On this page you can find the life stories of war widows and their children in the form of oral history interviews. The interviews recorded as part of this project attempt to capture women’s lives and identities beyond their widowhood, meaning stories often span their childhood and youth as well as their lives today.
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All content published in this volume, including interview transcripts, their online versions, and corresponding audio files and accompanying images, are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives Licence. This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as the work in question is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to War Widows’ Stories. If you wish to use this work in ways not covered under this licence, you must request permission.
Rita shares her life, career, volunteering, and how she coped after her husband, Henry, passed away as a result of the injuries he sustained from serving in the Parachute Regiment in the Second World War.
Bernice speaks about her life and about losing her first husband, Harry Golding, while being pregnant with their second son. Harry was killed in action in Italy in 1944 while serving in the British Army.
Jeannie talks about growing up in post-war London as the daughter of a war widow. Her father, an RAF pilot, died in action during the Second World War, leaving behind her mother Betty and two baby daughters.
Christina talks about growing up as the daughter of a war widow – Christiane Kirton – and without ever having known her father, John, who was killed in action aboard a submarine during the Second World War.
Kathleen Cockroft shares her life story, including the loss of her husband Roy during the Korean War. She was eight months pregnant with their child when he was killed. Kathleen describes growing up in the Huddersfield area of West Yorkshire during the inter-war years. She recalls meeting her husband, courting, and their frugal wedding in … Continue reading An Interview with Kathleen Cockroft
Joan talks about facing war widowhood in post-war London after her husband, Dougie, passed away as a result of his service during the Second World War, leaving behind her and his son, David.
Sylvia talks about her life during the Second World War, her marriage to veteran William Plowman, who served in Korea and died in 1992 as a result of the injuries he sustained during the war.
Maggie talks about her father’s life as the son of a war widow. Maggie’s grandfather, Lance Corporal Matthew Evans, died in the First World War, leaving behind his wife, Annie, who was pregnant with their fourth son.
Elaine shares the story of her childhood in Kent, her engagement to her fiance Marc, who was killed in a helicopter collision in the North Arabian Gulf in 2003, and her life today as a successful business woman.
Denise talks about her childhood in Ireland and England, and how her mother coped with war widowhood after Denise’s father was killed in the Second World War just before his thirtieth birthday.
Brenda talks about her own life and war widowhood as well as that of her mother. Brenda’s husband, Terry, served in the RAF, and she reflects on how she coped after he was killed in a helicopter accident.
Wendy talks about her life with her husband, Tony, who served in the British Army and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for over two decades. Tony died by suicide in 2015.
Christiane talks about her childhood in South Shields, the conditions she faced when starting work in service at the age of fourteen, and how she met her husband, who later died in the Second World War.
Ruth talks about her mother, Joyce Mary Maxwell, a founding member of the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain. Ruth’s father died in 1950 after having served in the British Army during the Second World War.
Mary is from Bangor in Northern Ireland, and the current Chair of the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain. Her husband served in the Ulster Defence Regiment during the Troubles and was killed in 1988.
Anne talks about her childhood and the life and war widowhood of her mother, Patricia Starr Vicary. Anne’s father was killed during at the Battle of Arnhem during the Second World War.