Rosa C. Ward OBE - Legend

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Rosa Ward lived in Cae Dai, Denbigh and in 1912 formed the earliest Guide Company in North Wales. The 1st Denbigh Guide Company did not have a Captain, therefore Rosa Ward led the company as Patrol Leader. Miss Ward was later appointed County Commissioner for Denbighshire, although she was not yet of age. In 1939 Miss Ward was appointed Chief Commissioner for Wales and her lifelong support for Guiding continued.

A 12 year old Guide wrote to Imperial Headquarters asking

"Can't we do something now, so that when the war ends we will be able to send help to our sister Guides who will want to rebuild their country?"

A letter in "The Guider" written by Mrs Mark Kerr stated

"We must look to the future and prepare ourselves for the times to come. Much more important than winning the war is the question of winning peace. Whatever happens, Europe will be left weak and exhausted, and will need an army of goodwill - an army mostly composed of women. If we can begin now, to collect our army of goodwill, what could they not do to bring healing and comfort to a stricken world?"

In April 1942, British Guide Headquarters formed the Guide International Service (G.I.S.), which was to consist of teams of trained, adaptable and fully equipped Leaders, able to give service in areas where the need was greatest, when the war ended. The chairman of the project was Miss Rosa Ward who accepted the position until they found a more suitable person. When the G.I.S. disbanded 12 years later she was still the Chairman - what an amazing lady!

Teams of Guiders were trained to be ready to go out when the war was over and help in any way they could. Doctors, drivers, dieticians, nurses, linguists, secretaries and so on were needed and £100,000 for equipment – a very large sum at that time. An appeal was set up although it seemed an impossible target – but the fund finally closed in 1944 with £112,000.

The G.I.S sent 13 teams, the first left England in June 1944 with the last volunteers leaving Germany in March 1952. Rosa Ward and the 2nd Guide International Hospital Team were granted an audience by Her Majesty the Queen. Queen Elizabeth was known as The Girl Guides Royal Commissioner. The photograph shows Rosa Ward at the head of the GIS team marching through the gates of Buckingham Palace after their audience with Her Majesty the Queen.

Her wonderful service is remembered locally at Tŷ Clwyd, Girlguiding Clwyd’s County House in Llanfairtalhaiarn. On 29 April 1997, a Service of Dedication of two stained glass windows was conducted by the The Most Reverend Alwyn Rice Jones, Archbishop of Wales, to celebrate the life and work of Rosa C.Ward O.B.E. (1893-1984). The right-hand window commemorates Rosa Ward’s leadership of the Guide International Service.

The windows are in the main hall of Ty Clwyd and the rays of light stream through to inspire the next generation of Rainbows, Brownies and Guides.

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