July 14th Mabel Lethbridge OBE (Death)


Somerset – born Mabel Lethbridge (1900 – 1968) is the youngest person to be appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) which she received for services in the First World War when she was severely injured whilst working in a munitions factory.

On October 23rd, 1917 some munitions exploded killing several colleagues and blowing her left leg off.  

Despite being appointed OBE Lethbridge was denied a disability pension because she had lied about her age to engage in war service. 

This led her to a number of years of poverty where she worked as a housemaid, and also sold matches on the street whilst, on Armistice Day, she hired a barrel organ to entertain the crowds.   Later, in 1923, she started hiring out chairs and stools outside London theatres and cinemas for the waiting patrons, earning her the sobriquet ‘Peggy the Chair Lady’.  

In 1939, she volunteered for the Ambulance Service throughout the Blitz and with the end of the war, she moved to St. Ives with her daughter, Suzanne.  Now, after an inheritance, a wealthy woman she paid the rent of the cottage occupied by Sven Berlin (September 11th) and befriended Bryan Wynter (September 8th) who married Suzanne (1949).  She became famous for her four volumes of autobiography and was a subject of ‘This Is Your Life’ in 1962 where one guest was Megan Lloyd George.




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