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Cheshire [née Lloyd], Dame Mary Kathleen (1902–1972), director of the Women's Royal Naval Service, was born on 31 May 1902 at 15 Sussex Gardens, Eastbourne, Sussex, the daughter of Aloysius Joseph Lloyd, a draper, and his wife, Annie, formerly Grant. She was educated at the Ursuline convent, ...

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Crowdy, Edith Frances (1880–1947), travel agent and member of the Women's Royal Naval Service, was born on 25 August 1880 at 79 Victoria Road, Wandsworth, London, one of the four daughters of James Crowdy, solicitor, and his wife, Mary Isabel Anne Fuidge. Educated at home, in 1912 she joined her younger sister ...

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Dakyns [née Pattinson], Winifred (1875–1960), naval officer, was born on 16 September 1875 at Bensham Lodge, Gateshead, co. Durham, the youngest daughter of John Pattinson, analytical chemist, and his wife, Mary Jane, née Swan. She was educated at Gateshead high school and ...

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Drummond, Dame (Edith) Margaret (1917–1987), director of the Women's Royal Naval Service, was born on 4 September 1917 at 101 Dundonald Road, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, one of at least two daughters of Robert James Drummond, professor at the dairy school of the West of Scotland Agricultural College...

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Dame (Edith) Margaret Drummond (1917–1987) by Walter Bird, 1965 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Goodenough, Ethel Mary [Angela] (1900–1946), naval officer, was born on 12 January 1900 in India and baptized on 14 February at Simla, in the Siwalik hills of northern India, the daughter of Captain Herbert Lane Goodenough (d. before 1946) of the Indian army and his wife, ...

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Mathews, Dame Elvira Sibyl Maria [Vera] Laughton (1888–1959), director of the Women's Royal Naval Service, was born at 130 Sinclair Road, Hammersmith, Middlesex, on 25 September 1888, the daughter of Sir John Knox Laughton (1830–1915), naval instructor, and his second wife, Maria Josepha di Alberti (...

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Dame Elvira Sibyl Maria Laughton Mathews (1888–1959) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

McBride, (Sara) Vonla Adair (1921–2003), naval officer, was born on 20 January 1921 at Ballygarvey, co. Antrim, the elder daughter of Andrew Stewart McBride, farmer and miller, and his wife, Agnes, née Martin. She was educated at Ballymena Academy and Trinity College, Dublin...

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Snell, Hannah [alias James Gray] (1723–1792), sexual impostor, was born on 23 April 1723 in Friar Street, St Helen's, Worcester, the eighth of nine children of Samuel Snell, a hosier, and his wife, Mary Williams. Robert Walker's biography of Snell's life, first published in 1750, provides a clue to what might have shaped ...

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Hannah Snell (1723–1792) by John Faber junior, 1750 (after Richard Phelps) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Spencer, Anne Christine (1938–2012), naval officer, was born on 15 December 1938 at 395 Milnthorpe Lane, Sandal, Wakefield, Yorkshire, the younger child and only daughter of Ernest Spencer, bank manager in the mill town of Clayton, and his wife, Dora Harrie, née Hauxwell (1899–1985)...

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Anne Christine Spencer (1938–2012) by unknown photographer, c.1980s Open Government Licence v3.0; image courtesy of The Times / NI Syndication

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Talbot, Mary Anne [alias John Taylor] (1778–1808), sailor and soldier, was born on 2 February 1778 at 62 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, the youngest of her mother's sixteen children. Mary Anne was purportedly the illegitimate daughter of William Talbot, the first earl of Talbot...

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Mary Anne Talbot [John Taylor] (1778–1808) by G. Scott, pubd 1804 (after James Green) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Woollcombe, Dame Jocelyn May (1898–1986), director of the Women's Royal Naval Service, was born on 9 May 1898 at 6 Yarborough Road, Southsea, Hampshire, the daughter of Lieutenant (later Admiral) Maurice Woollcombe (1868–1930) and his wife, Ella Margaret, daughter of Colonel Roberts. Educated at ...

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Dame Jocelyn May Woollcombe (1898–1986) by Vandyk, 1950 © National Portrait Gallery, London