The First World War (1914 - 1918), happened mainly in Europe. This global war was triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on the 28th June 1914. This led to open warfare in Europe within a month itself. This was the time when men had to leave their jobs and land, to fight overseas. Women took over many jobs, to fill in the needs, during this time of crisis. They were assigned many dangerous missions as well. With increasing pressures at the work front, women also had to treat the wounded soldiers or handle jobs that involved heavy work, such as unloading coal. Women thus showed a lot of courage and grit along with determination. Here's a look at the notable and remarkable women who made a mark in World War 1.
Dorothy Lawrence (4 October 1896 - 1964)
This dynamic lady was born in Polesworth, Warwickshire. From the very beginning, Dorothy Lawrence had a strong desire to be a war reporter. In the year 1914, with the commencement of World War 1, she strongly tried to get employed as a war reporter, but it seemed improbable, since men also had a reportedly tough time to procure the same job. She finally managed to secretly pose as a man, and thus, became a soldier in World War 1. She was assisted by two English soldiers, who helped her cut her hair in the typical military style. She underwent a lot of hardships and even managed to use a forged identity later on. Due to ill health, she finally presented herself to the commanding sergeant. After this incident, she was declared as a spy. Her tale of disguising herself as woman was kept under wraps for fear that many more women would follow suit. She was not even permitted to write or publish any articles regarding the same. It was only after the end of World War One, that Dorothy Lawrence wrote about all her experiences, which was finally discovered by a historian.
Flora Sandes (January 22 1876 - 1961)
She was the only British woman to be officially enrolled as a soldier during World War 1. She was also known widely to be the first woman to be commissioned as an officer of the Serbian army. She was born in Poppleton in Yorkshire. She received training at an early age at the Ladies' Nursing Yeomanry, and thus, became the first volunteer to become a nurse. Around August 1914, Flora joined a group of women to help in the crisis seen during that period. She joined the Serbian Red Cross but was separated from her unit. For the safety factor, she joined the Serbian regiment. This quickly secured her the rank of a Corporal, but she was later injured in a combat. This was around the same time when Flora Sandes was promoted to the post of a Sergeant Major. She also helped to raise funds for the Serbian Army. Due to her injury, she was unable to serve the army, and therefore, she continued to run a hospital for the later years of her life.
Ecaterina Teodoroiu (January 15, 1894 - September 3, 1917 )
This Romanian woman is highly regarded as the heroine of Romania. She was born in a small village of Vădeni, which lies in Southern Romania. She joined the Romanian Army in 1916 during the first battle of Jiu. Although she began as a nurse, she finally decided to become a front line soldier. Even though she faced many tough situations, she managed to pull through them with great determination. She thus received the Military Virtue Medal, 1st Class, for her display of courage and determination. She lost her life in the Battle of Mărăşeşti, when she was finally hit by German machine gunfire.
Loretta Perfectus Walsh (April 22 1896 - August 6, 1925)
She was born in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Due to the events that began with World War I, Loretta Perfectus Walsh preferred to enlist in the United States Navy. She also secured the title of the first active duty Navy woman, when she joined a 4 year enlistment with the U.S. Naval Reserve. This happened in 1917. Loretta Perfectus Walsh was sworn as the Chief Yeoman on 21 March, 1917.
Opha Mae Johnson (May 1879 - August 11, 1955)
She was the first woman who was enlisted in the Marine Corps. This happened during the midst of World War 1. Opha Mae Johnson was also known as the first of the total 305 women, who were enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. She initially worked as a secretary, military nurse, and other posts, which women were initially permitted to do.
These courageous women in World War One paved the way for many others to follow suit. Their lives, full of sacrifice and brave deeds, can prove to be an inspiration for people even today.