Friday, 8 August 2014

Unsung heroines of the First World War

Next time you wash the dishes or put those dirty dishes in a dish washer, please spare a thought for the women who served as orderlies and kitchen staff during the First World War.  Many of them served in hospitals in the various theatres of the conflict.

 Do you wear rubber gloves?  I don't think they had such luxuries back then and they certainly did not have wishing up liquid or detergent to help with the greasy insalubrious task of washing the dishes.  Can anyone tell me please what would have been used to wash dishes, pots and pans back then?

Hundreds of the women who served in many capacities during WW1 died in the service of their country and are buried in cemeteries throughout the world.  I know that is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the numbers of men who died, but I do think it is a shame when people go to the cemeteries that you never hear of them leaving poppies on a woman's grave.   And the Royal British Legion's current campaign is "Every man remembered"…  Why on earth leave the women out?

Above is a photograph of one of those amazing women - Mildred Clayton-Swan of the Army Service Corps Canteens who died on 24th February 1917 and is buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Photo by Tany Birnie, who is cataloguing the women who died in service during WW1. Photo taken August 2014.  Thank you Tanya - you are doing a fantastic job.

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