Monday, 15 July 2013

Women who fought during WW1

The contribution of women aside from 'keeping the home fires burning' (the lyrics for which, incidentally were written by an American woman who was living in London during WW1 - Lena Gilbert Brown Ford - which means I have included her in my list of poets), is truly amazing.

There are some excellent books written in America which deal with the subject of the contibution of women in depth.  Apparently, more than 45,000 women travelled from America to help out in some way.  During the First World War, several female American journalists went to interview some of the Russian women who enlisted to fight in the Russian Army.

There is a report published on 13th January 1916 in the American newspaper "Reading Eagle" which details the exploits of one or two of the hundreds of Russian women fighters -

It seems that, unlike their Russian sisters, Italian women were not allowed to fight.  The newspaper report tells of a young school teacher called Luiga Clapppi from Florence, who purchased a uniform, obtained a rifle and enlisted in a volunteer force.  The whiteness of her hands apparently gave the game away.

Two Frenchwomen - Helene Dutrieu and Marie Marvingt - were aviators who flew reconnaissance missions for the Allies during WW1.

And of course there were those who worked as spies, as well as ambulance drivers, nurses, entertainers, etc. behind the lines but nevertheless 'in the line of fire'.

I have plenty to keep me busy trying to find all these amazing women.

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