It’s only a week until the first of our new in-conversation events takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Cardiff Castle and amidst the fascinating collections of the Firing Line Museum of the Welsh Soldier. The events are intended to raise awareness of the lives of war’s forgotten women past and present. For war widows, remembrance is not confined to a week in November. Few people know about the psychological, financial, practical, and social challenges these women face after the loss of their spouses, and we want to make sure that war widows are no longer war’s forgotten women.
To help us explore the history of war widowhood in the UK at this first event, War Widows’ Stories project leader Dr Nadine Muller (Liverpool John Moores University) will be joined by Mrs Mary Moreland, Chair of the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain (WWA), and Dr Lloyd Bowen, Reader in Early Modern History at Cardiff University.
Mary Moreland, from Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, represents the membership of the War Widows’ Association, a political pressure group that campaigns to improve the lives of war widows and their families. Her husband, John, served in the Ulster Defence Regiment in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and was killed in 1988. Mary has a wealth of personal as well as professional insight into the lives of war widows and the ways in which they are affected by welfare and pensions legislation. You can listen to and read Mary’s own story here.
Moira Clark Kane was born in Aberdeen but raised and schooled in Edinburgh. Moira met her husband when she was a teacher with the Armed Forces in West Germany in the 1970s, and she subsequently accompanied him on postings at NATO, in London, America, Ghana, and Zimbabwe, to name a but a few. They had been married for 32 years when he died as Zimbabwe’s Defence Attache, and Moira lost her husband as well as her job, home, friends, planned future, and way of life. Moira now lives in Edinburgh and is the Secretary of the War Widows’ Association, which she joined to help and support other war widows.
Lloyd Bowen is one of the researchers working on the Civil War Petitions project, which investigates conflict, welfare, and memory during and after the English Civil Wars (1642-1710). The project reveals the human cost of the Civil Wars by looking at documents that record how wounded soldiers, war widows, and other bereaved family members petitioned for financial relief. These sources give us an invaluable insight into the struggles and experiences of war widows in the seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. You can find out more about Lloyd and his research here.
As part of the War Widows’ Stories project, Nadine Muller has interviewed and worked with war widows for several years and currently researches the history of war widowhood in Britain from the nineteenth century to the present day. As a BBC / AHRC New Generation Thinker, she has made radio programmes and a short film on the history of widowhood for BBC Radio 3 and BBC Arts Online.
We would be delighted if you were able to join us for this event and share it with your friends, family, colleagues, students, and anyone you think might be interested. Refreshments will be provided, and you can book your free place directly or via Facebook. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
If you can’t make it to our event in Cardiff, you can join us at Fort George, in Portsmouth, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, or in Manchester at a later date. Find out about all of our events here.
The events are funded by a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award.