ONE HUNDRED years ago, on August 28, 1918, the Honourable Violet Douglas Pennant was summarily dismissed from her post as Commandant of the Women’s Royal Air Force.

She had only been in post for 14 weeks. Instant dismissal was only used in cases of gross misconduct. But what had she done? She demanded answers.

Rumour and gossip flew. Was she a spy, or a German sympathiser, she could speak German and had had a German governess. Was her sexuality being called into question? Had she done something so terrible that it could not be discussed? Or, had she just rattled the establishment because she was about to blow the whistle on something big?

What is even more confusing is that she had asked to resign from her position some weeks before her dismissal, but it had been turned down with her bosses saying she was needed.

Violet’s puzzling story is the topic of a new book “The Rise and Fall of Violet Douglas Pennant - the life and career of the daughter of 2nd Baron Penrhyn of Penrhyn Castle,” by Susan Leona Fisher.

Violet Douglas-Pennant was the sixth child of George Douglas-Pennant, 2nd Baron Penrhyn and his first wife Pamela Blanche, who died five days after Violet’s birth.

The aristocratic family owned Penrhyn Castle, among other residences, and the Penryhn Quarry . The family had made much of its fortunes in the Welsh slate and Jamaican sugar trades.

This political biography, is written in the accessible style of historical fiction, although the puzzling incident unfolds like a detective story.

Author, Susan Leona Fisher, is a retired local government officer, who took up historical research as a retirement hobby. She came across Violet’s story and became determined to tell it.

Her book, is the outcome of almost 10 years of research, which included trawling through British Newspaper Archives, including archived articles from the North Wales Chronicle.

After she retired Susan, who hails from North Yorkshire, started studying various influential women of the late Victorian period.

She stumbled across the Violet Douglas Pennant story when she found a letter, written in apparent distress, from Violet to another woman, telling her she’d just been dismissed as Commandant of theWRAF.

Her curiosity was aroused and, nine years later the book has been released - coincidentally in the same year as the RAF’s centenary celebrations.

Although a lesser known chapter in the organisation’s history, Susan felt compelled that Violet’s story should now be told.

“I became absolutely fascinated by Violet’s story,” said Susan. It seemed to me that this woman had really been hard done by, and I was determined to try and understand why and what had happened.

“This book has taken nearly 10 years to write and research, but it was a labour of love. I am really keen for the people of Wales to read her story and especially the people in Bangor area, who have a connection to the Pennant family with the proximity of Penrhyn Castle and all its history.

“It was very interesting looking at old copies of newspaper article including archives of the North Wales Chronicle.

“It was very helpful giving details of events to help me set an authentic scene, particularly for the chapter called ‘Sisters and Bridesmaids’ describing the wedding of one of Violet’s sisters. Also the chapter on the royal visit to Penrhyn Castle detailing the programme for the visit.

“I hope people will read the book and make up their own minds about what happened to Violet."