Sunday, 9 March 2014
Women Warriors - in the Crimea
Since the Crimea is in the news at the moment, I thought I'd post this picture from an earlier conflict in the region - the Crimean War of 1855. It wasn't all noble (but stupid) cavalry charging the Russian guns - there was the lady with the lamp, Florence Nightingale, inventing modern nursing, Mary Seacole funding her own nursing efforts with her British Hotel for convalescent soldiers (having been turned down as one of Florence Nightingale's nurses), and Dr James Barry, the surgeon who was actually Margaret Bulkely in disguise, on the English side, together with officers' wives and the wives of Other Ranks, cooks and laundresses. In the nursing and support roles, the Crimea was heaving with women who were involved with the conflict - but did any of them fight? The nearest I can get to a woman in uniform is this French Cantiniere - she ran the soldiers' canteen.
So here, it seems, all the women stayed behind the lines and didn't take part in the actual fighting.