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Wenches in Trenches
Wenches in Trenches
WW1 Womens Grave restoration

WW1 Womens Grave restoration

Why we need your help

Project Announcement
In recent months we at Wenches in Trenches have found the dilapidated, forgotten graves of two female doctors who were named as Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur recipients for their services on the Western Front during the Great War. Unbelievably one of those broken graves was that of Dr Frances Ivens, arguably the most famous female doctor in WW1.
We have to ask: How have the graves of these amazing women been forgotten? Is it because they survived past the 31st August 1921 cut-off date for CWGC grave consideration and so aren't commemorated in the same way as some of their less fortunate colleagues? In many cases we could walk past their private gravestones without even noticing them. How does that do justice to the conditions those women endured to try and save lives? The three hours sleep in every 24 hours for weeks on end? The horrific injuries they were asked to treat? The prejudice and misogyny they faced to even qualify as doctors, and in some cases the disparaging and dismissive treatment meted out to them by their own country in 1914? How does it honour the fact that they chose a different path and put themselves in danger because they knew they could help others? Most importantly: In an age when the fight for equality has become its strongest, how can we justify letting the memories of these pioneering valiant women fade?
As we’ve said before: We are not naïve enough to think that there aren’t other Great War heroes’ graves in the same dilapidated condition, but the Wenches in Trenches organisation was set up in 2007 to highlight the forgotten contribution by WOMEN in armed conflict, especially those in the Great War. We want to make sure their resting places are not forgotten so that future generations of female pioneers can locate these heroes and pay their respects in the same way that we in this group do today.
The Wenches Admin Team is in the process of setting up its own database of female participants (of all nationalities) in the Great War, beginning with the female doctors, orderlies, assistants, drivers and helpers of Royaumont; we will be doing our best to trace where these women are buried and wish to try and restore as many graves as we can. It will be a slow project, but a worthy one.
Hopefully many of the graves we find will be in as good a condition as that of Elsie Inglis’ in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh, but where we find graves in need of restoration we will be organising fund raising activities to employ professional persons to restore the graves with the permission of the family, church and relevant council authorities.
We are not asking group members to restore the graves themselves as we are a not-for-profit organisation and do not wish either the Wenches organisation or our group members to be put at risk of any liability or harm because of our good intentions; we simply wish to (where we can and on a no liability basis) arrange for professional experienced insured restorers to carry out the work so that the memories of these amazing women are brought back to life. As our results come in we will of course publish them on our group page and website.
What we would be very grateful for is your help with details of women you know to have taken part in the Great War, in whatever capacity. It could be someone’s grave that you walk past on your way to the shops or a relative you have been researching, a female surgeon you know about or even a volunteer cook like Lydia Tumber of 36 Black Griffin Street, Canterbury, who cooked breakfasts at the Dane John VAD Hospital every day between 5.30 am and 7 am before she went off to do a full day’s work. These women all did their bit. They all had a part to play. Now you do too in keeping their memories alive. We would be grateful to see the women’s details published on our page and sincerely thank you in advance for the information you contribute to our project. Your support really is appreciated.
The Admin Team


raised towards 2,000.00 target


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Total raised so far


Total plus Gift Aid 770.00

Direct donations


Raised offline 770.00

Fundraising pages


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