Women and World War Two - How girls took over the homefront, and even the frontlines.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: WWII Tours, Women in Combat, Female Pilots, Nurses, Female Spies & Secret Agents, War, Women & Horror, War Brides, WW2 re-enactments, WASP, Rosie the Riveter, Women in Nazi Germany.
Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)
Svetlana Alexievich`s The Unwomanly Face of War: Uncensored oral history of Soviet women in World War II
Svetlana Alexievich`s The Unwomanly Face of War is a different kind of WWII book. About a million women fought in the Soviet army during a war that spanned 1939-1945. Unlike American and British women many female Russian soldiers were deployed into combat roles, including driving tanks and operating anti-aircraft weapons. Many joined unspeakably young, with romantic ideas about being girl warriors: One tells Alexievich: I imagined myself in the role of Joan of Arc. Originally published in Russian in 1985, an earlier English edition came out in 1988, but both were heavily censored. This book restores an unflinching look at what women went through while fighting the Nazis. Many describe disillusionment with the Motherland, especially in a postwar world that treated many female soldiers poorly.
Rosie the Riveters in HD color- photos of the women who built planes during WWII
Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military.
Mum`s army: the forgotten role of women in the Home Guard
The new Dad`s Army film is a celebration of two historic British institutions: the WWII Home Guard that played a key role in Britain`s defence, and the TV sitcom that ran from 1968-1977. While the show followed Captain Mainwaring and his ageing band of brothers, women didn`t much feature. With the new cinematic offering, there are now some women in the frame. The reviews aren`t great, but I am looking forward to seeing a better balance of genders in the film. Mainwaring`s wife, Elizabeth, was often heard of but never seen in the TV series. In the film, she steps onscreen, leading local women from the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). But women were not just consigned to services such as the ATS. In fact, many played a role in the Home Guard, despite the fact that they weren`t strictly supposed to. Yes, there was a mum`s army too.
Hannelore Hoke: I was a flower girl for Hitler, a perfect Aryan child
For a young girl in Nazi Germany, there could be no higher honor: being asked to present flowers to the Fuhrer. Everywhere Adolf Hitler went in his `Reich`, perfect little Aryan girls, blue-eyed and blonde, would present him with flowers, preferably his favorite carnations. Hannelore Olbertz was a six-year-old school girl in Hanover when she was told she would be doing precisely that. Now living in Springfield, Missouri, she has spoken for the first time of her encounter with one of history`s most evil men, and an encounter with another figure from Germany`s darkest days - Kurt Waldheim, the Nazi officer who became United Nations secretary-general.
Stella the Steelworker explores life for women during WWII
When the men left to fight in World War II, women were tapped to become defense workers in factories, making bombs and other war materials. While many women in Europe resisted going to work in the factories, American women did not, according to Elizabeth Jones, a retired sociology professor at California University of Pennsylvania who has studied women who labored in the Mon Valley steel mills during World War II. ``Maybe living through the Great Depression, they saw the family go through hard times, lose homes, so mill work was a way to get out of debt,`` she said. `The majority of women I interviewed were very family-oriented and contributed their wages to the family economy.``
Historian Shelly Cline researches female Nazi guards
Shelly Cline was trying to decide on a topic for her senior honors thesis when a professor suggested she write about female Nazi guards. The idea led to a multi-year research project on how gender influenced the actions of women Nazi guards that would take Cline to Hamburg, Germany, and Ravensbruck, a World War II Nazi concentration camp. During her visit to the camp, Cline slept in the place that formerly served as the barracks for the women guards. During WWII, more than 3,500 women served as Aufseherinnen, an auxiliary of the SS who worked as guards at Ravensbruck, Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.
Rare photographs of the women who joined the Indian army in World War II
In May 1942, the British formed the Women`s Auxiliary Corps (India) for female volunteers to contribute to the war cause. This was the first time Indian women entered the army, and until 1992, it also was the only time they were allowed to serve in non-medical roles. As with their counterparts in the United States and Europe, women were not allowed to serve in combat roles. Instead, they worked behind the front lines as typists, switchboard operators and drivers, and could be posted anywhere the Indian Army went. The corps was disbanded in 1947 with Independence.
Europe`s only all-female WW2 internment camp in the Isle of Man remembered
An exhibition which reveals the untold stories of detainees at Europe`s only all-female internment camp has opened in the Isle of Man. It marks the 75th anniversary of the detention of more than 3,500 women and children in the south of the island during World War Two. Organiser Pamela Crowe said the exhibition was of "international importance". It was opened at St Catherine`s Church by former internee Kathleen Hallgarten. A baby when she was interned with her mother Ruth Borchard, she spent 18 months in the Rushen camp. The now 76-year-old said: "I remember an awful lot from the stories my mother told me - she recalled it as an enormously happy time."
