana Brown, b. 1899, Carlton, Barnsley, Yorkshire QMAAC No.42525, Residence Moss Side

Violet Ann Petty, b. 1894 Bolton-on-Dearne, Yorkshire QMAAC No. 39610

Amy Simmonds, b. 1900, Wombwell, Yorkshire, QMAAC No. 48528 

Lillian White, b. 1896 Darfield, Yorkshire, QMAAC No.45262

Annie Frost, b. 1892 Darfield, Yorkshire, QMAAC No. 39388

Beatrice Adelaide (or Adeline) Hedges, b. 1898, Birdwell, Barnsley, Yorkshire QMAAC No. 36062 or WAAC

Ruby Emilie Benson, b. 1893 Leeds, Yorkshire Residence Barnsley, Yorkshire 

Nellie Morgan, b. 1889 Darfield, Yorkshire,  QMAAC No. 3667

Nellie Shingles, b. 1900 Darfield, Yorkshire,  QMAAC No. 42508

Gertrude Ellen Jones, b. 1898 Darfield, Yorkshire,  Women's Army Auxiliary Corps or QMAAC No. 52814

Emmeline Cullingworth, b.1896 Lofthouse, Wakefield. Residence Goldthorpe, Rotherham No. 30190


Women's Stories found on the Dearne Valley History pages for Wombwell 

Nurse A Charlesworth


Barnsley Women in the  Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), the QAIMNS Reserve and the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS). These are not easy to identify, as the nurses records at The National Archives don't appear to allow searches on places, just names. Currently (2022/23) the records are free to download provided you create an account.

Nellie Lockwood (spotted a reference to her on the Great War Forum). b.Q3 1886 Barnsley.
Home address whilst serving -  5 Park Grove, Barnsley. 
Served from November 1914 to November 1919
in the Territorial Force Nursing Service..
Spent time in Alexandria, Egypt. Married Thomas C. Webb in early 1920. He had written a letter to the Nursing Service in October 1919 asking if they could 'expedite' his fiance's return to England.

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