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    Press release

    Call for volunteers and information to uncover the legacies of Norfolk Women in the First World War

    Press release - 1 Mar 2018

    Call for volunteers and information to help uncover the remarkable legacies of Norfolk women from the First World War

    The Forum, Norwich is looking for volunteers to participate in an exciting research project revealing the legacies of Norfolk women from the First World War.

    The volunteers’ research will form a public exhibition at The Forum in November, commemorating the end of the First World War. The exhibition is part of The Forum’s ongoing Norfolk in the First World War: Somme to Armistice project which has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    Unbeknownst to many, hundreds of women were amongst the British war dead of the First World War. Whilst not involved in combat roles they did operate as nurses and ambulance drivers in dangerous areas close to the front lines. Many died as a result of accidents, illnesses or disease while serving home and abroad.  

    Military Historian, Neil Storey has identified 21 Norfolk women who died while serving in uniform and the Norfolk in the First World War project team would like to hear from anyone with stories, photographs or additional information about these women or other Norfolk Women who should be added to the Roll of Honour.

    The Forum is hosting a free information evening on Thursday 8 March at 7pm where members of the public can find out more about the project and hear a talk by Neil Storey on First World War Women of Norfolk: Legacies.

    Volunteers will be supported in their research by Neil Storey, and will receive training including heritage and research skills into topics including family history and military ancestry. Volunteers will also receive training in public speaking, digital and media engagement skills.   

    Sarah Power, Events & Learning Manager at The Forum said: “This will be an exciting and rewarding project to take part in. By being part of our project team, volunteers are likely to uncover fascinating stories about remarkable women whilst developing new skills and friendships.”  

    Booking is essential for the information evening, places can be booked via Eventbrite . To contact the team email Lizzie on heritage.assistant@theforumnorwich.co.uk . Volunteers have until Monday 26 March 2018 to register their interest in taking part and can find out further information about the project by visiting theforumnorwich.co.uk/learning/volunteer


    For more information please contact Richard Smith, Marketing Communications Manager tel: 01603 727975  Email: richard.smith@theforumnorwich.co.uk

    Notes To Editors:

    One of the Fallen: Gladys Helen Cobb

    One of the Norfolk women identified was Gladys Cobb from Gaywood. Gladys served as a Worker with the Queen Mary's Auxiliary Army Corps (QMAAC), attached to the Royal Engineers Inland Waterways Department at the Military Port of Richborough in Kent.

    Although the war had been over for three months there was still a demand for supplies from soldiers helping clear up the carnage in France and Belgium as well as from the occupying forces in Germany. Many women in the QMAAC were serving out their term or volunteered to stay on to help out during this period. However, after the war a deadly flu pandemic gripped the country, claiming claimed thousands of lives.

    Gladys was one of those to succumb and died at Stonar Camp Hospital in Richborough on 12 February 1918 aged 23. Her body was returned to Norfolk and she was buried at King's Lynn, Gaywood Cemetery. Her name appears on the Gaywood War Memorial.

    Roll of names of Women who laid down their lives in the First World War

    Researched by project historian Neil R. Storey. Please note this list does not include the names of those women killed in air raids, bombardments or those who lost their lives working in munitions.

    Astell, Frances Ethel (Norwich), TFNS

    Burton-Fanning, Beris Selina Frances (Norwich), BRCS VAD

    Cavell, Edith Louisa (Swardeston) Matron

    Cobb, Gladys Helen (Gaywood), QMAAC

    Davy, Violet Elizabeth (North Elmham), WRAF

    Duffen, Lilian Silver (Norwich), TFNS

    Frost, Minna (Honingham), Nurse

    Goldsmith, Amy Alice Victoria (Norwich), TFNS

    Goodwin, Barbara Ellen (Great Massingham), WRAF 

    Hall, Annie (Reedham), QMAAC

    Humphrey, Elsie M. (Norwich), TFNS

    Long, Alice (Norwich), QAIMNS

    Matthews, Mary Maria (Buxton), QMAAC

    Meal, Violet (Caister-on-Sea), QMAAC

    Murrell, Evelyn Irene (Downham Market), WRAF

    Raines, Alvinia May (Heacham), BRCS VAD

    Rodwell, Mary Ann (Ditchingham), QAIMNSR

    Strange, Alice Marian (Brockdish), BRCS VAD

    Wakefield, Jessie Emily ARRC (Norwich), TFNS 

    Webb, Gladys May (Heacham), WRAF


    About The Forum:

    • The Forum, in the centre of Norwich, is one of the UK’s most successful Millennium projects.
    • It’s a public building, open seven days a week, all year round (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day).
    • Everyone is welcome. Most of the public events, exhibitions and activities which take place at The Forum are free.
    • The Forum Trust is the independent, self-financing, charitable organisation which manages The Forum building.
    • It is responsible for The Forum’s continued development, growth and innovation.
    • The Trust works with many partners to ensure The Forum plays a valuable role in the community.
    • Details about the charitable ‘project purpose’ which under-pins The Forum are on the website