Heritage Bulletin blog

The Heritage Bulletin Blog ran from July 2012 to January 2020, covering a huge range of subjects, from a day in the archives, to extracts from the WVS bulletins, and histories of various WVS/WRVS services.

It’s 219 articles have become a valuable resource in themselves, why not search them or just browse to discover something new.

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Remembering Dame Mary Soames

It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Dame Mary Soames at the weekend, last surviving daughter of Winston Churchill, she was 91.

It is widely known that Mary was a member of the ATS during the World War Two, but what many won’t know is that she started her wartime volunteering as a member of the WVS, before she resigned to join the more glamorous ATS.

She was a volunteer at Stoke Mandeville hospital, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, where she helped run the library. The hospital is only a short distance from the Prime Minister’s country residence at Chequers.

How do we know this? Because about five years ago a parcel of documents arrived in the archive which had been found in the loft of an old volunteer. They were what remained of the papers of the Aylesbury centre. In amongst these was the below letter of resignation from Mary Churchill, from her post at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Dame Mary would returned to WRVS in 1988 to give the address at the 50th anniversary service in Westminster Abbey.


Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Monday, 02 June 2014.

Labels: WVS, Hospital, library, Stoke Mandeville, WWII