An article in a Sunday newspaper in 1971 highlighted the plight of Britain’s “forgotten women”. Laura Connelly, who returned to live in this country from Australia, where the War Widows’ Pension is tax free, refused to pay tax and found herself in dispute with the Inland Revenue. The fourteen ladies who supported her stand formed the Association under the first chairman, Jill Gee.
The Association was formed in 1971 and today has more than 4,000 members. Its original aim was to fight for the removal of the tax burden from the War Widows’ Pension. Partial success was achieved in 1976 with the removal of half the tax and the remainder went in 1979. The Association became a registered charity in 1991.
The founders of the War Widows’ Association decided that they wished to lay a tribute made of flowers to their fallen loved ones.
They chose white Chrysanthemums, as they were plentiful in November and the herb Rosemary is included as it signifies remembrance.
The shape of the cross was chosen as it reflected the wooden cross which traditionally marked the place where a soldier had fallen on the battlefield.