Hacking the Nazis: The secret story of the women who broke Hitler`s codes
Of the 10,000-plus staff at the Government Code and Cypher School during World War II, two-thirds were female. Three veteran servicewomen explain what life was like as part of the code-breaking operation. "I was given one sentence, `We are breaking German codes, end of story`." It was Ruth Bourne`s first job out of college, when, like thousands of other young British women during WWII, she was recruited to aid the Allied cipher-breaking efforts at Bletchley Park. Today, the mansion in the heart of the southeast English countryside is famous for being where the mathematician Alan Turing cracked the Nazi`s Enigma code. These servicewomen played a pivotal role in an operation that decrypted millions of German messages and which is credited with significantly shortening the war.
Bletchley Park and the Enigma code: The women who helped win the war
The Imitation Game would have us believe Turing cracked it single-handedly in a shed. In reality it took the work of hundreds of codebreakers and thousands of general staff. Some of the former and most of the latter were women, and until now they have had little attention. Women worked at every level of the organisation, and the place saw the first outbreaks of the social revolution that would occur three decades later. The Bletchley women came from far and wide, volunteers at first and then conscripts. Historian Tessa Dunlop has found nine of them still living, ranging from Pamela Rose, a showgirl and actress about to make her West End debut before duty called, to the mathematician Ann Williamson, by way of the exotic Georgette and Doris Moller, sisters who had spent a year escaping to Britain across occupied Europe.
Beyond the battlefield - Women artists of the two world wars
During the war years, most women artists neither vanished nor stopped work, and in Australia Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington-Smith and Nora Heysen continued to work and exhibit and frequently in their art addressed the war effort. In America, Lee Miller, and in Britain, the wonderful Dame Laura Knight, not only continued to work but established for themselves a national following. What this book achieves is to bring together women artists from Britain, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, who worked during the two world wars. Through the examination of the work of 62 selected artists, Speck weaves an account of the social, political and cultural history of this period.
Honor for nurse heroine who slept with Nazis to give them STDs in `vengeance` after she was assaulted
A femme fatale who divided a Czech community by sleeping with Nazi soldiers to give them STDs has had a plaque erected in her memory. Locals in the south Bohemian town of Trebon said the nurse, who worked in a local hospital, decided to get revenge on the Nazi invaders after she was violated shortly after the occupation in 1938. It was the Gestapo who eventually got to Trebon`s mystery nurse, after they sent an agent to find out what was happening to their soldiers in the town.
18 Color Photos Of Female World War II Workers
18 Color Photos Of Female World War II Workers
Last surviving women who helped crack Hitler`s top secret codes using Colossus computer at Bletchley Park meet again after 70 years
The last remaining women code-breakers who operated Colossus - the world`s first computer - have been reunited after 70 years after a picture of them was published in a local paper. The women were all part of the Colossus C Watch at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire during the Second World War and were the world`s first computer operators. Most of them lost touch with each other after the war ended and they have not been together as a group for seven decades.
Hitler`s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower
Wendy Lower`s account of the women who volunteered to work for Hitler in the new German empire to the east is a chilling WWII book. --- Where did the best career opportunities lie for an ambitious young woman in Germany in 1941? In the Red Cross? The army? Or, perhaps, the Gestapo (40% staffed by women)? No, the best prospects lay in the Ostraum, the new German empire to the east, where 10,000 secretaries were needed, plus countless teachers and nurses. There you could not only get ahead but escape the tiresome constraints of home life in provincial Germany, and perhaps live out your fantasies. But you might also become an accessory to genocide. Hitler`s Furies interweaves the experiences of 13 ordinary women who went to work in the East.
Nazi bride schools trained girls to be perfect wives for SS men in the Third Reich
A set of rules for would-be wives of Nazis in the Third Reich has been discovered. Regulations dictated that young women would be taught ‘washing, cooking, childcare and home design` before they could walk up the aisle with the men who would rule conquered lands with an iron fist. They were also instructed in social niceties and how to bring up their children worshipping Hitler. "This is participation in the resurrection path of our people," said Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, chief of the Nazi bride schools. Along with the rulebook found in the Federal Archive were certificates adorned with the Germanic ‘Tree of Life` which were presented to young girls who passed the 6-week course to marry their sweethearts in the SS.
