‘The Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun’: The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, 1914–18
When the idea of a women’s corps attached to the armed services was first raised, it received the same kind of ridicule and disbelief which had earlier surrounded proposals for women police and for many of the same reasons. Women in the army seemed to be the opposite of Victorian feminity that was based on family-centred dependence and weakness. A soldier had to be aggressive, independent of emotional ties with allegiance only to his superiors. Yet by the end of the war in 1918, a Women’s Auxiliary was established as part of the British Army. The way this change came about, the problems and tensions it created for the men of the army, the general public and particularly for the women volunteers themselves are the focus of this chapter.
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