Irish Servicewomen in the Great War (Hardback)
From Western Front to the Roaring Twenties
When the call went out in 1917 for volunteers willing to serve both at home and on the Western Front in a newly founded Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, young women from every province of Ireland responded just as eagerly as those from homes in Scotland, England and Wales.
Drawn from every class, creed, family background and ability, the girls who came forward to join the WAAC from Ireland had often suffered equal heartbreak over the loss of husbands, brothers and friends killed or wounded in France. Yet, their willingness to help bring about an end to the slaughter was a narrative that became ignored in popularised versions of that politically volatile era and it is hoped that this study will now go some way to restore a rightful recognition of their army service days within the historiography of twentieth-century Irishwomen.
Their work as office workers, cooks and caterers, motor transport drivers, cryptanalysis and hi-tech telecommunication personnel are examined. Close investigation is made of the Irishwomen seconded to the Royal Engineers from branches of the General Post Office in Ireland and elsewhere. Attached to Signal units, they became key players in ensuring the Western Front’s crucial, high-security army Lines of Communication remained viable.
The story of these Irish servicewomen in the Great War winds up within the interwar period that followed. Had often dangerous war experiences affected these women’s postwar life-changing decisions and aspirations? Compare/contrast experiences in the postwar era are cited. There were new careers, migration, home and family life. How many had foreseen that twenty years hence, Irish women ‘veterans’ of the Great War would once more rally at a time of fresh crisis?
Just when you though that there could not possibly be another book on an aspect of the Great War that had not already been covered, along comes 'Irish servicewomen in the Great War'. And what a great read it is.Paul Nixon
The role of women in the Great War has always, inevitably, been overshadowed by the role of the men, and yet women played an important part. Just as Ireland send many men to fight with British Army regiments, so too did the women in Ireland also volunteer to serve, and this scholarly account examines their contribution to the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps from 1917.
The research for this book must have taken a long while, and there may have been - I am guessing here - a temptation to try and get this published whilst the First World War anniversaries were still happening. If that was the case, I am glad the author waited. Each chapter is accompanied by notes and the research resources have been well documented and cited. Appendices present additional useful material about specific individuals and locations and there are also some great photos.
This book owns a well-deserved place amongst the other regimental and unit histories that Pen & Sword publish so well.
Read the full review here
Listed in the ‘First Flush’ featureBooks Ireland, April 2020
As the title suggests this is a nonfiction glance at Irishwomen and their involvement during World War I and into the 1920s. It's well researched and is accompanied by archival images and actual quotations from many people of the time period.NetGalley, Erin Ross
A wonderful book full of intrigue and sadness of what took place, this is an ideal book to catch up on what actually took place can highly recommend this book.NetGalley, Jeanie Mckinlay