Remembering Alice Guy

Alice is one of seven female First World War casualties of Newport, South Wales, and one of the city’s heroines. My thanks go to Sylvia Mason who provided this article about Alice Guy and I am pleased to be able to bring her book – Every Woman Remembered: Daughters of Newport in the Great War – to your attention.

Portrait of Alice Annie Guy.
Alice Annie Guy (1879-1916) supplied by Sylvia Mason.

She was born in 1879 in a busy shopping thoroughfare, Commercial Road, which runs south through Newport to the docks area. Newport and its docks were booming at that time. She was baptised in the local Anglican Church, St Paul’s, on 11th May 1880.

Her father was a businessman, a pork butcher, and she was the eldest daughter in a family of at least ten children. The family were obviously becoming more affluent as they soon moved to better shop in the same area and then to a farm just outside the town, leaving the shop to be run by Alice’s brother Godfrey.

When she was old enough, Alice decided to become a nurse. She trained at Salop Infirmary in Shrewsbury then moved to the Chester and Mondale Fever Hospital in Manchester. The 1911 census shows she was a Sister at Bishop Auckland Fever Hospital. From there she went to be Night Superintendent at the Royal Devonshire Hospital in Buxton. When war broke out she moved to be a sister in the Norfolk War Hospital in Norwich.

On 24th June 1916, she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital League for service in Macedonia. She was assigned to the Girton & Newnham Unit. She sailed on the 20th July under the protection of the French Government. She changed ships at Malta and reached Salonica on 5th August.

She wrote home to her family on 12th August letting them know she was well and attached to a hospital in a camp on the fringe of the battle area. She had twenty-eight patients in her tent, mostly French and Serbs. Sadly, she died on 20th August of dysentery. She was buried with French military honours at Lembet Road Military Cemetery.

There was a lengthy obituary in the local paper. She is named on the family gravestone in St Mary’s Church, Malpas, Newport.

More information about Alice can be found in Every Woman Remembered: Daughters of Newport in the Great War by Sylvia Mason priced £6.99 from Amazon and other online booksellers.

Press cutting from 'The Weekly Argus' of 2nd September 1916 about the death and funeral of Sister Alice Guy. Thanks to Andrew Hemmings and the South Wales Argus for this.
Press cutting from ‘The Weekly Argus’ of 2nd September 1916 about the death and funeral of Sister Alice Guy. Thanks to Andrew Hemmings and the South Wales Argus for this.

Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal, 'The New Mosquito', a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915-1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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