Elsie Sybil Lynam – VAD

Elsie Lynam  was born on 2nd May 1894 in West Ham District. The 1911 census shows that she was living on Macoma Road on Plumstead Common Road, Plumstead, with her parents and her brother. Her father, John, was a foreman engineer while her brother was an engineer apprentice. During this time, the census lists her occupation as ‘school’; while this may mean she was in education at this point, it could be that she was training to be a teacher.

Her registration on the Teacher’s Registration Council Register shows that her first position as a teacher was in 1914, where she was an assistant mistress at Ancona Road School in Plumstead. During this time, she was training in teaching at Fulham Training College. Prior to her training, she attained a Board of Education Certificate.

Her VAD records show that she is living at Macoma Road, Plumstead, and she started her service on 31st March 1917. She initially worked for 42 hours at Southwood Hospital, before working on the ward as a pantry orderly at Charlton House from 1st October 1918. In addition to this, Elsie helped to collect funds in the sale of flags and gave assistance at recruiting week at Plumstead.

After the war, Elsie married John George Hoare in Woolwich District in 1925. John was born in Woolwich District on 26th April 1893, and the 1901 census shows him living on Nithdale Road, Plumstead, with his parents and four siblings. His father was a turner of metal, while his mother was born in Melbourne, Australia. His occupation on the 1911 census is listed as a pupil teacher on the Teacher’s Registration Council Register, while in 1923 he is shown to be living at Axholme Road, Doncaster. What is interesting about John’s 1923 address is that Elsie was shown to be living at this address in 1920.

John attained a Board of Education Certificate Diploma in Physical Education and a Diploma of Educational Administration at Leeds University. He trained at Westminster Training College and Sheffield Physical Training College, Sheffield University. His school experience was from 1914-1925, as well as undertaking military service from 1915-21.


The 1939 register shows Elsie and John to be living on Axholme Road, Doncaster. Elsie’s occupation is shown as unpaid domestic duties, while John’s is an organiser of physical education. Their son, John, was at school, while her father had retired as a foreman of an ordnance factory. Elsie died in 1975 in Doncaster District, while John died in 1979 in the same district.


Blog Written By: June

Blog Maintained By: Megan



Armed Forces Day by photo’s

On Saturday, Here Come The Girls met Armed Forces Day at Woolwich Common. The two events definitely mixed very well, and although the weather was a little crazy, Ivy and Nell were recruiting and training up lots of new workers.

Lots of new VAD nurses are joining Ivy in training, take a look at our new nursing and bandage professionals!


Nell also had lots of new recruits who want to join her in the munitions factory, all now trained in filling shells quickly and carefully.

Alongside all the dressing up and training there was also lots of colouring in and other fun activities! Nell even visited the Artillery Barracks and met a few important people…


You can join our tour – we have lots more dates coming up: https://ww1greenwichwomenatwar.org/tour-dates-and-details/

The Sound of the Guns

The sound of gunfire was in fact that of the more than 1.7 million shells fired by the British Army in the week-long artillery bombardment which preceded the Battle of the Somme. Intended to destroy German forward trenches and cut barbed wire defences before an infantry assault, it culminated at 0728 on Saturday 1 st July 1916 in the underground detonation of more than 27 tonnes of high explosive, still one of the biggest non-nuclear man-made explosions in history. Sources vary as to the exact size of the resultant crater – known as the Lochnagar Crater and maintained today as a memorial – but for sure it would occupy all of Gordon Square in Woolwich to the depth of a typical tube station, with a lip as high as a ring of double-decker buses for good measure.

The bombardment proved less effective than had been hoped. One reason for this was the poor weather – presumably that mentioned in the article – which hampered the often overlooked role of the Royal Flying Corps in gathering reliable air reconnaissance; another was the high proportion of ‘dud’ shells, which failed to detonate. Thus the Army experienced the same munitions failings as had the Navy a month before at Jutland.


[Article: The Guns in Flanders – Kentish Mercury, 7th July 1916, p.11.]


Blog Written By: James

Blog Maintained By: Megan

Elizabeth Georgina Lois Terry – Cook

Elizabeth Georgina Lois Terry was born on 21st February 1881 in Chelsea District. The census conducted in the year of her birth shows her to be living at Street Baker’s Shop, 113 in Chelsea with her parents and one sibling. Her father’s occupation is listed as a railway signalman.

By 1911, she had moved to Putney Heath Lane, Putney where  she worked as a general domestic servant for Mr and Mrs A.A. Thompson. Mr Thompson’s occupation is shown as a surveyor.

Elizabeth’s VAD records list her as being engaged from 21st October 1915, and indicate that she was living on Inglethorpe Street on Fulham Palace Road during her service. She was initially sent to Lewisham Military Hospital, where she was employed as an Assistant Cook, before being promoted to Head Cook and sent to Rockwells, Upper Norwood.

From 1st October 1918, Elizabeth worked as Head Cook at Charlton House Hospital, where she was paid £45 per week for her services.

For her service with the Red Cross, Elizabeth was awarded a two years Red Cross Medal.

In 1939, Elizabeth is registered as living in Georgian Court, Wembley. Her occupation is listed as ‘incapacitated’.


Blog Written By: June

Blog Maintained By: Megan

The Queen’s Visit to the Well Hall Estate

On Friday 29th March Queen Mary made what seems to have been an unannounced visit to the Well Hall Estate. The Kentish Independent describes the air of anticipation on the estate as the day progressed giving images of mothers and babies wearing their best ‘bib and tuckers’. People seemed to know something was happening but were not quite sure what! The Queen had motored to the area, arriving at about 3.15 p.m. The cars stopped at the southern end of the estate where she and her ‘small entourage’ were greeted by a couple of Central Government officials and by the Superintendent of the estate, Mr Ernest Turner. Apparently Queen Mary expressed a desire to visit each of the four classes of houses in the area. I wonder how they were chosen?

