Women At War: 1914-1918

With most men being required for military service during WW1, that left a huge gap in the employment market at home, and created the need for some women to serve overseas too. Women took on many traditionally male roles during the men’s absence, and thousands more chose to serve as nurses, or in branches of the armed forces.

Members of the Women’s Fire Brigade at the training school.

Munitions workers. Thousands of women worked long hours in that dangerous job. During the war, over 400 of them were killed in explosions or accidents whilst working.

Female Ambulance drivers leaving for France. They worked close to the front lines, and many were killed or injured.

Railways had to run and be maintained throughout the war.

These are female luggage porters working at a London Railway Station.

As well as driving buses, women were employed to repair and service the buses too.

These women are recycling paper by pulling apart old ledgers.

Women also did hard physical jobs outside, such as these female building workers.

In 1918, the King and Queen held a gathering at Buckingham Palace to thank all the women who served in the forces during the war. These are members of the Women’s Royal Air Force.

The gathering inside the palace. Those in white aprons are nurses who served at the front, or in hospitals at home.

52 thoughts on “Women At War: 1914-1918

  1. It is fantastic to see these, but as many of your readers have said, it is sad to think that after the war, many of these women had to go abandon their jobs, even if they enjoyed them and were great at them. Of course, women have always worked, but they were limited in the types of jobs they could do, and although that has improved, equality hasn’t been achieved yet. Thanks for sharing those, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. in NZ they worked on the farms to provide the food for Britain. We sent more men per head of population than anywhere else & they had to travel the furthest. In fact some of their only training was on the 3 month ship ride. There are many monuments to the war women around rural NZ and still stories to be told. And being a long way from home, the boys couldn’t just whip back to old blighty to help out and it took years after the war to bring the survivors back home. The wounded came first. So the women had to run NZ for a few years after the war ended still.

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  3. (1) Those hot ladies of the Women’s Fire Brigade kindled desire in the hearts of many young men.
    (2) Women who worked in munitions factories always aimed to please. They strove to meet the factory’s target production numbers.
    (3) Female ambulance drivers died in head-on collisions in France because they forgot to drive in the right lane.
    (4) Female railway maintenance workers had to be trained.
    (5) Female luggage porter: “I feel like I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.”
    (6) Warning to female bus drivers: “Don’t fall asleep at the wheel, or else you’ll be driven into the hands of the incubus!”
    (7) Female paper recyclers allegedly did more than just pull apart old ledgers.
    (8) Bonnie named her wheelbarrow Clyde.
    (9) The little girl in the white bonnet was given a paper airplane to fly. It was subsequently pulled apart and recycled even though the paper wasn’t an old ledger.
    (10) Did you hear about the stage actor who played a nurse? She suddenly became very pale and collapsed on the apron.

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  4. Educational photos. And yet even today women receive less pay than men for doing the same jobs. Thankfully this is not the case in strong union situations.
    Yesterday in the US Congress, a bill was introduced that would mandate dressing requirements for the female members of Congress; Males can still dress as they want to.

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      1. Technically no, but they wear them on the floor as a custom. Suits are not required wear in their offices by Congressmen or their aides. The purposed dress code for women would apply everywhere within the building.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. That is the explanation I got from several web sites; but if it was different when you were there, I’ll go along with you. And I imagine there was a code for women also from when you were there. So why is the GOP trying to change it?

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Suit coats were required on the floor of the House back in the last century. Staff wore business attire. I could give you several flip answers to why the Republicans are changing it, But, I’ll refrain. The least flip answer I can give is they are just keeping busy and trying to look like they are governing. Besides the last change was about head coverings for women which allowed Representative Omar to wear her traditional head wrappings. This change is, ironically, about “bare arms,: from the party which is all for “bearing arms.”
              Warmest regards, Ed

              Liked by 2 people

  5. I cannot imagine the hell of serving as a nurse at the Front. Such brave women. I am sure they were appreciated but when the men returned to take back their jobs, women had been forever changed. Those people were all really tough. Now I think we have all gone soft, at least over here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we have all gone soft everyhere, Carolyn. Most people have hysterics if they can’t charge their phone. I can’t imagine them working 12 hours a day during a world war, or fighting in the trenches.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I had a great aunt who was a nurse overseas during the war. She didn’t talk much about it, but I wish I had listened more closely to what she did say (I was a young teenager when she died). If I had bee older, I would have asked more questions. I don’t even know where she was stationed.
    The images of the bomb factories resonated with me. In WWII, my mom, still a teenager, worked in a bomb factory in Northampton, Mass. One of our family stories involves her dropping an (thankfully unarmed) bomb casing on her foot and breaking a toe, and all she got was couple days off from work! She told us it was very dangerous work.

    Liked by 2 people

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