Grandmother’s role in WW1 is brought to life

WI president Beverly Lawrence with guest speaker Wendy Taylor (in the WAAC uniform).
WI president Beverly Lawrence with guest speaker Wendy Taylor (in the WAAC uniform).

With the D-Day commemorations fresh in our minds, Pocklington Wolds Women’s Institute welcomed Wendy Taylor as its guest speaker at the June meeting.

Wendy shares her home in Wilberfoss with husband Trevor, and together they gave a very interesting insight into the past of her grandmother Thomin Driffield during WW1.

Thomin, a young girl in service as a scullery maid in Georgian Britain, found freedom when, at the outbreak of war, she was recruited to what would formally become Queen Mary’s Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp (WAAC) in 1917.

She was one of many young women that helped the War effort by working in industry; munitions; food production; nursing and other men’s traditional occupations both at home and in France.

The Women’s Institute was also founded during WW1, in 1915, and these such organisations have gone on to support women across the generations, from helping them gain the vote for all women in 1926, to changing UK Laws as well as being influential in the equality of women’s rights.

Wendy, a retired primary school teacher, now gives talks and runs workshops on the history and roles of women in both Wars. She has many interests and was involved in research for the Hull City of Culture in 2017.

Wearing the uniform of the WAAC, including a pair of size 3 shoes belonging to her grandmother, she captivated her audience with a potted history, photographs and memorabilia. Afterwards she talked to many of the WI members over a cup of tea and cake.