Our History

In 1971, an article in a Sunday newspaper 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.

White Chrysanthemums

The symbol of the War Widows Association is the white chrysanthemum.

These flowers were chosen by the founder members to make up the traditional tribute of the war widows to their fallen loved ones. Chrysanthemums are plentiful in November, which is the month the nation comes together to remember.

Also part of the tribute is the herb rosemary, which signifies remembrance. The tribute is in the shape of a cross, reflecting the wooden cross that traditionally marks the place of a fallen soldier on the battlefield.

The first campaign

In 1972, the founder members of the War Widows Association took a petition for the abolishment of the tax to No 10 Downing St. In 1976 they succeeded in having 50% of the tax removed. The remaining 50% was removed three years later, in 1979.

Since the first campaign, the WWA has been striving to improve the lives of war widows across the UK.

Read more about our past and current campaigns here.