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Colorizing Remarkable Women - Mary O'Connell Bianconi, Irish Beauty and Ambulance Driver in WW1

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Mary O'Connell Bianconi
Mary O'Connell Bianconi - Colorization by Claudia D'Souza, the Photo Alchemist

Mary O'Connell Bianconi was born in County Clare, Ireland in 1896 to Arabella O'Connell Bianconi and John Coppinger O'Connell Bianconi. Mary had 3 sisters: Helen O'Connell Bianconi, born 14th November 1895; Oona O'Connell Bianconi, born 3rd September 1898 and Mabel born c1899

Mary, known as Molly, went to France in August 1917 as a member of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), where she worked as a Driver in the St Omer Ambulance Convoy. After an air raid in July 1918, Molly and six other FANY drivers drove their ambulances to pick up and help the wounded.

It was reported that 'she worked for long hours under fire in the brave attempt to save the lives of those who were being buried in caves, dugouts and hospitals which had been hit.' Molly was given the Military Medal for her bravery and hard work.

She survived the war and married Arthur Stanley Watson in December 1919

In 1939 with the outbrake of WW2 she enlisted as Member of the British Army, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry

She died in Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom in 1968.


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