callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

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My surprising mother

I'm currently reading Corsets to Camouflage Women and War by Kate Adie and very good it is, too. I really sat up though when I got to page 201 where she writes about the Women's Home Defence League. Although women were doing a great deal of dangerous work during the Second World War there was strong opposition to actually arming them. The redoubtable Dr Edith Summerskill pointed out the folly of having half the population unable to fire a rifle and the WHDL was formed to give women the skill. You can see a group of these women here. Adie goes on, 'though they didn't wear uniform they had a brooch badge, a yellow-bordered maroon shield on which appeared gold crossed rifles with the letters WHD and an automatic pistol below - just to make a point.' Oh. You mean a brooch like this one?

I found this in my mother's jewellery box and had no idea what it was. It has her name and address scratched on the back. I can well believe that my mum could fire a rifle and how absolutely typical of her never to have said anything about it.

More from Kate Adie about women and war in this article from the New Statesman.
Tags: kate adie, mother, rifle shooting, women in wartime

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