The Girls of Atomic City: How tens of thousands of women worked on the Manhattan Project in a secret nuclear base
History remembers brilliant men who developed the atomic bomb that forced the surrender of Japan. But, history seems to have forgotten the women of Atomic City. Without them, no atomic weapon would have been possible. Tens of thousands of young women from across the United States moved to a muddy boom town in the Appalachian Mountains in 1942 to work on the top-secret project of refining and enriching uranium. None of them knew exactly what was happening at Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They were purposely kept in the dark about the nature of their work. They only knew that it was something that would help win the war.
WWII Canteen Girl Phyllis Jeanne Creore kept troops company from afar
American service members have long spent holidays in dangerous places, far from family. These days, home is a video chat away. But during World War II, packages, letters and radio programs bridged the lonely gaps. For 15 minutes every week, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones on NBC radio. Her Christmas shows were morale boosters. America must "use more sentiment and less tinsel, and that`s the way it should be," she told her listeners during one wartime Christmas broadcast. "I took the idea to NBC and they OK`d it. And I got a pianist, and eventually they gave me a writer," she says. The program began in 1942.
Tale of British woman killed by Hitler`s final V2 rocket in 1945
Travelling at 1,600 miles per second, the last V2 rocket launched by the Nazis in 1945 hurtled across the English Channel bound for an anonymous Orpington street. Carrying enough explosives to reduce a tower block to rubble, the missile devastated homes in Kynaston Road and claimed the final civilian casualty of the war on British soil – 34-year-old Ivy Millichamp. Colin Philpott`s new book "A Place in History" has unearthed the story 77 years after Ivy`s death on March 27, 1945 – revealing how she acquired a macabre form of celebrity. He said: "A lot of other people were injured, but remarkably Ivy was the only fatality from the blast."
Rosie`s War: An English Woman`s Escape from Occupied France by Rosemary Say and Noel Holland
Two years before she died, my mum, Rosie Say, phoned me out of the blue: "I simply can`t write about myself. Can you help me?" I was intrigued. I knew the bare bones of my mum`s wartime story. She had become an au pair in France just months before the outbreak of the World War II. Trapped in Paris, she watched the victorious German army parade down the Champs Elysees. Later imprisoned by the Germans, she was one of the first British women to escape from internment in Nazi-occupied France. Her arrival at Waterloo Station, determinedly clutching a pineapple, was front-page news.
Unseen pictures of Her Majesty serving in World War II - The Queen changes a car tyre
In the week her armed forces paid tribute to her these never-before-seen pictures reveal the Queen serving with the troops during World War II. The amateur photographs show the teenaged future monarch setting the example followed today by her grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry. They were taken in March 1945 showing the then Princess Elizabeth still aiding the war effort after the tide had turned against the Nazis in Europe. Taken at the Mechanical Transport Training Section, Camberley, Surrey, the pictures were snapped on the day the King and Queen and Princess Margaret came to visit.
Margie Stewart, the wholesome WWII Pinup Girl, passes away at 92
For American troops in World War II, Margie Stewart was the girl they`d left behind. For the U.S. Army, she was a wholesome pinup girl who had an important message for the boys. The Army made a dozen posters of her, printing 94 million copies. Most pictured a handwritten letter at the poster`s forefront. `Please get there and back,` was the message on some posters. "Be careful what you say or write." Miss Stewart, the Army`s official poster girl, posed in practical clothes, in contrast to the provocative pinup photos of stars like Betty Grable (the girl with the million-dollar legs) or Ann Sheridan (the Oomph Girl) that soldiers carried to battlefields.
WWII lumberjills - No bathing for weeks and no seeing their families for months
The year was 1941 and Ethel Oliver was keen to do her bit for the war effort. The 18-year-old signed up to be a Land Girl but switched to the lesser known Women`s Timber Corps (WTC). With the men away, thousands of women volunteered to do backbreaking work in the UK`s forests. In the days before mechanisation and chainsaws, they used manual saws to chop down trees and load the timber on to trucks. In 2011 the Forestry Commission started a campaign to track down the "forgotten" women. "I loved being outside and the whole experience left me with very fond memories. After I finished the work, I was in a bit of dilemma because after such an experience I didn`t fancy working in an office."
Black woman Anna Mae Clarke led all-white platoon in the Second World War
Anna Mae Clarke was the first black woman in Kentucky to enlist in the military during WWII. Her educational and athletic background pushed her to enter officer candidate school for the Women`s Army Auxiliary Corps, of which she was already a member. She attended officer school at Fort Des Moines and was reassigned as a third officer in February 1943, making her the first WAAC officer to command an all-white platoon. While stationed at Douglas Air Field in Arizona she led protests to desegregate the base. She died in 1944 of a ruptured appendix at the base hospital.
