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British Army sisters and soldiers in the Second World War

Negotiating nursing explores how the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Q.A.s) salvaged men within the sensitive gender negotiations of what should and could constitute nursing work and where that work could occur. The book argues that the Q.A.s, an entirely female force during the Second World War, were essential to recovering men physically, emotionally and spiritually from the battlefield and for the war, despite concerns about their presence on the frontline. The book maps the developments in nurses’ work as the Q.A.s created a legitimate space for themselves in war zones and established nurses’ position as the expert at the bedside. Using a range of personal testimony the book demonstrates how the exigencies of war demanded nurses alter the methods of nursing practice and the professional boundaries in which they had traditionally worked, in order to care for their soldier-patients in the challenging environments of a war zone. Although they may have transformed practice, their position in war was highly gendered and it was gender in the post-war era that prevented their considerable skills from being transferred to the new welfare state, as the women of Britain were returned to the home and hearth. The aftermath of war may therefore have augured professional disappointment for some nursing sisters, yet their contribution to nursing knowledge and practice was, and remains, significant.

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Emma Liggins

independence, testifies to this coveted respectability. The widow’s subversiveness is however always in tension with, and regulated by, her motherhood. The realm of the ‘post-marital’ (and potentially ‘post-maternal’), realised in the 1930s novels of Vita Sackville-West, provides a particularly resonant challenge to the authority of the heterosexual plot. Whilst the First World War precipitated the breakdown of mourning traditions, as women’s war work partly put a stop to the periods of seclusion demanded by the old etiquette of mourning,15 it is surprising that the war

in Odd women?
David Thackeray

labour on the land and the nascent WI movement provided the widest opportunities for civilians to engage in patriotic voluntary service. The administration of both movements fell under the direction of the Women’s Branch of the Board of Agriculture, of which Edith Lyttelton was deputy director.59 Female Unionists were prominent in the work of county agricultural committees, which met regularly to organise the local administration of women’s work on the land. These organisations sought to present women’s war work as complementing that of men. A Women’s Land Army

in Conservatism for the democratic age
Comparing Mary Macarthur and Sylvia Pankhurst
Deborah Thom

summed up women’s trade unions.15 But many popular texts celebrated women’s work in new places or new jobs as if there had been no working women before, including Jennie Churchill’s Women’s War Work; journalist Hall Caine’s Comparing Mary Macarthur and Sylvia Pankhurst  111 Our Girls Their Work for the War Effort and Gilbert Stone’s Women War Workers, all 1916, portraying women doing heroic war service and drawing the analogy between women and soldiers both serving their country. However, for working women’s representatives the crucial question initially was women

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
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Activism, feminism and the rise of the female office worker during the First World War and its immediate aftermath
Nicole Robertson

briefly during the war women predominated’.3 Yet there is little recognition of these women in the historiography of women’s war work. As Deborah Thom has noted, the predominant ‘image of women workers in wartime, then and now, is of a frail girl wrestling alone with a machine, working heroically and against her nature for the duration of the war only’.4 By examining clerical workers through the prism of the little-studied AWCS, it is possible to add fresh perspective to the well established debate on women and work during the First World War. Moreover, such research

in Labour and working-class lives
British popular fiction and post-war uncertainties
George Simmers

war effort. The Irish, despite the 1916 Easter Rising, provided a supply of brave volunteers; they were also used as comic relief in British war stories. After the Armistice, it was clear that the social problems of the Edwardian age had not been swept away. Women’s war work had strengthened the case for the female vote, so the militant suffragism of the Edwardian period was no longer necessary, but the position of women in the post-war world would need to be renegotiated. In novels ranging from bestsellers like A. S. M. Hutchinson’s If Winter Comes (1921) to Parade

in The silent morning
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Lucy Bland
Richard Carr

of Suffragettes also actively campaigned against the war.23 In this regard women’s peace activism dovetailed, as Marcus Morris’ chapter in this book notes, with many British socialists’ call for peace. 6  Labour, British radicalism and the First World War When people mention ‘women and the First World War’ one question that is often posed is ‘did women’s war work earn women the vote?’ The Representation of the People Act 1918 (also known as the Fourth Reform Act) extended the franchise to include virtually all men over the age of twenty-one by abolishing the

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
Gender, militarism and collective action in the British Women’s Corps
Krisztina Robert

Fever” and Its Control: Gender, Class, Age and Sexual Morality on the British Homefront in the First World War’, Journal of Contemporary History 29 (1994), pp. 325–47. 77 C. Masters, The Respectability of Late Victorian Workers: A Case Study of York, 1867–1914 (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 154–7, 174–5. 78 IWM, SUPP. 32/191, 216. For the most accurate membership numbers provided by the Services’ headquarters, see A. Conway, ‘Women’s War-Work’, Gender, militarism and collective action  165 Encyclopedia Britannica, 12 (1922), pp. xxxii, 1056–7. For the volunteers, see note

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
David W. Gutzke

breaching of gender lines in leisure. In repeatedly portraying women’s war work as a product of a national emergency, officialdom directly addressed societal fears of females sacrificing their femininity through transgressing strict prewar gender boundaries by entering masculine territory.33 Commentators Gutzke_WomenDrinking.indd 59 22/11/2013 11:02 60 Women drinking out in Britain and officials alike implicitly sanctioned women’s drinking in pubs – another incursion into male territory – as an extension of new gender working roles, while simultaneously conveying to

in Women drinking out in Britain since the early twentieth century
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‘’Mid pleasures and palaces’
Hollie Price

of suburban modernism and the interwar home details the ‘tensions between the longings for the past and the aspirations for the future displayed in interwar suburbia […] the suburban interwar homeowner travelled between Tudor times and modern times’. 39 This book builds on these two strands of the ‘betwixt and between’. Covering both the Second World War and immediate postwar years, I analyse films made in a period of social transition. The outbreak of the war and its social upheavals (including evacuation, women’s war work and mobilisation) significantly altered

in Picturing home