Kingston upon Hull War Memorial 1914 - 1918

The story of Hull in World War One

Widows and Children

During the First World War, one in six families throughout the United Kingdom, suffered a direct bereavement. 192,000 wives lost their husbands, and nearly 400,000 children had lost their fathers. A further 500,000 children had lost one of more of their siblings. Appallingly, one in eight wives died within a year of receiving news of their husband's death. 
Women who lost their husbands in the First World War were granted the first State-funded, non-contributory pension (meaning that they did not have to pay a contribution towards it). They also received a dependents’ allowance for any children under 16. Charities such as The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association and The British Legion provided some families with additional support.
Not all women were granted the pension. A woman who married an ex-soldier after he had been discharged from the army would not get a pension if he later died from war wounds. Some women had their pensions withdrawn by the Local Pensions Office if they were judged to be behaving in the wrong way, for instance if they were accused of drunkenness, neglecting their children, living out of wedlock with another man or had an illegitimate child. Thousands of women wrote to the authorities to appeal for a pension.
There was fear that if the pension was too generous, then it would mean that women would be discouraged from supporting themselves. ‘Eighteen shillings a week and no husband were heaven to women who, once industrious and poor were now wealthy and idle’ one man wrote to the Daily Express, complaining of the pension.


Maud Arrand married Richard Newmarch, in June 1917 and lived at 27 Courtney Street. Pte, Richard Newmarch, 12th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was killed six months later on the 23rd October 1917, aged 27.


George William Eddom, Skipper, of the Steam Trawler, 'Windward Ho' sank with his ship on the 9th May 1917. His left his widow Eleanor Leigh and eight children, at 9 Penlee House Eton Street. The youngest of his children was only 3 days old. His story ane in the Hull Daily Mail in the 15/05/1917.


Laura Ann Davis married George Stephenson, in 1917. They livedat 5 Raikes Street. Pte, George Tom Stephenson, 1/4th EYR, was killed in France on the 27th May 918, aged 21.



Alice Maud Brown married on the 31st January 1916 at St Mathews Church, Anlaby Road. Her husband Pte, Stephen Johnson was killed on the 10th September 1916, serving with the East Yorkshires. His name is remembered by her on the memorial inside the church.


Fanny Weymss of 78 English Street, lost her husband and two sons within 18 months. Her son George was killed serving with the East Yorkshire Regiment on the 4th August 1916. Her second son Leonard Wemyss was killed with the Yorkshire Regiment on the 9th April 1917. To compound her misery, her husband William was lost at sea on the ‘Nimrod’, 18th December 1917. They are all commemorated on the Walker Street memorial.