The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France, 1917 – 1921 (Hardback)
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In March 1917, the first women to be enrolled into the British Army joined the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). The women substituted men in roles that the Army considered suitable, thereby freeing men to move up the line. The WAACs served, for example, as cooks, drivers, signallers, clerks, as well as gardeners in the military cemeteries. Due to their exemplary service, Queen Mary gave her name to the Corps in April 1918 and it became Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC). By the time the Corps was disbanded in 1921, approximately 57,000 women had served both at home and in France.
This book details the establishment of the Corps and subsequently explores the experience of the WAACs who served in France. It follows the women from enrolment to the camps and workplaces overseas, through to their experiences of the Spring Offensive of 1918, the Armistice and demobilisation. The final chapter reviews how the women have been remembered in art, literature, museums and memorials. Throughout the book, the author locates the women in a society at war and examines how they were viewed by the Army, the general public and the press.
The author draws on a wide range of sources to provide the background and uses the oral and written testimonies of the women themselves to tell their stories. This book will be of interest to social, women’s and military historians, as well as family history researchers.
This really should be a book which is appreciated by social historians with an interest in this period. Indeed I would suggest that this should be of interest to many who simply have an interest in the broader subject matter, war or social history generally. While this is the story of the WAAC in France and covers just four years it is an important story in a wider context. It seems likely that many sociologists as well as historians would consider the changed role of women in the First World War was an integral part of the changes in society in the 20th century generally. In this sense this important book combines a diligent academic approach with ease of reading - not all that common.NetGalley review, reviewed by Nigel Rossiter
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This is a useful textbook for research purposes.NetGalley, reviewed by Lisa Sanderson
As featured inWriting magazine, March 2017
A great deal of research obviously went into the writing of this history of the W.A.A.C's of England in WWI. And it is an awe-inspiring tale - these young women willingly placed themselves in a position never before tackled by women, and faced not just the very real perils of war in the front lines but the censure of a society that expected it's 'girls' to stay at home and follow the rules, rules set in stone these many generations.NetGalley, reviewed by Bonnye Reed Fry
I found myself appalled at the rumors and rustling whispered attempts to discredit these ladies, and indignant for the lack of understanding from the home front of the sacrifices they were willing to make to help win the war. Proud of the families who stood behind their girls, and very pleased at the adventures they managed to work into their very frantic 48 to 60 or more hour week's work schedules.
And I was inspired by their loyalty to country, and truly grieved by their casualties. This is a primer for all women everywhere - what it takes to actually be bravely committed to our country and our history. To be able to smile in the face of adversity and find good in the day, no matter how hard it is. And how difficult it is for family to let go of expectations in a time of trial. Many of the freedoms and privileges we woman take for granted today came about through the bravery of these mostly very young women.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I loved this history about a part of World War I that has very little information on it. The women who went to the front lines of the war, so men in certain jobs could be put on the line if they were fit. They had many issues to overcome in doing their job, not just from the men who were happy to serve their country but be out of the line of fire. It's a great history to read, especially for the centennial of the WAAC's being founded.NetGalley, reviewed by Diana Thomas
The author has provided a unique glimpse into the world of women at war. The Great War needed women to be mobilised in large numbers to make up for the loss of men, creating a revolution in society.Firetrench
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Visiting the Fallen - Arras South (Hardback)
Like Ypres, Arras was a front line town throughout the Great War. From March 1916 it became home to the British Army and it remained so until the Advance to Victory was well under way. In 1917 the Battle of Arras came and went. It occupied barely half a season, but was then largely forgotten; the periods before and after it have been virtually ignored, and yet the Arras sector was always important and holding it was never easy or without incident; death, of course, was never far away. The area around Arras is as rich in Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries as anywhere else on the Western…By Peter Hughes
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