Females Join British War Effort - 8/29/1914

History |


On August 29th of 1914, at the dawning of the First World War, groups of women joined the British war effort, which was kind of like an army reserve program. A group was formed in the UK called the Women's Defense Relief Corps.

In fact, a number of new women's organizations were born in Britain during the First World War. These were in addition to the already existing women's organizations, such as the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and the Voluntary Aid Detachments. But a day earlier had been the battle of Heligoland, in which British cruisers sank three German cruisers. The British were going to need all the help they could get. 

World War One was a global war that originated in Europe. The war was triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. He had been the heir to the Austrian Hungarian throne. The archduke was assassinated by a Yugoslav nationalist in Sarajevo. On July 28th of 1914, the Austro Hungarians declared war on Serbia. Russia rallied in support of Serbia. While Russia had its back turned, Germany invaded Luxembourg and Belgium, however neutral those countries tried to be. Then the Germans moved in the direction of France. This caused England to fly into a panic, and declare war on Germany. This caused all the other countries in Europe, as well as some in Africa, the Middle East, China, the South Pacific, and a few other places, to have to choose sides.

The Women's Defense Relief Corps was split up into two divisions. One division was designated for civil service, in which women could take over the jobs of men, so the men could fight the war. The other division was a semi military branch, where women would be trained in drilling, marching, and the use of arms, in the event of an enemy attack. These British women's groups were created by and supported by Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener, the British secretary of state for war.

The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was created in 1917. WAAC members offered a more direct support of the soldiers, enlisting in the army so they could do labors such as cooking, cleaning, and clerical work for the men. Some of them were sent to the fields of battle on the western front, which tended to be less combative. However, they were prepared to fight, if and as needed. This freed more male soldiers on the western front to battle from the trenches against the German enemy. 

The WAAC, in active service between 1917 and 1918, were the first females in the United Kingdom to serve active duty in a war. By the end of the war known as World War One, more than 80,000 women had served Britain as non-combatants.

The Russian government collapsed in 1917. World War I raged on for more than four years, eventually ending in November of 1918. This war resulted in the deaths of more than nine million fighters and more than seven million civilians. 

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