Camp Scenes by William Pyne, 1803 show women washing, cooking, serving beer and travelling with the soldiersshow women washing, cooking, serving beer and travelling with the soldiers.

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A timeline of women in the army

Since 2016 women have been able to serve in combat roles. However, the history of women's service in the army stretches much further back in time.

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Explore Women stories

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

A timeline of women in the army

Since 2016 women have been able to serve in combat roles. However, the history of women's service in the army stretches much further back in time.

explore this story
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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Explore Women events

What is Total War?
Secondary workshop

3 September 2018 - 23 July 2019

FREE

What is Total War?

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

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Explore Women learning resources

Take a view onĀ soldiers
Video

KS3 (Age 11 to 14)

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