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The Great War Dead & their Widows


Join us for two talks offering very different perspectives on our ancestors’ experiences during and just after World War 1.

Session 1

Andrea Hetherington looks at the more than 200,000 British women who were widowed as a result of World War 1. Their experiences provide an insight into attitudes towards women and to welfare in early 20th century Britain. The women’s stories are rarely told. In fact, Britain’s World War 1 widows are becoming a Forgotten Legion.

As she tells their stories, Andrea illustrates the challenges widows faced in dealing with the Ministry of Pensions and in struggling to make new lives after their bereavement.


Session 2

Simon Fowler discusses the sources to use to trace the soldiers who died in World War I. He covers the many associated records that were produced, and how to locate their burial places.


About the speakers:

Andrea Hetherington is a writer and researcher with an interest in the social history of the First World War. As well as being the author of British Widows of the First World War- the Forgotten Legion and also Deserters of the First World War the Home Front  (both pub. Pen & Sword), she has written Lawnswood’s Great War Stories (pub. Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery).

She has contributed to a number of anthologies and written an article for the Unknown Warrior Commemorative Edition of Stand To!


Simon Fowler is an experienced family history teacher, writer and researcher. He worked for The National Archives on and off for over thirty years. Today he is a professional researcher mainly on family history and military topics.

He is the author of over two dozen books, including Tracing Your Army Ancestors and Tracing Your First World War Ancestors (pub. Pen & Sword). Simon has also written regularly for genealogy magazines.  He teaches at Dundee University, Pharos Tutors and regularly lectures for the Society of Genealogists.

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