Thursday, 30 March 2017

Update re Joyce Amphlett

Researcher/historian Phil Dawes found out more about Joyce Amphlett:
"As you know, Marian Joyce was the daughter of a wealthy farmer. She was educated at home in 1901 and 1911. The house in which the family lived in 1911 had 4 servants and 16 rooms.

Joyce married Harold Mence Gardner at Upton (Malvern) in 1920. Her sister married in 1921.

She became elusive after that. As her husband was a forestry student ( he too was the son of a wealthy local farmer) I thought they might have gone abroad and they did: to Kenya. Harold worked his way up the Colonial Civil Service ladder to become Conservator of Forests, Kenya by 1938.  He was also appointed to the legislative council in 1933.

Harold was already in Kenya as a young forestry officer when WWI broke out. He fought in the East Africa campaign but became ill from malaria and returned to forestry.

After the war he must have returned home often enough to meet up with local girl Joyce.

They were on holiday in the UK in 1939 at census time. Harold was staying with her parents - several servants were listed. Joyce was almost certainly there too but her record is 'officially closed' for some reason.

They were good Christians and helped to found and build St. Francis Church in Nairobi. This is explained on their remembrance plaque in that church.

When Harold died in 1979 the “Nairobi Standard” newspaper published a fairly lengthy biography. It mentions Joyce and their five surviving children and fifteen grandchildren.

Joyce died in 1985."

And Steve Millward has found a reference to one of their children - Charles Amphlett Gardner - being made a District Officer in Fort Hall, Kenya on 14th July 1959.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Query regarding Maud Anna Bell (?1861 - 1947?)

I received an interesting query recently about the WW1 poet Maud Anna Bell and wondered whether anyone could help:

“As Maud Anna Bell was working for the Serbian Relief Fund, I'm interested to know if Maud ever went to the Front through her work.

I also found the poem 'Crocuses at Nottingham' attributed to a Miss Jessie Bell in “The Times” from 1917, so was wondering what had happened there.”

During the course of my previous research about Maud Anna Bell, I noticed that Catherine W. Reilly mentions her In the WW1 poetry anthology “Scars upon my heart”, saying that Bell “campaigned actively for the Serbian Relief Fund".  I have not been able to find any further information as to whether Bell actually travelled to Serbia.

Maud Anna Bell is also included by Catherine W. Reilly in her “English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978), on page 52, as having poems included in two WW1 anthologies:

“A Treasury of War Poetry:  British and American poems of the World War, 1914 – 1919” (Boston, Mass., Houghton Mifflin, 1919, edited by George Herbert Clarke


“A Treasury of War Poetry:  British and American poems of the World War, 1914 – 1919” (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1919) – in both these the title of the poem is “From a Trench”.

Immediately above the entry for Maud Anna Bell is an entry for a Maud Bell who published a WW1 collection of poems entitled “London songs and others (poems)” (Bristol, Horseshoe Publishing Company, 1924.   Could this be the same person?

Following up one lead regarding the Serbian Relief Fund, I began to look at The Church League for Women's Suffrage and came across this very well researched and written site which gives a great deal of information about some wonderfully inspirational women:

Details on the Church League for Women's Suffrage -

Maud's poem appeared in “The Times” as by "M. B. H." according to Carrie Ellen Holman's anthology, the “Day of Battle: Poems of the Great War” (Toronto, 1918), but it could have been misread.

Has anyone any further information about Maud Anna Bell please?

Thursday, 16 March 2017

An interesting MA thesis about women's poetry in WW1

While researching Maud Anna Bell. I came across this extremely interesting piece of research work about the poetic response of women to the First World War.  Written by Amy Helen Bell in December 1996 for an MA at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada I found this full of interesting points