Color photos show women workers doing their bit for the nation on the eve of World War II
Color photographs - released by the Library of Congress - show women workers doing their bit for the nation on the eve of the Second World War.
WWII Photos: Women at War - From combat to film makers
Amazing collection of World War II Photographs: Women at War.
Horror on the Home Front: WWII dirtiness from London to Leningrad told first-hand (photos)
World War II home-front troubles in photographs and words.
British troops gave a gun to a 15-year-old Greek girl and ordered her to shoot Nazi paratroopers
Angelica Thomas was 15 years old when Axis troops invaded Greece in 1941. She fled Athens with a group of British soldiers to Crete, where she was advised to put on a British uniform. At Crete, the hope of rescue vanished, as the island faced one of the biggest German airborne invasions in WWII. "One of the guys said to me, `Why are you standing there? If you don`t shoot, they shoot you`. So he gave me a gun. I close my eyes and I started shooting." Angelica and some British soldiers tried to escape by boat, but German troops captured - and violated - her, then handing her over to the Italians. She was jailed and raped several times in Italy before being forced to work as a nurse at an Italian hospital.
Eileen Younghusband, who served in the Women`s Auxiliary Air Force, recalls work in radar filter rooms
When Eileen Younghusband volunteered for the WAAF aged 19 she never dreamed she`d become one of the players in the fight against Nazi bombers. Eileen has told her story - working in filter rooms around Britain collecting radar data identifying Luftwaffe aircraft and warning of air raids - in a new book called "One Woman`s War".
"These were life and death decisions. We were the lynch pin of air defence. If we hadn`t had radar the fighter pilots couldn`t have won the Battle of Britain because we had so few aircraft and so little fuel. The filter room enabled them to intercept at the last moment rather than patrol the skies."
Russian WWII veteran Maria Stolnikova recalls her service in the artillery regiment
Maria Stolnikova was 18 when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941. A postal railway carriage attendant, she was in the Belarusian capital Minsk - one of the first Soviet cities to experience aerial bombings - on that sorrowful day of June 22 when the invasion began.
"Back in Moscow, I and other girls, we were assigned to a local air defense squad. We lived in barracks... And then we signed up for the battlefront and found ourselves in an artillery regiment with which I stayed until 1943 when I was wounded in the leg. When the veterans of our regiment meet, we never talk about the war. We only recall funny episodes. I remember how during an air raid a girl from our brigade snatched a samovar and began running all over the place, looking for a safe place for it, and how we all laughed later and joked at her."
Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood
In her collective biography, author Kathryn Atwood recounts the storeis of 26 women in the European theater of the Second World War. Each quick-reading story profiles a woman who decided that just surviving the war was not enough and that active opposition to the Nazis was necessary to bring down Hitler`s regime. Some wrote and distributed anti-Nazi literature, others sheltered Jews and Allied soldiers, and still others became spies and saboteurs.
Warrior Women: Great War Leaders from Boudicca to Catherine the Great (book review)
"Warrior Women" - an upcoming book by Rosalind Miles and military historian Robin Cross - may not include a lot of World War II stories but is nonetheless worth mentioning briefly since there aren`t that many books covering the topic of women taking a commanding role and leading troops during war.
One of the stories told in the book is that of Pearl Witherington, a SOE agent who was one of the leaders of the Wrestler Network, which operated in the Nazi-occupied France during the Second World War. Witherington was so effective as an organizer and leader that the Nazis put a 1,000,000 franc bounty on her head.
Documentary film Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of World War II released on DVD
In the 1940s, when mathematically talented girls were recruited by the U.S. military to do ballistics research, "computer" was a job title, not a machine. And some of the women went on to program the first general-purpose computer, the ENIAC. When filmmaker LeAnn Erickson learned of this little known Second World War female group she knew she had to told their story.
WWII WAC Lupe Sierra Stamm: Landing among Russian soldiers in Berlin, working in Hitler`s HQ
The Allies are on the offensive, closing in on Hitler and Nazi regime in Berlin in 1945. Into the Russian sector of the city, an airplane of U.S. Women`s Army Corps lands. "20 Russian soldiers got on the plane, carrying guns, and just sat there and stared at us for 2 hours," recalls Lupe Sierra Stamm, one of first to serve in WAC. "We lived on K-rations the first 3 months... I was down to a size 4." Then Stamm managed to convince an officer in the 101st Airborne to let the WACs eat with the GIs.
