• 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Women

Section Leader Mary Oldnall of the ATS working electrical apparatus, Shoeburyness, c1941

Section Leader Mary Oldnall of the ATS working electrical apparatus, Shoeburyness, c1941
Featured

Hidden voices: Mary Coomer

The voice of Mary Coomer, who served in the ATS during the Second World War, was recently discovered in the National Army Museum's collection of oral history interviews. This is her story, in her own words.

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Explore Women stories

Section Leader Mary Oldnall of the ATS working electrical apparatus, Shoeburyness, c1941

Hidden voices: Mary Coomer

The voice of Mary Coomer, who served in the ATS during the Second World War, was recently discovered in the National Army Museum's collection of oral history interviews. This is her story, in her own words.

explore this story
Valerie Erskine Howe, Auxiliary Territorial Service, on a motorbike, c1944

Hidden voices: Valerie Erskine Howe

What would you do if your partner told you to get out there and 'learn about life' before they would marry you? Valerie Erskine Howe opted to join the Army... in the middle of a war. This is her story.

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Lapel badge, War Widows Association of Great Britain, 2018

War Widows Association: Supporting the families of the fallen

Today, the UK government makes financial provision for the spouses and partners of soldiers who have died in the line of duty. But this has not always been the case, and there have been a number of changes along the way.

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Cap badge, other ranks, Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, c1950

Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps

This medical unit provides nursing services to British Army soldiers. Although formed in 1902, it traces its origins back to Florence Nightingale's pioneering nursing work during the Crimean War.

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Women's Royal Army Corps

Women's Royal Army Corps

Formed in 1949, this corps was the women’s branch of the British Army. Its members undertook a variety of important roles until 1992, when its remaining personnel were integrated into the Adjutant General's Corps.

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Auxiliary Territorial Service

Auxiliary Territorial Service

Formed in 1938, the Auxiliary Territorial Service tasked women with a range of vital roles during the Second World War. It was disbanded in 1949, when the remainder of its troops transferred to the newly formed Women’s Royal Army Corps.

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Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps

Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps

This unit was formed as the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1917 to free up more men to fight in the First World War. It was the first time women had served in the British Army other than as nurses.

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The war on glamour

The war on glamour

During the Second World War, the Army relied on women to perform essential military roles. But some of the tactics used to recruit new members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) proved highly controversial.

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Women’s work?

Women’s work?

Discover how women’s contributions to the British Army have helped bring about change over the past 100 years. And see how Army recruiters have adapted their messaging accordingly.

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ATS women at a train station, 1944

Breaking boundaries

During the Second World War women took on increasingly diverse roles. But, like their First World War predecessors, they were still prevented from fighting.

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Gun disguised as a pen for use by SOE agents, 1945

Special Operations Executive

Formed in 1940, SOE was an underground army that waged a secret war in enemy-occupied Europe and Asia. Its agents demonstrated incredible courage and resourcefulness in their guerrilla war.

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Private Laura Docherty, Royal Army Medical Corps, on patrol with the Royal Irish Regiment in Helmand, 2010

Fit to fight: Women in the Army today

Women were finally allowed to undertake combat roles in 2016. But even before that, many female soldiers had been serving in war zones around the world.

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Explore Women events

Florence Nightingale tending to wounded soldiers at Scutari Hospital
Primary (virtual)

1 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Florence and Mary (virtual)

Discover the historic contributions of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole and why they have been remembered (or not) over time.

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A British medical orderly treats a wounded German soldier, c1916
Secondary (virtual)

1 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Trench medicine: Illnesses, injuries and their treatment (virtual)

Explore artefacts and sources on the causes and treatment of injuries and illnesses on the Western Front during the First World War, and assess the impact of these innovations.

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Trench medicine: Illnesses, injuries and their treatment
Secondary workshop

6 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Trench medicine: Illnesses, injuries and their treatment

Explore artefacts and sources on the causes and treatment of injuries and illnesses on the Western Front during the First World War, and assess the impact of these innovations.

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Sister Evelyn Morgan character actor
Performance

10 July 2022

FREE

Soldier Stories: Sister Evelyn Morgan

Meet characters, both real and imagined, from the Army’s past and hear their amazing stories in our galleries.

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Explore Women learning resources

Shirley Hamilton: ATS Servicewoman
Video

KS2-KS3 (Ages 7 to 14)

Shirley Hamilton: ATS Servicewoman

Explore the contribution of Caribbean women who joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) during the Second World War.

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Marvellous Mary Seacole
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

Marvellous Mary Seacole

Discover more about Mary Seacole and her work at the British Hotel during the Crimean War.

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Florence and Mary: Scavenger hunt
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

Florence and Mary: Scavenger hunt

Try our at-home scavenger hunt to help Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole on their journey to the Crimea.

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Take a view on soldiers
Video

KS3 (Ages 11 to 14)

Take a view on soldiers

Explore the real people performing a soldier's tasks, their reasons for joining and the lasting impact it can have on their lives.

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Join the conversation

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