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Do not judge too quickly: this Lady is a hero


Friday Lady
   

Unlike last week's Friday Lady or the lady from the week before, this week's Friday Lady does not take the wrench in her own hand. Instead, she seems very critical of the man who fixes her car. Before you conclude that you can drink her blood, take a look at the other pictures and read on for the full story. May be this Lady was transporting blood...

According to this 1918 photographs original caption, the Lady shown here watching a mechanic fixing an ambulance, is a Commandant in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY). The ambulance is a Napier, as the metal nameplate at the top of the ambulances radiator shows. At this time, the Napier Engineering Company was a leading British manufacturer of automobile and aircraft engines.

In 1907 Sergeant Major (later Captain) Edward Baker formed the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), a pioneering women’s unit. He believed there needed to be a quicker and easier link between care on the battlefield and military hospitals in the rear. The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry performed a wide range of front line duties including driving, nursing and cooking. The original purpose in setting up this organisation was to improve the care of wounded soldiers during WO I as they were moved from the front line to the military field hospitals. They were also transporting blood. As they had to serve in forward areas, a number of women who worked for this organisation during the conflict lost their lives.

The FANY were rewarded for their efforts, and allocated an official base to work from in Calais. Here they gathered equipment, ambulances, spare uniforms and also had a canteen for the soldiers. By 1916 FANY nurses had helped an incredible 4,000 soldiers.

When the War finally came to an end in 1918, many of the soldiers reflected on the service they had received from women, who before the war had primarily been defined by their role in the domestic sphere. This had a huge impact on the perception of women in the 20th century, and eventually led to major changes in society.

Therefore this Lady is a hero.

Text: Marius Hille Ris Lambers [http://www.onestop.photo]

Image 1 and 2: National Library of Scotland
Image 3: National Army Museum London

 

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