• CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Rise of the Lionesses: New exhibition explores changing roles of women in the British Army

Vehicle chassis on display in Rise of the Lionesses exhibition

A new spotlight exhibition at the National Army Museum in Chelsea explores the changing roles of women in the British Army from 1917 to the present day. The free exhibition is written in partnership with the WRAC Association and runs until 20 October 2019.

Rise of the Lionesses charts the major contributions women have made to the Army's history. On display for the first time is the combat shirt and medical kit belonging to Sergeant Chantelle Taylor, the first female British soldier to kill in combat.

Additional highlights include the first Army-issue bra and the vehicle chassis used to train Princess Elizabeth (now Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) while she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) during the Second World War.

The exhibition examines the relationship between society and the Army. It considers how the perception of ‘appropriate’ feminine roles affected the contributions of female soldiers and how women fought to redefine those roles.

Ali Brown, vice president of the WRAC Association and retired British Army colonel, says:

'Without the women who have gone before - who faced and broke down so many societal norms - myself and many like me would not have had the full careers, with operational deployments, that we had. All barriers are now down to women serving in the Army and that is what this exhibition is about: where we have come from, where we are, and where we are going.'

Now is a significant time to recognise gender balance in the Army for three main reasons:

  1. In October last year, the Ministry of Defence announced that all roles in the British Army would now be open to women, finally including combat roles in the infantry and special forces
  2. This year is the centenary of the WRAC Association, which was the first - and remains the only - charity that cares for veteran and serving female soldiers in the British Army
  3. 2019 marks 70 years since the formation of the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC). It was disbanded in 1992, when women were integrated into the rest of the Army's regiments and corps, instead of being in their own unique unit.

The show runs until 20 October 2019 with an extensive public programme alongside.

For more information please contact:

Claire Blackshaw | PR & Communications Manager
E: cblackshaw@nam.ac.uk | T: 020 7881 2433

Hannah Kapff or Chrys Salter, Curious PR (WRAC Association)
E: hannah@curiouspr.com or chrys@curiouspr.com | T: 020 3397 9111

Notes to editors:
  • Exhibition runs from 28 June to 20 October 2019
  • FREE entrance to the exhibition
  • For stories and more information about the public programme: https://www.nam.ac.uk/subjects/women (ticket costs vary and many events are free)
  • Opening hours: 10am – 5.30pm (Monday – Sunday), 10am – 8pm (first Wednesday of every month)
  • General admittance to Museum is free.
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Hashtag: #RiseLionesses

About the National Army Museum

The National Army Museum is the leading authority on the history of our Army. Founded in 1960 by Royal Charter and established for the purpose of collecting, preserving and exhibiting objects and records relating to the Land Forces of the British Crown, it is a museum that inspires, engages and educates. The Museum seeks to tell the story of our Army, the personal experiences of the soldiers who have served in it and to connect the public and its Army, demonstrating how the role of the Army and its actions are still relevant today.

About the WRAC Association

The WRAC Association is a vibrant charity with two main objectives:

  1. Veterans Membership: The Association provides comradeship, friendship and support to over 3,000 members (all female Army Veterans) via a network of regional branches, events, participation in parades, a membership magazine, Lioness, and the maintenance of historical links. Membership is open to all women from the ATS, WRAC, or modern-day British Army
  2. Benevolence: The WRAC & ATS Benevolent Fund distributes grants to former servicewomen (1917-1992) in need of financial assistance. In 2016 the charity awarded over £220K in benevolence grants. www.wracassociation.org

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."