Author Topic: Dorothy Lawrence: 1888 - 1964  (Read 291 times)

Offline will2102

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Dorothy Lawrence: 1888 - 1964
« on: Wednesday 13 September 17 23:41 BST (UK) »
Hello

I am researching the life of Dorothy Lawrence, I want to write a film about her. She was a freelance journalist who ventured to the front lines during WW1 disguised as a soldier and spent ten days in the trenches with the 179 Tunnelling Company, 51st Division, Royal Engineers before succumbing to illness.

She was forced by the war office to not disclose any details of her adventures while the war continued. After which she released her book Sapper Dorothy Lawrence: The Only English Woman Soldier.

I am struggling to find information on her life, especially before and after the war. There are a lot of conflicting stories.

I believe she was adopted in 1901 by Josephine Fitzgerald of 31 The Close, Salisbury, who died in 1926.

In 1925 Dorothy accused her guardian - a prominent Church of England figure - of raping her during her youth. Soon after she was sent to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum where she remained until her death in 1964.

Any information on Dorothy's life, or that of Josephine Fitzgerald, would be hugely appreciated.

Cheers

Will

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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Dorothy Lawrence: 1896 - 1964
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 23:49 BST (UK) »
Welcome to Rootschat

Was Dorothy Illegitimate - you don't say where  she was born

Have you found Dorothy or Josephine on the 1901 and 1911 census?

Josephine left a will - is Dorothy mentioned in it?

https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Dorothy Lawrence: 1896 - 1964
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 23:55 BST (UK) »
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline keyboard86

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Re: Dorothy Lawrence: 1896 - 1964
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 14 September 17 00:06 BST (UK) »
Hi the death of Dorothy indicates she was born c 1888, in 1911 I can see a Dorothy Lawrence 23 occ Journalist b Shepherds Bush?

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Offline wrjones

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Re: Dorothy Lawrence: 1896 - 1964
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 14 September 17 00:07 BST (UK) »
Josephine Fitzgerald is given as a Widow living in Wiltshire with her sister Helen Neville.Both are given as born in Croydon Surrey.

Regards
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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Dorothy Lawrence: 1896 - 1964
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 14 September 17 00:10 BST (UK) »
Using the various censuses you should be able to trace Josephine's ancestry.  However - if Dorothy was born in 1888 there is no indication of her presence in Josephine's household in 1891/1901
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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Dorothy Lawrence: 1896 - 1964
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 14 September 17 00:17 BST (UK) »
What name did she enlist under?  Have you researched for any WW1 records/medals etc?

If you intend writing a film about her - none of the info given re her birth/adoption etc  appears to be supported in available documentation

Did you not check her death registration for her age at that time?

Have you checked whether her allegations of rape were published in any newspapers?
 

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Offline Annette7

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Re: Dorothy Lawrence: 1896 - 1964
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 14 September 17 00:30 BST (UK) »
If the details of her parents are correct on Wikipedia - Thomas Hartshorn Lawrence and Mary Jane Biddell she was with her family in both 1901 and following census.   She was not born in Hendon but in Polesworth, Warwickshire.

Only 1 Josephine Fitzgerald in Wiltshire and at no time is there a Dorothy Lawrence with her.

The only Dorothy Lawrence death in Hendon (said to have died there 4/10/1964) was registered in Sept.qtr.Hendon so death date can't be right plus this Dorothy is said to have been born ca.1888!!

On 1939 Register also shown as born 1888!

She seems to have 'said' quite a lot but I can't see anything online to substantiate her claims.

Annette
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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Dorothy Lawrence: 1896 - 1964
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 14 September 17 00:35 BST (UK) »
Is she in an asylum in 1939?  If not - then the info given re her committal in the 1920's and her remaining there until her death are also incorrect
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