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We Also Served (ePub)

The Forgotten Women of the First World War

P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Social History WWI > By Year > 1914 WWI > By Year > 1915 WWI > By Year > 1916 WWI > By Year > 1917 WWI > By Year > 1918 Women of History

By Dr Vivien Newman
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 9.5 MB (.epub)
Pages: 191
Illustrations: 30 black and white Illustrations
ISBN: 9781473845275
Published: 19th November 2014


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Author Interview

Click here to listen to author Vivien Newman talk to Paul Hawkins of Essex Radio about We Also Served

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We Also Served is a social history of women's involvement in the First World War. Dr Vivien Newman disturbs myths and preconceptions surrounding women's war work and seeks to inform contemporary readers of countless acts of derring-do, determination, and quiet heroism by British women, that went on behind the scenes from 1914-1918.

In August 1914 a mere 640 women had a clearly defined wartime role. Ignoring early War Office advice to 'go home and sit still', by 1918 hundreds of thousands of women from all corners of the world had lent their individual wills and collective strength to the Allied cause.

As well as becoming nurses, munitions workers, and members of the Land Army, women were also ambulance drivers and surgeons; they served with the Armed Forces; funded and managed their own hospitals within sight and sound of the guns. At least one British woman bore arms, and over a thousand women lost their lives as a direct result of their involvement with the war.

This book lets these all but forgotten women speak directly to us of their war, their lives, and their stories.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a fantastic social history book that explores the role that women played during World War 1. It is insightful, captivating and interesting. A great read for anyone interested in history and/or women's studies.

NetGalley, Naomi Clarke

"An interesting read."

Cross and Cockade

As featured in

Let's Talk May/June 2021

"A well-researched and thoughtfully written narrative."

The Essex Family Historian - Journal of The Essex Society for Family History - August 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book! It gives such an insight to those women who work and served for their country when times were so very difficult and tough. They had stamina and courage and got the job done!

NetGalley, Annemarie Doust

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the roles that women took up during the war. It's an interesting and enjoyable read.

NetGalley, Robyn Burns

Article: Could Edith Cavell's life have been spared?

As featured by

Eastern Daily Press, March 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I've read quite a lot of books about WW1 but still found plenty of new information here, particularly regarding the many munitions accidents and the attitudes towards the land girls. The brave and stoical behaviour of women of all classes during the war went further towards women getting the vote than the antics of the earlier suffragettes did, as is so clear from this book. It's well written and researched.

NetGalley, Katrina Stephen

A well-researched and well written narrative of the women such as doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers of vehicles, trains, ambulances, munitions workers and Land Girls, Wrens and Women's RAF personnel, who all contributed to the success of the Allies from 1914 to 1918.

Western Front Assoc. Essex Branch Newsletter, March 2021

Author interview for International Women's Day as featured by

BBC Radio Suffolk with presenter Lesley Dolphin, 8/3/21

This is a book about women and their involvement in the war. I loved that Newman looked at all women, including the wealthy, and did not focus on the working class, as it can be the case with other books. Her vivid description of Queen Mary’s knitting campaign, which brought so much relief to both the women doing the knitting and the men on the front, receiving something made with love from home. It was so heart-warming to read about that. Also, she made some fascinating points on the Land Army and the use of tractors. There are stories of women recounted throughout the book, which makes the narrative more real.

I feel that I learned a few things from the book, I definitely got to see a new perspective on others, and I enjoyed a lovely book. I highly recommend it.


Read the full review here

Coffee and Books

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the roles of women in warfare or if you're at all interested in World War I at all. It's a very interesting read and worth picking up if you're at all curious about the subject.

NetGalley, Jessica Dill

Fascinating. Now I want to look up her sources and investigate the online resources. I know so little about WWI, even as it affected the US; even though it was the period of my grandparents' young adulthood, and my grandfather served. Vivien Newman now has me hooked.

NetGalley, Carol Turner

We Also Served: The Forgotten Women of the First World War by Vivien Newman is a history book I jumped at the chance to have the opportunity to read. I've always been interested in reading about women during wartime, but I usually tend to focus on World War II rather than earlier. Having the opportunity to learn a little more about their efforts during World War I was just as fascinating. I learned quite a bit about British, Canadian, Australian, and American women during the Great War from factory workers, farmers, nurses, to spies and beyond.

NetGalley, Lauren Stoolfire

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An interesting and engaging look at female rolls and heroics during WW1, Often forgotten or ignored this bring some interesting feminine history to light!

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

ALL OF THE CHAPTERS were wonderful in that all are drawn from primary sources. Diaries. Letters. Journals. Memoirs. Oral Histories. Each chapter has at least one--if not dozens--of personal stories giving readers a behind the scenes glimpse of what it was like--their actual experiences.

My thoughts: I really found this one fascinating and well-researched. I read one chapter a day and enjoyed (if enjoyed is the right word???) each day's reading. I love it when nonfiction relies primarily on primary sources. I love hearing these stories, these experiences from firsthand sources--the women who were actually there. I would definitely recommend this one.

NetGalley, Becky Laney

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was fascinating read filled with a broad range of women’s roles and influence during WWI. I admit that prior to reading this, I had little knowledge of the impact that women had on the war, both in combat zones and at home. For instance, I was not aware of the importance of knitting or the need for Land Girls and munitions factory workers. Now, I have a detailed understanding of the war from a variety of female perspectives; the wife, mother, daughter, sister, etc. Furthermore, my biggest take away is how undervalued and unappreciated women’s contributions were.

