Is Dorothy really the only one?

So in class, we mentioned that Dorothy Lawrence is the only woman proven to have participated on the front lines in WWI. As dubious as I am, I couldn’t believe it. So, I did some of my own research and found out about a couple more women who (may or may not have-I don’t have much proof) enlisted.

  1. Flora Sandes (1876-1956)

    Flora Sandes in uniform

    Sandes began as a St. John’s Ambulance volunteer and upon traveling to Serbia to provide aid, joined several different Serbian ambulance volunteers. During the retreat of Serbian forces through Albania (often referred to as the Great Retreat), all of her fellow ambulance staff were killed or deserted. No longer useful as one person, General Miloš Vasić enlisted Sandes as a private in the Serbian 3rd Army and she quickly advanced to Corporal and finally, Sergeant major. During her service, she received the highest decoration of the Serbian Military, the Order of the Karađorđe’s Star. In 1916, Sandes published an autobiography about her time in the war and titled it: An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army.   

  2. Maria Bochkarevka (1889-1920)

Maria Bochkareva and the Women’s Battalion of Death

In order to escape an abusive family and husband, Maria Bochkarevka wrote to Czar Nicholas II and petitioned the Siberian law disallowing women from service. The Czar granted her request to serve and Bochkarevka was sent to the front in 1915. In 1917, Bochkarevka began the Women’s Battalion of Death, an “an all-female combat unit designed to shame the male soldiers of the Russian Army into fighting harder.” In the summer offensive of the same year, the Women’s Battalion of Death went into battle and penetrated three trench lines. Later in life, she met a Russian journalist in New York and together the pair wrote her autobiography.

Link to a brief overview of Bochkarevka and Sandes

Link to a NY Times article about Bochkarevka

A really cool video about Bochkarevka done by the same channel we’ve been watching all semester:


A video about Flora Sandes:


Videos- WWI Fashion

I stumbled across this video about WWI women’s fashion without even looking for it. I guess this class is following me, haha.

I also found this one specifically about how nurses dressed.

I thought these were very interesting, especially following our reading of Not So Quiet and our discussion of how Nellie and the other women rebelled in their fashion over time for practicality’s sake. I also thought it was very interesting how many women were abandoning corsets, but nurses were still required to wear them. There’s a lot of very interesting information in these videos. I found it interesting how it was mentioned that most VAD nurses were wealthy volunteers and how this would’ve been these women’s first time out of fashionable clothes. It reminded me of Nellie.