Cosseted Victorian daughter, aspiring actress, suffragette, wife on the home front, Kate Parry Frye had many lives – but she always kept a diary.
We first met Kate in ITV’s The Great War: The People’s Story. Through her diary, in intimate detail, Elizabeth Crawford brings Kate’s remarkable story to life.
When Kate was in her teens, it was a brave adventure just to travel unescorted on the new Tube. But it wasn’t long before she took her first steps onto the stage and experienced the romance and discomfort of life with a touring theatre company. It was there she grew close to her fellow actor John Collins.
After the failure of her father’s business, Kate gradually took over the family finances, all too aware that her Victorian education had not equipped her to earn a living.
Kate became a women’s suffrage campaigner, proudly holding banners at many ‘Votes for Women’ marches. She organised meetings around the country, and saw War Office windows smashed as the battle for the vote becomes became more fraught.
As World War One began, Kate and John were married, and Kate’s concerns turned to Zeppelin raids at home and the daily wait for the arrival of the postman, longing for a letter from ‘somewhere in France’.
After the war ended, Kate supported John through the 1920s and ’30s as he continued as an actor and stage manager. During World War Two, while John helped man the Observation post, Kate wrote morale-boosting sketches performed in their own tiny theatre by locals in their Buckinghamshire hamlet. In the 1950s, Kate cared for John in his long, last illness, while all the time maintaining her passion for the theatre and political campaigning.
Kate’s story is part of several featured in ITV’s television series The Great War: The People's Story. Taken together, they form a set of personal, moving and sometimes humorous accounts of courage, love and loyalty in one of the worst wars in modern history.
The other books are: Alan Lloyd – The Lost Generation by Isobel Charman, Reg Evans DCM – A Hero’s War in His Own Words by Pamela Armitage Campbell, and The Great War – The People's Story by Isobel Charman, which accompanies the series and includes the entire story of the war, featuring all of the characters.