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Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Page seven of the Western Mail, Saturday 31 October 1914, which includes an item in the fourth column describing a meeting, addressed by the actress Lena Ashwell, to promote the local branch of the Women’s Emergency Corps.

The purpose of the Corps was to co-ordinate the efforts of women volunteers and safeguard the interests of those in paid employment. The article requests volunteers and funds. "Miss Ashwell said that since they had organised the corps over 3,000 women had registered, and there were more than 2,000 voluntary women workers."

Lena Ashwell was born on 28 September 1872 on board the ship Wellesey on the River Tyne, England. She was raised and educated in Canada. Later, deciding to pursue a singing career, she studied music at Lausanne in Switzerland and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her voice, however, proved to be inadequate and, apparently on the advice of Ellen Terry, she became an actress. After the commencement of the First World War, in 1915, she began organising companies of professional actors to entertain the allied armies in France. By the end of the war, twenty-five of her companies were performing for the troops in Europe. For this work, Lena Ashwell was awarded the Order of the British Empire. Source:, accessed 16/2/17.

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