I appreciate all of the research that the author conducted in order to bring this narrative to life. By incorporating diary entries, newspaper articles, etc., she was able to bring the women’s stories to life. I’m also grateful that she was able to include some pictures of subject materials in the back of the book (although I would have liked to see more). I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.

NetGalley, Kendra Carter

The author clearly did a lot of research into the role of women during the war; helping in factories (I didn't realise how dangerous that was), working on the land, working in the Services and even knitting at home. Fascinating, it really was. I was very sad when I realised just how many women lost their lives though, although I have nothing but admiration for their grit and determination to make a difference, especially at that time in history.

4.5 stars from me.

NetGalley, Monica Mac

This focuses on the role British women played during World War I, showing their determination and heroism. By 1918, hundreds of thousands of women helped the Allies, working as nurses, munitions workers, ambulance drivers, surgeons, and members of the Land Army.

I knew that women made endless contributions to all wars, so it was nice to see information in print. It organised the information in chapters. What a way to honour these women!

NetGalley, Joy K

Examples of astounding, uplifting and inspiring stories were aplenty here. It’s a great read for war enthusiasts, feminists and any who would like to know more about The War and women helping in the quest for victory.

NetGalley, Nicola Wilton

A historically very interesting book.

Read the complete Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

Referenced in 'further reading' part of article by Michelle Higgs on investigating the role of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, and how to trace their service documents

Your Family History, August 2017

As featured on Google

Google Books - Reviewer

"This book lets these all but forgotten women speak directly to us of their war, their lives, and their stories."

Read the full review here.

Goodreads reviewer

'We Also Served – The Forgotten Women of the First World War by Vivien Newman is a timely overview of experiences rescued from oblivion. Here are women once lost behind the filters of indifference or deliberate censorship, now made visible again through accessible scholarship and engaging writing.'

Read the full review here!

History Wardrobe

'There are far too many stories for me to do justice to here – you really need to read We Also Served for yourself. You won’t be disappointed. Newman encompasses not just women’s experience of war, but the human experience of war. Her writing is intuitive, informative and always absorbing; this is a book I will return to again and again.'

Read the full review here!

HandWrittenBy Blog

An interesting and enlightening book which corrects misconceptions of women's roles in the Great War.

Essex Family Historian No.159

As featured in

Epping Forest Guardian

'The Forgotten Women', well not any more!!.This fine account of the critical part played by women in Britain and with British forces during WWI goes a very long way to bringing forward the story of women at war. Highly Recommended... The author has comprehensively covered the ways in which women made a great difference during wartime. The text reads smoothly and debunks some of the myths. The photo plate section contains a range of images that compliment the text and add strongly to the content.


This is an attractive and well presented book which is an account of the social history of women’s involvement in WW1. It reminds us that in August 1914 over three quarter of a million men were serving in our armed forces but only 640 women ( in the military nursing services ). Over the next four years women’s involvement in the war effort mushroomed and significant numbers of them died as they served.
All in all a good introduction to an important piece of history which directly affected many of our families.

Federation of Family History Societies

Anyone interested in the role of women during WWI and indeed some more obscure facts about them would enjoy reading this, as well as those with a general interest in WWI.

Friends of the National Archives

An intelligent and accessible exploration of women's oft-forgotten roles in WWI.

Your Family Tree

This is a really excellent book covering women in the Great War... It is clear a lot of research went into the book and it puts women back on the WW1 map.

WW1 Centenary

This is a social history of women's involvement in the First World War and is drawn from the writings of hundreds of women which give contemporary insights into many aspects of women's lives during this time of conflict and historic changes.

Bristol and Avon Family History Society

As seen in.

Kent Family History Society Journal

A compact overview of women's service during the First World War.

Paul Nixon

A fascinating read!


So many books published about World War 1 focus on trench warfare and the soldiers who battled. But many other groups, while not experiencing the horrors of the front, fought their own war and one such group is remembered in this book. Vivien Newman brings to life the women of the war and the work they did, providing us with a comprehensive social history that is very valuable.

Essex Life Magazine

This book lets these all-but-forgotten women speak directly to us of their war, their lives and experiences.

Southern Daily Echo

As featured in the Braintree & Witham Times.

Braintree & Witham Times

It is very rare to read a story about the First World War that doesn't focus on the atrocities suffered by men on the battlefield, but one woman wants to change that by revealing the untold story of the war's women.

Essex Chronicle

This book lets all-but-forgotten women speak directly to us of their war, their lives and their experiences.

Chelmsford Weekly News

...a touching book about the women who served in the First World War.

Maldon and Burnham Standard

As featured on This is Local London website.

This is Local London
Dr Vivien Newman

About Dr Vivien Newman

 Dr Vivien Newman is the author of We Also Served: The Forgotten Women of the First World War. An expert on women's experiences during the First World War, she is based at the University of Essex. Dr Newman is also working on a collection of women's First World War poetry and a book on children's experiences during the conflict, both due to be published by Pen and Sword. She is a regular speaker at national conferences and for groups including the Women's Institute and the Western Front Association.

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