23    Aug 20141 comment

WWI Heroes: British women of the war

While many men went out to fight, it’s important to also remember the little known heroes who fought for their countries during the war.

Many brave women - doctors, nurses and soldiers - served on the battlefront, risking their lives to save others.

In honor of the WWI centenary, we highlight just a few of those heroic women:

Dame Helen Charlotte Isabella Gwynne-Vaughan

In 1918, this English botanist and mycologist became the first woman to receive a military Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. She also served as Commandant of the Women’s Royal Air Force.

Edith Cavell

A British nurse, Edith saved the lives of soldiers from both sides. She was arrested by the Germans for helping hundreds of the Allied forces escape from Belgium to the Netherlands and was sentenced to death and executed in October 1915.

Flora Sandes

She is the only British woman to officially serve as a soldier in WWI. In 1916, she was seriously wounded by a grenade in combat and received the highest decoration of the Serbian Military, the Order of the Karađorđe's Star. After the war, she was promoted to the rank of Captain.

Dr. Elsie Inglis

Dr. Inglis, started the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit, one of the few female medical units on the front lines.

Evelina Haverfield

A British suffragette and aid worker, she founded the Women’s Emergency Corps in 1914, an organization that helped women become doctors, nurses and motorcycle messengers to help in the war. She also served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia as a nurse.

We salute all those women who helped in the war effort and battlefield who were truely brave and an inspiration.

Do you have any women ancestors who served in the war? Share your stories and memories with us in the comments below.

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  1. My first cousin twice removed, Ethel Sarah Hutchings, was the Superintendent of the Royal Military Hospital. I don't have much detail on her but she lived in England and could have served anywhere. Would love to know more about her service!

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