It has been 100 years since women were first allowed to perform roles within the British Army other than nursing, and 1 year since women became eligible to serve in combat roles for the first time.
Image source: www.ssafa.org.uk
Back in July 1917, women's roles within the Army included cooking, adminstration and some mechanical work, but today women cover all areas of duty within the Forces. This includes close combat roles in the Army, Royal Marines, Royal Armoured Corps, and Royal Air Force Regiment.
During the last 100 years, British females have served next to men in key wars and conflicts, including World War One, World War Two, the Falkland’s War, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Libyan Civil War.
To recognise this important contribution and mark the 100th anniversary, SSAFA has commissioned renowned war photographer Robert Wilson to create an iconic image of currently serving women and veterans from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Airforce, including Olympic gold medallists Dame Kelly Holmes and Heather Stanning OBE.
The photograph features 12 inspiring women; the first woman to kill in combat, the highest-ranking woman in the British Army, the first transgender woman to serve and a 95-year-old veteran who served in World War Two.
The National Army Museum is also marking this important milestone, with a conference being held on 24th June to review decades of debate around the role of women in the military, and to consider the roles they might perform in the future. The conference will cover all aspects of women’s military service from 1917 to the present day, whether historical, operational, political, sociological or philosophical. Find out more about the conference and buy your ticket here.
Read more about SSAFA's campaign here.