Female Auxiliary Photographs -thread at Axis History Forum
Over 30 pages long Axis History Forum thread about World War II Female Auxiliary Photographs and discussion about their uniforms and service.
First in... Last out, Stories about The RCAF Women`s Division and Nursing Sisters in World War Two
"The title of my book is based on a phrase the WDs (Women`s Division) used: `Well we were the first ones in.` The air force was the first to allow women in during the war and then came the army and navy. And the air force women stayed in the war the longest. They did not disband until after the navy and army women had gone out. So `first in, last out` is a phrase they`re quite proud of," explained author Glad Bryce. Her 300-page book explores the role women had in Canada`s air force during the Second World War. "They actually started out with 8 trades... By the end of the war there was something like 55 trades."
Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII - Creating firing tables for every US weapon
In 1942 a secret US military program was set up to recruit women to the war effort. But unlike the campaign to recruit Rosie to the factory, this search targeted college-educated female mathematicians who would become human "computers" for the military. Working with calculators and the Differential Analyzer, the women created firing tables for every weapon in the US arsenal. As the war neared its end, a group of the women were selected to serve as programmers of ENIAC, the first electronic computer and a few, such as Kay Mauchly and Jean Bartik, continued after the war to work in the computer industry.
Women World War II correspondents - Stories of courage and cunning
At the beginning of World War II 127 women got accreditation from the U.S. War Department, though U.S. military policy forbade them from covering combat until late in the war. American women reporters were barred from press briefings, banned from going nearer to the front than the nurses, and were not given military transport like their male colleagues. When the British government accredited 558 writers, radio journalists and photographers to cover the D-day landings, not one was a woman -- even though many women had reported the Blitz 3 years earlier.
World War II ushered women into the military: WASPs, WACs, WAVES, Rosie the Riveters
Inspired by Amelia Earhart and other female aviation aces, Thelma K. Miller began learning to fly at 16. She didn`t tell her parents, fearing they`d think it was too dangerous. In 1944 she joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), becoming a private flight instructor after the war. --- Serving as a human guinea pig (testing military uniforms saturated with chemicals to resist poison gas attacks), aiding the Allied Supreme Commander general Dwight Eisenhower, trucking entertainers to the troops - all were part of the duty when Norma Coletta joined the Women`s Army Corps (WACs).
Jeanie Kate Sagebiel: One of the first 500 women to wear the WAC uniform (Women`s Auxiliary Corps) (Article no longer available from the original source)
World War Two had been going on for only a few months, and everybody was signing up to become a soldier. Jeanie Sagebiel was talking with an Army recruiter friend one day. "I was aggravating him... and he threw this application at me: `Why don`t you join the Army, they are taking women now.` I jokingly filled it out... later, a letter came... I was to report to Columbus, Ohio." The basic military training for WACs included marching, discipline - and to speak only when spoken to. She had a choice of 3 places where she could be shipped: Washington, Oregon and overseas. She chose overseas, and was sent to Texas.
Susan Travers - The only woman in the French Foreign Legion
When France fell to the Nazis Susan Travers travelled to London and signed up with General De Gaulle`s Free French - joining the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Legion Etrangere. In Africa, as a driver to the senior officers, she had such nerves of steel that she got nickname "La Miss" from her male comrades. Sent to hold the fort of Bir Hakeim in Libya in 1942, Colonel Marie-Pierre Koenig`s forces were hit hard by Erwin Rommel`s Afrika Korps in one of the major sieges of the Desert campaign. With Stuka dive bombers and Panzers the Germans expected to seize the fort in 15 minutes, but the French troops held it for 15 days - and Susan was the only woman.
Floyette Brown was one of first women in the Army, earning Bronze Star
Floyette Brown was one of the first WACs (Women`s Army Corps). They were the first women other than nurses to serve in the US Army. She was sent to Des Moines, where women were wore men`s overcoats because there was nothing else that fit them. Her unit learned to operate 90mm anti-aircraft guns. "They wanted to know if they could train us. When they found out we could hit the target, they put the program on hold." Brown arrived in France after the D-Day Invasion: "The remnants were devastating. There were still sinking boats... and disabled vehicles on the beaches. There were French people walking with everything they owned, trying to get out of there."
