Juliette Pattinson
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‘Determined women full of initiative and vision’
The professionalisation of a voluntary women’s corps
in Women of war
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This chapter foregrounds female professionalisation in the FANY through an examination of two case studies of New Women: Mabel St Clair Stobart, who posed a number of challenges to Edward Baker’s chaotic governance, demanded improvements that would turn the Corps into a more professional organisation and subsequently resigned to set up a rival women’s corps, and Grace Ashley-Smith, who sought to work from within to professionalise the FANY (making changes to the Corps’s recruitment, training, uniform, discipline and activities, as well as founding a magazine) and eventually ousted Baker, taking over command herself and readying the Corps for active service during the Irish Home Rule crisis. The chapter draws on the substantial written records that both women left, including autobiographies, articles, a log book, a regimental order book and letters. It also utilises Corps ephemera, including minutes of meetings, regulations and written correspondence, as well as newspaper articles, in order to examine how female members transformed the unit from one that was premised upon the part-modern, part-premodern romantic whims of its male founder into a more professional and decidedly modern women’s equestrian and first aid movement that was in a state of war-readiness.

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Women of war

Gender, modernity and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry


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