Twenty-five Norfolk women in uniformed service are known to have died during or as a result of the First World War. This Roll of Honour collates their stories for the first time.
First World War Women of Norfolk Legacies
Soon after the end of the First World War the wartime industries that had been staffed by women quickly began to wind down. The Auxiliary Hospitals closed, most women returned home from regular work in industry and agriculture and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Women’s Royal Naval Service and Women’s Royal Air Force had all been disbanded by late 1921.
For this strand of the project volunteers uncovered the changing roles and legacies of Norfolk women during the First World War and beyond. Their research reveals stories of women who helped to change society’s perceptions of women in every aspect of life; from work to politics.
EXPLORE THE HISTORY
Alongside the First World War ran the fight for female empowerment, through two lines of ideology. The suffragettes, with protest and confrontation, and the suffragists through peaceful campaigning. The fight for women’s rights to vote in Norwich saw both sides of this.
Women played an active part in fundraising for the war effort. A Women’ demonstration at Norwich Tank Week encouraged the public to buy War Bonds and War Savings Certificates, a duty also supported by the Women’s Institute which emphasised the importance of village community.
After the war women had to adapt to the changing circumstances they found themselves in, including war-wounded husbands, broken families or lack of income. Such pressures often led to criminal activity. community.
As more women joined the workforce and took on the roles of men their clothing had to adapt to ensure their comfort and safety. Styles, lengths and materials all became subject to change.
On the home front school children and youth groups were also keen to do their bit for the war. Fundraising drives, weekend work and cultivating allotments became embedded in school culture while education focused on the future post-war.