African-American all-female battalion from World War II honored
The honors were late but well-received for members of the first all-African-American, all-female unit to serve overseas in WW2. Almost 1,000 women from the "Six-Triple Eight" Central Postal Battalion moved tons of mail that overloaded warehouses in England and France. When GIs weren`t getting their mail, morale began to drop. And sorting out undelivered packages wasn`t always easy: For example there were 7,500 soldiers named Robert Smith in the European Theater. Battalion`s service had been overlooked for years, starting with when they traveled back to the America. "There was no parade. We just came home," said Mary Crawford Ragland.
WW2 resistance fighter Andrée Peel breaks silence on wartime heroics on her 104th birthday
At the age of 104, Andrée Peel has plenty of memories. And as a WW2 French Resistance fighter who saved over 100 servicemen, there will be plenty who have cherished her. Peel even got a letter from Winston Churchill, but for security reasons the letter had to be destroyed. She is among the most decorated women who made it through the war, she was awarded France`s highest award for Bravery, the Legion d`Honneur (by her own brother, 4-star General Maurice Virot), the War Cross with palm, the War Cross with purple star, American Medal of Freedom (from Dwight Eisenhower), the medal of the Resistance, the Liberation cross and the King`s Commendation for Brave Conduct.
List of the famous World War II women
"Tokyo Rose" Iva D`Aquino, a UCLA graduate visiting Japan when the war broke out, ended up making radio propaganda broadcasts for the Japanese. Eva Braun was Adolf Hitler`s mistress and wife for one day. Jackie Cochran was a famous aviatrix and head of the Women`s Air Force Service Pilots (WASPS), while nearly everyone sent to the Pacific Theater was hoping to find Amelia Earhart. Annie Fox was the first woman to get the Purple Heart military medal - for wounds suffered during the attack on Pearl Harbor. American-born Mildred Gillars travelled to Berlin in 1936 to study music. When war broke out she began broadcasting radio propaganda. The GIs called her Axis Sally.
Female WWII veteran Mollie Weinstein Schaffer shares her experiences
Mollie Schaffer`s voice is emotional as she looks at pics from her years serving in World War Two and talks about her experiences. She joined the Women`s Army Corps soon after it was set up in 1943 when she was 27 years old - because everyone she knew was enlisting. But before she could "win the war," Schaffer had to fight to get in the Army. Women had to weigh at least 105 pounds to join, so at first Schaffer had to gain some weight. "Our training was just like the men`s. We climbed the ropes and had to go through mustard gas and learn how to use and put together a gun. But every time I put the gun together, there were always a few nuts and bolts left over."
Joan Watkins, who modeled the Waaf uniform, recalls training course, radar system
Joan Watkins joined the 8th City of London ATS (RAF) in 1939. -- Training course: On our first day being taken for drill by a Sergeant Major, after a trial march, he shouted: "When I call Attention, I don`t mean shuffle, shuffle, giggle, giggle and clink, clink. Tomorrow ladies, no high heels and no jewellery." We were told a WAAF organisation was being formed with new uniform yet to be agreed. In June I was asked to be one of 4 models for the new military uniforms. My uniform was Corporal. Remarks like "the skirt is too long, the hat is hideous, is the material hard-wearing?" were asked on all sides. One day she got a telegram requesting her to go on a secret course...
"Sisters in War" tells the story of 53 World War II female veterans
In 1942, when women were allowed to enlist in the Army, Flora Ausenbaugh, 37, closed the doors to her beauty shop and went off to war. "The cutoff was 40, and she was one of the older ones who enlisted. The average age for women in WWII was 25," Peg Trout explained, dedicating her book "Sisters in War" to her Aunty Flora. Hers is one of 53 mini-portraits of women who served their country as nurses, radio operators, mechanics, teletypists, parachute packers, and mail sorters. Though mostly unrecognised, the women were among 400,000 who joined the American armed forces during the war, responding to the call to "Free a Man to Fight."
UK: Call for honouring World War II munitions women
MP David Jones is calling for WWII workers - 1.5m women employed in engineering and munitions sites - who made sure British soldiers had bullets are honoured. The Bevin Boys and the Land Army Girls have been acknowledged, the only ones left are the munitions workers. "The hours were long, and the factories were targeted by German bombers," said Jones. Mary Louvain Jones spent WWII making bullets: "There were 6 or 7 machines here and we had to do 3,000 bullets per day. It was dangerous work until you got used to the machines. By the end of the day you had sore hands, with the skin all puckered up."
