Thursday, 9 October 2014


Among the officers on board the Royal George were a surprising number of women accompanying their husbands, the most notable of which were Marguerite Gault and Lady Evelyn Farqhuar. 

Agar Adamson made reference to the situation in a letter to Mabel whom he envisioned safe at home tending to her duties and their son. In spite of his apparent disapproval he clearly enjoyed the women's company on the journey to England. 

"While there is no doubt women are a mistake on a troopship, (Mrs. Gault) has been very nice generally, she has just missed being quite pretty, sings a bit, is very much in love with her husband, wears a new dress every night for dinner. Some of them very pretty. Gault is an excellent chap, very quiet and hates to be connected financially with the Regiment and is struggling hard to become a soldier."

Marguerite Stephens Gault c. 1915

Mrs. McKinery is interesting in so far that she is a DeWet and Dutch, full of South African money obtained from mines and feathers, but with a very limited range of conversation. Lady Evelyn full of ability, upper gum and sea sickness, she has the red sister to your blue velvet coat with belt bought from Lady Evelyn Ward. She is reported to be very mean, this I know nothing of, and so far have found her most interesting. She is writing a letter to each man’s wife or mother and trying to make them all different, which is quite a difficult job. Mrs. Colquhoun, nee MacKenzie, cousin of Sir W. MacKenzie and a bride of a month, is full of views for the betterment of mankind and future generation, most of them unworkable in Men’s hands."

Lady Evelyn Farquhar 
painted by Sir John Lavery, 1907

Although it seems very unusual by today's standards, every army wife who could afford it joined their husband's on their journey overseas, many, like Marguerite, intending to work with the Red Cross. By 1917, according to the Canadian Annual Review, "about thirty thousand Canadian wives and sweethearts, accompanied by a good many others whose standing was more questionable, had drifted to England mainly for social reasons". Much to Agar's surprise, Mabel would soon follow, but with far more serious aspirations in mind.