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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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 - 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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Women and the Army
Workshop

2 March 2019, 10.00am

FREE

Women and the Army

Discover how women have helped shape the British Army with a day of performances, music and talks.

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The women of the SOE and Ravensbrück camp
Talk

8 March 2019, 11.30am

FREE

The women of the SOE and Ravensbrück camp

On International Women’s Day, join Dr Kate Vigurs to learn about seven significant women who risked their lives for an important cause.

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The adventures of Mother Ross
Performance

9 March 2019

FREE

The adventures of Mother Ross

Join us for a performance of the incredible tale of Mother Ross, who disguised herself as a man to join the British Army.

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The Wasbies in the Second World War
Talk

15 March 2019, 11.30am

FREE

The Wasbies in the Second World War

Elizabeth Lockart-Mure tells the little-known story of the Women's Auxiliary Service (Burma), which ran mobile canteens for the Allied troops involved in the Burma campaign.

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Campaigning for war widows in the 21st century
Talk

22 March 2019, 11.30am

FREE

Campaigning for war widows in the 21st century

Mary Moreland, Chairman of the War Widows Association, will discuss the charity’s history and its role in campaigning for equality for all war widows in Great Britain.

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