Women`s Institute`s WW2 scrapbook is now a National Treasure [pics]
Men were away fighting and food was in short supply. But in English villages, the loyalists of the Women`s Institute looked on the bright side. Shrugging off hardships, they grew food and cared for evacuees. And now, a newly-discovered scrapbook shows how well they did. Produced by WI members in Dorset it is filled with wry recollections and sketches and paintings. The volume has been granted national treasure status by the British Library. Knitting began almost at once in 1939: one WI knitted 132 pairs of socks, 17 pullovers, 2 sweaters and 2 pairs of gloves between 1939-1940 for the East Dorset Regiment.
A Country War, Memoirs of a Land Girl by Micky Mitchell
Because so many young men had been mobilised for the armed forces in World War II, there was a dangerous shortage of labour on farms. So a whole new army emerged: the Women`s Land Army, young ladies/girls who were trained in such tasks as milking cows, harvesting and drainage. It was their task to help keep the nation fed as the german U-boats attacked many of our merchant ships. One land girl was Maud `Micky` Mitchell, who in 1943 at the age of 17, moved from Blackburn to take up her first farming experience in rural East Devon. It is a recollection of memories of a totally different wartime scenario to that ordinarily portrayed.
Helen Denton typed top secrets before 1944 D-Day Normandy invasion (Article no longer available from the original source)
On June 6, 1944, Helen Denton walked to her office in Allied headquarters. Hundreds of aircraft filled the sky, a common sight and she didn`t give it another thought. Hours later her mood darkened as a radio announcer read a message from Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower: "The invasion started at 5 a.m. this morning." As Londoners cheered, Denton`s heart sank. For the last 2 months, she had been writing top secret plans for the Allied invasion, including the staggering casualty estimates. "My heart was so heavy. I realized that as I was going to work that morning, our boys were just hitting the beach and I knew thousands were expected to be killed."
WRENS made mark during Canada`s wartime history
Late in the 1930s a number of women`s auxiliary organizations, modeled on the British Territorial Service (ATS), grew in Canada. Declaration of war in 1939 sped up demands for the mobilisation of women, but authorities remained doubtful about women. After a manpower shortage early in 1941 it was agreed that each service would control its own auxiliary women`s service. In mid-1941 the army and the air force authorized to enlist women: The Canadian Women`s Auxiliary (CWAAF), RCAF, WDs) on July 2, 1941 and the Canadian Women`s Army Corps (CWAC) on Aug. 13 1941. Not until July 31, 1942 was the Women`s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS, Wrens) approved.
Invisible Women: WWII Aboriginal Servicewomen in Canada
Training in the Canadian army was not as hard for Marion Miller as looking after cattle and cutting wood on her First Nations reserve. The resident of Six Nations joined the army when she was 18 years old during World War II. She was courted to be an officer at first, but wanted to be a driver, she says in "Invisible Women: WWII Aboriginal Servicewomen in Canada." A female officer told Miller that she was under the mandatory 5-foot-5 height minimum for drivers, but let her become one anyway. Weighing 113 pounds, the petite Miller drove and serviced trucks and jeeps.
Dancing in Combat Boots - The stories of 11 women (Article no longer available from the original source)
"Dancing in Combat Boots" by Teresa Funke tells the stories of 11 women, each with a different experience of the war. It`s been more than 10 years since she got of the idea for the book. While interviewing veterans for her 2002 book about the battle of Wake Island, "Remember Wake," she noticed that the women she met had fascinating stories to tell as well. There`s a woman who learns to pilot military aircraft, an African-American woman who joined the segregated Women`s Army Corps, and a nurse on the front line in France.
Volunteer armies of women served military -, with a smile
On a railroad platform in Lima, Ohio, an act of kindness began in 1942 and lasted for 30 years. The women formed a spontaneous "canteen" to feed servicemembers passing through on their way to the Second World War. On Thursday the city reunited many of the living canteen volunteers and dedicated a plaque honoring them. The dedication is part of a trend to find ways to memorialize those who served in WW2, both at homefront and on the battlefields. The war left many letters, films and oral histories. But the legacy of places (memorials, historical sites, plaques) is scarce. In a war fought overseas, few places exist for history buffs and participants to visit.
Mums with guns were ready for the Nazis - The Home Guard
Women were so prominent in protecting Britain`s shores against invasion that they were required to sign papers showing they understood that they could be shot as guerrillas if the Germans captured them. After 1940, no woman was allowed to wear uniform but they demanded to be allowed to bear arms against the invader. "They had to make it clear that they understood that the Germans, if they captured armed defenders not in uniform, were entitled to shoot them. They either had to sign the paper or resign from the Home Guard." The female contribution has been underplayed by the few previous histories of the Home Guard.
