Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Salute for Women at War; Memorial to Those on Home Front in 1939-45 Conflict

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Salute for Women at War; Memorial to Those on Home Front in 1939-45 Conflict

Article excerpt

Byline: ELIZABETH HOPKIRK

THE Queen is to unveil a striking memorial tomorrow commemorating the part played by women on the home front in the Second World War.

The 22ft bronze sculpture, 300ft from the Cenotaph in Whitehall, is the first such monument.

Depicting 17 sets of women's clothing and uniforms hanging on pegs, it is intended to symbolise the roles women carried out.

Designed by John Mills, it will be unveiled following a flypast of helicopters crewed by women.

"Seven million, one hundred thousand British women contributed to victory in World War Two in jobs connected to the effort, yet it has taken 60 years to recognise their contribution," said an MoD spokesman.

"Women made sure men had a functioning country to return to - not just practically but emotionally and morally - and yet women were expected to quietly vacate their jobs and disappear.

"Military women received medals but the majority of civilians did not even get a letter. The memorial is recognition that women did play a vital role and their stories are worth listening to."

Today, three women tell the Evening Standard their stories.

I was driving an ambulance aged 17-

Biddy Cox (nee Dawson), 83

BIDDY, who grew up in Lancaster Gate, was only 17 when war broke out but soon found herself driving ambulances in the Blitz.

"It was a terrible time," she said. "When the telephone rang you had to crawl through dismal light to get to the incident, you could hardly see because of all the smoke.

It was really very desperate, and there was no counselling then."

After three years she went to India with the Special Operations Executive and ended up in a jungle clearing in Ceylon logging agents' coded signals.

"It was a lot of fun and when we had 24 hours' leave we could hitch by air but the conditions were appalling," she said. …

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