May Westwell

May Westwell was the only daughter of the late Mr. W. W. Westwell and of Mrs. Westwell, 103, Lovely-lane Warrington. Before she joined the forces, she was a teacher at Evelyn Street Primary school and was part of the congregation of St.Barnabas Church, Lovely Lane Warrington. She joined the Queen Mary's Auxiliary Corps to support the War effort in April 1918. After spending some time in Belfast in an administrative post, she was transferred to the headquarters of the Irish Command in Dublin. She died tragically aged 30 on 10th October 1918 when the HMS Lenister ,the ship she was travelling on was torpedoed in the Irish sea.Miss Westwell had decided to use her short leave to travel back to Warrington to surprise her family and friends. They were all totally unaware of her being a passenger until they received the tragic news. The courage, bravely and valour of Miss Westwell during this terrifying event was noted by a surviving passenger.


"There was a Canadian Major who was amongst the rescued, and the first remark he made was that of all the things that impressed him most at the time was the behaviour of the Q.M.A.A.C. on board. Their courage was magnificent. Your daughter was the one referred to as she was the only woman officer travelling and there were few women in uniform on the boat." 

An extract from a contemporary October, 1918, edition

 of the “Warrington Examiner”


To commemorate her bravery and courage, the roles many women have played in the war effort and bravery of others during this time, we are planning to create a poppy cascade display outside St.Barnabas Church on Lovely Lane. We will be also holding a service of Remembrance on Wednesday October 10th 2018 at 10am at St.Barnabas Church, Lovely Lane, Warrington


We would like the poppies to be made from the bases of recycled plastic bottles. We are hoping by reusing bottles, we can also use the poppy cascade to highlight the current challenge our world is facing  regarding the use of plastic and plastic waste.


If you would like to create a poppy, which will form part of the commemoration display outside the church, please see the instructions below and return it to St. Barnabas Primary School, Collin Street, Warrington, WA5 1TG by Friday 28th September 2018.


National Archives Information about how the Queen Mary Royal Auxiliary was founded and organised.

Wikipedia RMS Leinster 

Wikipedia-Queen Mary Army Auxiliary Corps- Information about the Queen Mary Auxiliary force.

bbc schoolsResources and information about the Queen Mary Auxiliary Force

British society, British military - sustenance agriculture, British - arable Original documents Private Papers buildings, British - religious: cathedral operations, British military - routine society, British military - domestic buildings, British - commercial: railway station buildings, British - institutional: Buckingham Palace casualties ...
The United Kingdom's Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (February 1917– 27 September 1921), later named the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps (9 April 1918), was the women's unit of the British Army during and immediately after the First World War.

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St Barnabas CE Primary School

Collin Street, Warrington,

Cheshire WA5 1TG

01925 633606