About Lorna Lloyd

Photo of Lorna Lloyd

Lorna Beatrice Lloyd was born in Filton, Bristol in 1914. Her middle-class childhood afforded leisure time and resources to develop various talents. She played the piano; she wrote stories, plays and poetry; she drew and painted; she designed theatrical costumes; and she wrote, read and spoke French. Lorna’s childhood passions were books, dogs and boats, all of which she enjoyed on family holidays in Looe, Cornwall.

She left home in 1933 to read for a BA in English at Girton College, Cambridge. However, the University of Cambridge did not award degrees to women in the 1930s. At Girton College, Lorna was an active member of the Dramatic Society as a producer, designer and actor, and a member of the Debating Society.

From 1936 to 1937 Lorna’s first job was part-time English Mistress at the County High School, Stourbridge, and her second was Assistant English Mistress at the Royal School, Bath (circa 1937-39). However, her career was cut short due to illness. By the outbreak of war in 1939, the 25-year-old was ‘once again living with her parents, now in Malvern. From this base, Lorna was able to attend Gloucester Infirmary for medical treatment. It was in this period that Lorna wrote her war diary.

Unfortunately, her condition worsened from mid-1940 onwards, and she died at her parents’ house in Malvern on 2nd February 1942, just a couple of weeks after her 28th birthday. The cause of death of her death was cancer and heart failure.

Lorna’s memory has been kept alive by Theo’s descendants. One of these is Lorna’s great-great niece: actor Bethany Ray. Bethany, who turned 25 in May 2022, has played her great-great aunt in this podcast series.

The Podcast episodes

Diary of the War
episodes 1-4

These episodes cover early September 1939 to March 1940. Notable events include: the attack on, and fall of, Poland (episodes 1 and 2); preparations by Britain for more attacks by Germany (episode 3); and the First Soviet-Finnish War (episode 4).

Diary of the War
episodes 5-8

These episodes cover April 1940 to February 1942. Notable events include: the falls of Norway and Denmark (episode 5); the falls of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France (episode 6); and the Battle of Britain (episode 7).

Lorna Lloyd’s

These episodes feature Lorna Lloyd’s poetry from 1928 to the early 1940s.

The project team invites feedback on the podcast episodes. Please feel free to email the project leader, Dr Bruce Ryan of Edinburgh Napier University:

Mapping Lorna’s diary

We have mapped all the places Lorna mentioned in her diary. Click the image to go to the map.

Before becoming available as a podcast, Lorna’s diary was brought to life through Blipfoto. Click the button to see Lorna’s diary on Blipfoto.