A woman at war - WAAC: Women`s Army Auxiliary Corps (Article no longer available from the original source)
A hush moved over the mess hall like a wave and crashed into the 50 American women seated to eat as soldiers. Elinor Frederick Lilley can still feel the awkwardness: "These boys had been over there a year and had never seen a WAAC (Women`s Army Auxiliary Corps member). I remember the being stared at. It bothered me, so I talked to the sergeant colonel about it. He said, `Well, what kind of girls would join the Army? It`s just such a shock to see you. You look just like our sisters.`" In 1943 the WAAC was shortened to the Women`s Army Corps, meaning it would be considered part of the Army, not just serving with it.
Thanks for the Memories: Love, Sex, and World War II
Thanks for the Memories goes beyond what you might have learned from textbooks. Jane Mersky Leder has collected some stories you might not know about -- like prostitution in Army camps, venereal disease, and the man hours it cost the war effort, wretched living conditions, hasty marriages or the stories of lesbians and gays who enlisted and fought for America. Leder goes on to discuss female roles during WW2 and how this change laid the foundation for Women`s Liberation in the 1960s.
DVD, book commemorate Canada`s women in WW2
Margaret Haliburton was among the first people to learn that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was dead. It was 1945 and she was a high-frequency direction finder at a Canadian military radio station monitoring German U-boat traffic. The stories of the Women`s Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force (WRENS) and the Canadian Women`s Army Corps (CWAC) are featured in a DVD and book launched to commemorate their nearly forgotten role in wartime history. Proudly She Marched, Training Canada`s World War II Women documents the story of the 21,634 women who enlisted in the military. The first time in Canadian history that women served in uniform.
Winifred Leiser: WAC poster girl for Army during WWII (Article no longer available from the original source)
When Winifred Leiser joined the Women`s Army Corps during the early part of World War II, little did she know that by the war`s end, she would have become a poster girl for the corps. For the corps, first known as the Women`s Auxiliary Army Corps, Leiser appeared across the country in her Army dress uniform smiling radiantly. The Women`s Army Corps, the WACS, were so new when she signed up that the Army had no women`s uniforms. "At basic we drilled in men`s long overcoats that dragged in the mud. Our company commander had to buy her own clothes because she was an officer. She had exquisitely tailored uniforms."
Singapore`s 1942-1945 WWII heroine dies (Article no longer available from the original source)
A woman captured and tortured by Japanese soldiers during World war II and dubbed Singapore`s "war heroine" has died. Elizabeth Choy was tortured by Japanese soldiers during Japan`s invasion of Singapore 1942-1945, but had compassion for those who tortured her, saying "No" when asked if she wanted her torturers executed. "If not for war, they would be just like me. They would be at home with their family, doing just ordinary things and peaceful work." When the war ended, she was invited to Britain as a war heroine noted as the only female local to have been incarcerated for such an extended period of interrogation.
Women`s Home Defence groups against Nazi invasion
In 1940, the threat of Nazi invasion prompted women to take up arms - and poison for themselves. One strategy was to set up illegal Women`s Home Defence groups. These were uniformed, private armies whose members trained in unarmed combat and learned how to fire a tommy gun, while using opera glasses to scan the skies for German paratroopers. Lady Helena Gleichen set up her own private army to protect her home. She demanded that the Shropshire Light Infantry give her 80 rifles with ammunition, "I could do with some machine guns, too, if you have any to spare." When request was denied she resorted to her own collection of antique weapons.
Memorial marks World War II women in Uniform
A memorial to the role women played in World War II is being unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum. The seated figure of a young woman in Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) uniform will be unveiled during a service at Alrewas. There will also be a display of military vehicles and a 90cm searchlight. The Women`s ATS was launched in 1938 and after the outbreak of war 300 ATS members were sent to France. By the end of the war there were 190,000 members. Their roles extended to include radar operators, military police, gun crews and many other tasks. There will also be a display of military vehicles, a 90cm searchlight and a military pipes and drum band.
Women of WWII Navy - Uniform with white anchors on the collar
The uniform is stashed in the basement, a size 8 with stripes on the shoulders and white anchors on the collar. Bettina Black plans to dig it out of storage someday as proof to her offspring that she really wore Army boots. Well, Navy high heels, anyway. She was proud to wear that uniform when she become a Navy WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II. Sexist comments were common in male environment. "One commander came in off a ship and asked one of us to get him a cup of coffee. We were too busy doing our work, so one of the WAVES told him, `Get it yourself.` He was speechless."