Manx Women through the Ordeal of War 1914-18

– Posted on Friday 2nd November 2012

As part of Manx National Heritage’s lead up to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014, Curator of Social History Matthew Richardson will give a presentation on a perhaps little known aspect of that era, on Friday 9 November, 11am at the Manx Museum.

The talk will cover the experiences of Manx women in the world’s first global conflict, looking at those who were widowed or bereaved in the First World War, those who worked in munitions factories in England, or the war industries on the Isle of Man. There will also be coverage of those who nursed during the war, and finally a look at how Manx women developed politically as a result of their involvement in the conflict.

 Matthew Richardson commented:

‘This has been a very difficult presentation to prepare, though at the same time very interesting. We know quite a lot about the experiences of males from the Isle of Man, serving in the army or navy in the First World War, but very little about females, simply because so few of them wrote or talked at any great length about what they did.

As part of the research for this talk I have uncovered a marvellous story about a Douglas woman who operated an enormous crane at Vickers Naval Armaments works in Barrow, and some harrowing stories of women who were widowed in the war.  I’ve been greatly helped in my preparations by members of the public who have loaned precious family letters or photographs to Manx National Heritage, but needless to say I’m always interested in learning more.’

The talk is linked to a forthcoming major exhibition at the Manx Museum in 2014, which will examine the experience of men, women and children of the Isle of Man who lived through the First World War (1914-1918). The exhibition will examine the impact that the war had on the lives of ordinary people, be they soldiers, sailors, prisoners of war, or civilians on the home front.

Booking is not required and admission to the talk is free, though donations to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal would be gratefully received.

Image caption: Mary Faragher of Douglas, who worked at Vickers Naval Ordnance works in Barrow during the First World War


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