This is the second in a series of posts to celebrate Women’s History Month. We will be featuring amazing, local women who lived locally 100 years ago, campaigning for women’s suffrage and supporting the war effort.
#2 Eleanora Pemberton (1885-1994)
Born in Kensington, Eleanora Pemberton moved to Cokes Lane, Chalfont St Giles, with her family in 1909. She had been well-educated at boarding school, St Felix, in Suffolk before spending a happy year at finishing school in Paris.
In 1912 Eleanora and some of her friends joined the British Red Cross. They enrolled in a Voluntary Aid Detachment in Paddington, one of the first to be established. The Red Cross provided classes in first aid and home nursing.
When war broke out Eleanora was keen on taking part. She was included in the first VAD unit to travel to France in October 1914. During the war Eleanor spent time working in rest stations and hospitals in Boulogne, Gournay, Etaples and Abbeville. In Abbeville she was Commandant in charge and had four men and four women working for her. It was for her work in Abbeville that she later received an OBE.
After three years working in France Miss Pemberton returned home and worked with the Paddington Unit, giving lectures and training new recruits.
“Pemby”, as she was known locally in later life, moved to Highfield Close, Amersham, in 1939 after the death of both her parents. She was involved with many charities, and a member of the Chiltern Club of Arts from 1929 becoming President in 1982. She died in September 1994 at the great age of 109.
Amersham’s Women at War project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.