Amelia Alice Savory
Caroline Ellis’s Grandmother
My grandmother, Amelia Alice Savory, was a forceful personality, not well suited to a quiet life of domestic activity. When my grandfather enlisted in 1915, giving up his job as an engineer in Suffolk, she was determined to contribute to the war effort in her own right.
At the outbreak of war in 1914, Alice was 35 years old with two small boys aged 8 and 3. Her family lived miles away in Oxfordshire. Nonetheless an opportunity to contribute came in February 1915, training with the Red Cross to administer first aid to the injured and she enrolled in a Voluntary Aid Detachment. (See more on the VADs here.) I’m not sure that she ever worked as a nurse.However, when in 1917 the government called upon women to take the place of male agricultural workers my grandmother decided to get fully involved.
She must have contacted the Women’s Defence Relief Corps in London in order to offer her services and been accepted despite having two young children. Presumably family took care of them while she carted her double bed mattress off to rural Worcestershire for her wartime adventure.
She was extremely proud of herself for joining the Land Army and kept numerous photos which she loved showing to her grandchildren. (See more on the Womens’s Land army here.)The women appear to be planting potatoes in a couple of photos and having lunch in a wheat field in another. One photo shows a lady, said to be an artist, in a field of hops with children in the background. The weather changes from late summer to winter.
In 1918 my grandfather returned from France, infected with tuberculosis and my father belatedly started school, aged 7. The family moved to Oxford, where my grandmother helped family finances by taking student lodgers. Although my grandfather’s health recovered sufficiently for him to return to work as a motor mechanic, the family never regained their pre-war prosperity.
|The original exhibition display: Amelia Alice Savory|