War Widows Past and Present: The Civil War Petitions and War Widows’ Stories Projects

As we approach Remembrance Day, our blog considers the plight of all war widows, both past and present. How do the stories of our widows from the Civil Wars speak to those widowed by conflict today? Civil War Petitions was deeply honoured to join War Widows’ Stories for a discussion at a public engagement event organised by Dr Nadine Muller. Click on the video below to find out more (video will open in YouTube)…

These video clips are taken from an event held at ‘The Firing Line Museum’ of the Welsh Soldier at Cardiff Castle on 8 June 2018. The discussion was organised by Dr Nadine Muller of Liverpool John Moores University as part of her ‘War Widows’ Stories’ project.

The project, which is funded by the AHRC works with a number of bodies including The War Widows’ Association of Great Britain to capture the lives of ‘war’s forgotten women past and present’. This discussion brought together past and present the persons of Lloyd Bowen, who is Co-Investigator on the Civil War Petitions project, as well as two widows of servicemen, Mary Moreland and Moira Kane.

The discussion considered the many aspects of widowhood and the ways in which widows’ stories are often omitted or neglected in accounts of wars past and present. Part of the originality of the Civil War Petitions project is that it seeks to recover widows and their stories from such a long time ago.

Although, of course, there were marked differences in the discussion of women’s experiences separated by hundreds of years, nonetheless there were some arresting similarities. Dr Bowen talked about the experience of war widows of the Civil Wars not knowing whether their husbands had perished. One of the contributors noted that she too had experienced something of the uncertainty of the battlefield, having been informed incorrectly on two occasions that her husband had died. The discussion also found similarities across time in widows’ difficulties dealing with the state and negotiating the complex bureaucracies of pensions and entitlements.

 

 

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