Lady Dorothie Feilding
When Britain went to war in 1914 many people rallied to the cause, determined to join the colours or be useful in some other way. Lady Dorothie Feilding was one of the latter. ‘Lady D’ spent almost three years on the Western Front in Belgium, operating between Ypres and Nieuport on the coast. She drove ambulances for the Munro Motor Ambulance Corps, an all-volunteer unit, which also included Mrs Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, who have become two of the most well known of all the women serving in Belgium at this time. This was mainly due to the publication of their book The Cellar House of Pervyse. Dorothie’s work with the corps has been virtually unknown, a situation that she was quite happy with, even though at the beginning she was the focus of a great deal of media attention. The Daily Sketch called her their ‘Jeanne of Arc in Khaki’.
During her time in Flanders her bravery was such that she received the Belgian Order of Leopold, the French Croix de Guerre and was the first woman to be awarded the British Military Medal.
Though Dorothie was the daughter of an earl and from a privileged upbringing she had an easy attitude that transcended boundaries and that endeared her to (almost!) all that she came in to contact with whether royalty or the ordinary fighting man.
The war would have a huge and terrible impact on Dorothie’s life and that of her family and friends
Dorothie left the corps shortly before her marriage to Captain Charles Joseph Henry O’Hara Moore at Newnham Paddox on 5 July 1917.
Following her marriage she lived in Warley, Middlesex as Charles was a Captain in the 2nd battalion, Irish Guards stationed at the barracks there. Dorothie was not one to sit still for long! After brief honeymoon period, she was back behind the wheel of an ambulance, ferrying wounded around London. Once the war was over, Charles and Dorothie lived most of the year at his ancestral home, Mooresfort House in South Tipperary. They had four daughters and one son.
Dorothie became an active member of the British Legion in Tipperary as well as being President of the Tipperary Jubilee Nursing Association and the local Agricultural Show Society. Dorothie had always been a keen huntswoman and this continued in Ireland where she was a regular feature at hunt meets, especially the Scarteen Hunt. In 1935, the Irish Times stated she had been “prominently associated with the Scarteen Hunt to the success of which her great organising powers in no small degree contributed.” In no small measure, these powers had been honed during her time with the Munro Corps. Charles had a stud at Mooresfort and he and Dorothie regularly attended race meetings in Ireland and England. Dorothie died on 24 October 1935 at Mooresfort House, Tipperary at the age of 46. She was brought back home and buried on 27 October in the family plot in Monks Kirby Brockhurst Roman Catholic cemetery. Her grave is there today, lying between her father and her older brother, Rudolph.