Violet Blanche Douglas-Pennant
Violet Blanche Douglas-Pennant (1869-1945) was the sixth daughter of Lord Penrhyn.
Although a Conservative Party member of
the London County Council, she developed a reputation as someone with
liberal views on social reform. For example, Douglas-Pennant was an active
supporter of the Workers' Educational Association and in 1911 the Liberal
Government appointed her as National Health Insurance Commissioner for
Wales. Douglas-Pennant's salary of £1,000 a year made her the most highly
paid woman in Britain.
Douglas-Pennant became an important political figure during the First
World War. An organiser of the Scottish Women's Hospital Unit she helped
form the Women's Army Auxiliary Corp (WAAC) and was involved in the
recruiting campaign for the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS).
Douglas-Pennant to become commander of the Women's Royal Air Force. It was
not long before Douglas-Pennant got the impression that the Royal Air
Force was not fully committed to the WRAF . She was given no secretarial
help and had difficulty getting the use of a staff car for official
journeys. Douglas-Pennant resigned but agreed to go back after being
promised that her complaints would be dealt with.
Sir William Weir, Secretary of State for Air, asked Lady Margaret Rhondda,
Director of of Women's Department of the Ministry of National Service, to
report on the state of the WRAF. Rhondda's report was highly critical of
Douglas-Pennant, and Weir decided to dismiss her as Commandant of the WRAF
and replace her with Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, Overseas Commander of the
Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). Politicians and trade union leaders
were appalled by the treatment of Douglas-Pennant. Lord Ampthill, Mary
Macarthur and Jimmy Thomas sent a letter of complaint to the Daily
Telegraph about Weir's behaviour.
After the matter was raised in the House of Commons it was decided to set
up a House of Lords Committee Inquiry. Douglas-Pennant's case was not
helped by making false accusations against several of the witnesses.
Douglas-Pennant lost her case and was also successfully sued by two of the
libelled witnesses and had to pay substantial damages.
The report can be read in the National
The Douglas-Pennant Family
Any contributions will be
Errors and Omissions
We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas
If you spot errors, or omissions, then
please do let us know
If you have met a brick wall
with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives
Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!
You may also be able to help others answer their queries.
Douglas Archives Forum.
||We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our
What's New section on the
We also use
Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the
Douglas Clan Gathering - 30th June to 6th July 2014
|A Clan Douglas
Gathering is to be held in Scotland in the summer of 2014. If this is something that
you would be interested in being part of, then please visit our
Gathering Website and
to find out more.
There is still time to tell us what we should do at the Gathering, and
what you would like to achieve when in Scotland. Join our
and make your views known.
If you would like to be kept informed, please
sign up to receive our newsletter