At 2, Broughton Road (now part of Rochester Way) in a Class 1 house she met Mrs Eliza Mabb. The newspaper reported that ‘with a true mother’s instinct the Queen delighted Mrs Mabb by sympathetic questions about the boys, and admired the photographs of the absent ones and of the Royal Horse Artillery veteran which adorn the walls of the comfortable living room.’ The ‘boys’ in question were Mrs Mabb’s sons by her first marriage, two of whom were in the Royal Field Artillery and one in the Royal Horse Artillery. Hopes were exchanged that the war would be over soon and both their sons to be home. Ernest Mabb, the husband, had himself served twenty one years in the Royal Horse Artillery and but was eligible for the house on the estate because he was now employed at the Royal Carriage Factory.

The newspaper went on to paint an image of the Queen as ‘a model housewife’ who clearly appreciated the cleanliness and tidiness of Eliza Mabb’s home. On the wall was a portrait of the King which Queen Mary declared a good likeness. There was a comment about the garden: “And what a lovely garden you can have” to which Eliza replied that the weather had not been good for gardening, nor did the demands of work at the Arsenal allow time for the cultivation of flowers and vegetables. Either this work was seen as her husband’s role, or she was also working part-time. Whatever her work status, Eliza was involved in activities on the estate, helping for instance at the tenant’s dance and social in January 1917.

The Queen went on to visit a Class 2 house where she met Mrs Thomas McCoy – Violet Ethel McCoy – of 135, Well Hall Road. Violet was a young housewife who had married her husband in October 1915 at St Mark’s church, Plumstead. They were both local to Plumstead with fathers working at the Royal Arsenal. Her father was a government bookkeeper and the family had lived in Blenheim Rd, Plumstead from where Violet attended Purrett Road School. Violet had a younger brother and sister. After leaving school she became a typist but had perhaps met her husband, Thomas McCoy through their connection with the Arsenal. Thomas was an engineer there which is how he came to be eligible for a house on the estate. Their house was on the east side of Well Hall Road and Violet was just 22 years old when she had to host the Queen’s visit. Violet was a committee member of the Tenants Association which is perhaps how she came to be chosen for the visit.

Further along Well Hall Road, the Queen visited Mrs Faulkner at No 268, a Class 3 house (with its bath in the scullery). She was involved in activities on the estate for instance helping to provide tea for the sports day (her husband was Chair of the organising committee for the event). A little more research is needed to find out about her life.

And finally she saw the flat of the Hardings. Eliza Louisa Sarah would have been about 34 at this time with three sons – Henry 11, Leonard,10, and Donald aged about five. Donald had been briefly enrolled at Deansfield School but left after a couple of months to join his brothers at the Gordon School. Eliza and Alfred George her husband had married in 1904 in Battersea where George was a lamplighter and where her father was a publican. The family had then moved to Clapton Park where Eliza had assisted her husband in a shop there. At some point George had got work at the Arsenal. He described his job as ‘Arsenal worker’ so perhaps was doing some unskilled work and for this reason the five person household were living in the two bedroomed flat on Granby Road. Eliza Harding was involved in activities on the estate and for instance was listed as helping at the children’s races.

It was perhaps not just a random selection that meant these women were visited, and although the visit does not seem to have been known to the public in advance, clearly something was ‘in the air’. Perhaps it can be described as a fairly well kept secret but these four women would have been aware of the visit to come and we can imagine they would have tidied up and got out their best china. What stories they would have to tell their families in the evening, and how many of those stories have come down through the generations.


Blog Written By: Lynne

Blog Maintained By: Megan

Charlotte Elenor Tuck – VAD

Charlotte Elenor Tuck was born in Hastings District on 2nd May 1895.  By the 1901 census, she was living on Delafield Road in Charlton with her parents and five siblings. Her father was a carpenter and joiner.

The 1911 census lists her as living on Wellington Road, Charlton with her parents and six siblings. She was noted as a student on this census.

Her VAD record shows her continuing to live on Wellington Road during her work as a VAD. She enrolled on 10th May 1915 as a VAD nurse orderly, which she did until 29th July 1915. While working as an orderly, she was not paid and worked at Southwood Hospital, Eltham, and Charlton House Hospital on a part-time basis.

After working as an orderly, she became a typist at Charlton House Hospital, where she worked for one and a half years. She worked 10 hours per week during her time as a typist.

After the war, in 1939 she is registered as living on Shooters Hill Road. She was single, with her occupation listed as a Deputy Supervisor at the Railway Typewriting Bureau. She died in the Canterbury District.


Blog Written By: June

Blog Maintained By: Megan

Dorothy Ede – a very short biography of a driver

As a young adult, Dorothy Ede served as a driver during the First World War. Born in 1896 in Guildford, Surrey, and grew up there at the house on 42 Church Road, as noted in the 1901 Census with her father, a draper and her mother along with eight siblings. Ten years later, Dorothy lived at the same address with her mother, father and now nine siblings. Now aged 15 in 1911, Dorothy was listed as a dress maker’s apprentice.

From 20th August 1917, she was registered as a paid motor driver under the VAD for the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich, driving ever since. Dorothy moved to the Horton Hospital in Epsom as a mechanic driver. Her pay in 1919 was 41/- per week.

On 6th November 1922, she travelled from New York to Liverpool, now in the occupation as a state governess. By 23rd April 1930, she married Iden Graham Jones at All Saints Church, Sanderstead.


Blog Written By June Good

Blog Maintained By Heather Fayers