Women’s Royal Army Corps recruiting poster, c1950

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28 June - 20 October 2019

Rise of the Lionesses

Visit our free exhibition and explore the changing role of women in the British Army through the lens of the Women's Royal Army Corps.

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Explore Women stories

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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Entry of the 5th Lancers into Mons, 1918

Soldiers in love: Courtship, engagement and marriage

Despite the difficulties, soldiers' affairs of the heart have flourished; some casual, others ultimately leading to engagement, marriage and a life together.

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Soldiers and women on a march, 1811

Soldiering wives

During the 19th century, soldiers' wives played a significant role in supporting troops on campaign. Here we take a look at some of these women, a few of whom became minor celebrities.

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1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment, Iraq, 2004

Equality and the Army

The modern British Army declares itself an equal opportunities employer. But becoming so has presented challenges for an institution deeply rooted in hierarchy, routine, regiment and tradition.

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Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Highland Fusiliers, Helmand, 2011

A timeline of women in the Army

Since 2018, all British Army combat roles have been open to women soldiers. However, the history of women's service in the Army stretches much further back in time.

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WAACs on parade, c1917

Stepping into line

As the entire nation mobilised for the First World War, women stepped up to new challenges.

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Florence Nightingale at Scutari, 1856

Florence Nightingale: The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale was a legend in her own lifetime and one of the most famous women in British history.

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Women's Royal Army Corps

Women's Royal Army Corps

This was the women's branch of the British Army between 1949 and 1992. Its origins were in the voluntary auxiliary units created for women during the First and Second World Wars.

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Explore Women events

What is Total War?
Secondary workshop

3 September 2018 - 30 July 2020

FREE

What is Total War?

Investigate the concept of Total War by tracing the steps taken to prepare for industrialised conflict in the First and Second World Wars.

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Rise of the Lionesses: 70 years of the Women's Royal Army Corps
Exhibition

28 June 2019 - 20 October 2019

FREE

Rise of the Lionesses: 70 years of the Women's Royal Army Corps

Explore the changing role of women in the British Army through the lens of the Women's Royal Army Corps.

find out more
Trench medicine: Illnesses, injuries and their treatment
Secondary workshop

2 September 2019 - 30 July 2020

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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Behind the scenes: Legacy of the Lionesses
Workshop

4 October 2019, 6.30pm

£5.00

Behind the scenes: Legacy of the Lionesses

Join curator Kirsty Parsons and Ali Brown, vice president of the Women’s Royal Army Corps Association, for a unique insight into the changing role of women in the Army.

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Explore Women learning resources

Take a view on soldiers
Video

KS3 (Age 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..."