|Born in Ripon in 1889, Mary Hilda Burnaby Powell was the daughter of William Polliott and Mary Albinia Powell. The family home was Sharow Hall, Ripon.
Mary married James Pennyman on 4 April 1915 when she was 25 years old. Lt Col James Pennyman was a career soldier. Before the war began he joined the Kings Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) as a lieutenant and became battalion machine gun officer. In 1914 he was stationed in Dublin, but was sent to Mons in Belgium as war was declared in August. James Pennyman was involved in fighting at Le Cateau and was shot in the chest. He barely survived and returned to England to recover. Promoted to captain, James married Mary on Easter Sunday 1915.
Her sister-in-law wrote of Mary Pennyman in March 1915:
‘She is the sweetest thing, full of head and heart-capable, quick and very feminine. Personally I love her very dearly and there is no one I would rather have as a wife for my Jimbo. She understands him so thoroughly and loves all his little jokes and at the same time appreciates the strong man in him. She is very good for his temperament being gentle and merry – always sweet tempered and full of sympathy, yet with strong likes and dislikes of her own. She is one of the most refined people I know.’
Mary Pennyman was prominently associated with the V.A.D. Hospital once war broke out and became secretary of the K.O.S.B. 2nd Battalion Widows and Orphans Fund, taking over the role for the whole regiment in 1920. In 1921 she was the only woman to serve on the K.O.S.B War Memorial Fund Council.
Mary Pennyman had several miscarriages and on 4th January 1924 both she and her child died in childbirth. She is buried at Ormesby Hall.