Remembering women’s war role

Elisabeth Shipton will give a talk on women of World War One.
Elisabeth Shipton will give a talk on women of World War One.

This autumn the Islands Book Trust is exploring more about women in history, with a talk being given at the Museum and Archive Centre, Lews Castle, Stornoway on October 17th.

This second talk in the women in history series will be given by Elisabeth Shipton, author of ‘Female Tommies: The Frontline Women of the First World War’.

Elisabeth Shipton began her career in the world of military museums as the Archivist for the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust and later the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester.

She was also the researcher for three BBC Radio 4 documentaries: ‘At war with Wellington’, ‘Edward the Black Prince’ and ‘100 years of the Royal Flying Corps’.

A History graduate from the University of York, and with an MA in Heritage Management at the Ironbridge Institute, Birmingham, Elisabeth enjoys researching real-life stories from all periods of military history and bringing them to new audiences.

This talk will be the first event held at the new state of the art museum and archive facilities at Lews Castle and the Islands Book Trust are very grateful to the staff for their assistance.

The role of women in wars is often glossed as secondary or passive. This latest talk highlights the very active role played by our brave women in fighting for the freedoms we enjoy.

The Great War saw women take an unprecedented role in global warfare. Thousands of women were an active part of armies in various nations. Elisabeth’s new book details in vivid language the role that the ‘female Tommies’ took in what became an extraordinary commitment often understated in history.

Using memoirs and real-life accounts, the book draws readers into the lives of women who demonstrated phenomenal conviction in chaotic times. Readers can hear the colourful but alarming accounts of war-time women like Flora Sands, a British woman who served with the Serbian Army and was an active part in the rearguard of the Iron Regiment involved in the Bulgarian advance.

Dorothy Lawrence managed to smuggle herself to Paris where she stole a uniform and headed off to fight for her country.

The telling of these personal accounts prove an excellent vehicle in relaying to this generation the incredible sacrifices made by women in spite of fear and the real threat of injury and death.

Elisabeth Shipton has opened up a part of history hitherto overlooked and this new effort can only be the start of further historical insight into the selfless acts undertaken by women for their country.

The talk will begin at 7pm and will be followed by a book signing with Elisabeth Shipton. Entry is £8 or £5 for Islands Book Trust members, with new members always welcome.

Students are entitled to a 50 percent discount on production of a valid Young Scot/UHI Student card.