Munition Wages Poem Analysis Essay

Madeline Ida was born in Woolwich in 1885.   Her parents were Edward, a Civil Engineer from Waterford in Ireland (b. 1849) and Sarah Dinah (born (1858).  Her siblings were Ellen (b. 1878), Alice M. (born 1883) and Edward Terence (born 1896).  Edward Bedford must have worked in India for Ellen was born there.

In 1919, Madeline Ida married married Ernest Bolton Morris at St.Martins-in-the-Fields, London on 24th June They had records one child, a daughter - Madeline B Morris - who was born in Greenwich in 1922.  A Madeline B. Morris married a Bernard O. Green in Westminster in 1946. 

Madeline Ida died in 1956 and the probate record indicates that her daughter’s husband’s name was Bernard Osborn Green.  Madeline Bolton Green was the beneficiary of Madeline Ida Bolton Morris’s estate. 

Madeline's WW1 poetry collection, "The young captain, and other poems:  fragments of war and love" was published in 1917 by Erskine Macdonald.  Her most famous poem "Munitions Wages", was first published in the Farewell Souvenir magazine of HM Munitions Factory in Gretna.  Those magazines were produced for the Dornock and Mossband munitions factories, so it seems Madeline may have worked in one of those factories, as indeed many women of all backgrounds did during the First World War.  

The Gretna Factory is now a museum called "The Devil's Porridge".  The term "Devil's Porridge" was coined by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he visited the factory, which opened in 1916.

Photo from the Museum The Devil's Porridge in Gretna, showing why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle coined the phrase.  Munitions factories were vital to the cause of winning the war.  The soldiers said that those who worked in munitions factories faced as much danger as those who were fighting.   Many munitions workers were killed or injured.

Find out more about the museum here

You can also Like their Facebook page here

The Devil's Porridge Museum, Daleside, Butterdales Road, Eastriggs, DG12 6TQ.

The photo of two volunteers re-enacting "munitionettes" stirring "The Devil's Porridge" was supplied by Richard Brod, who also kindly sent me copies of the poems published in the Farewell Souvenir Magazines written by the women workers at the factories.

Catherine W. Reilly's "English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography, (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978)

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Women's politics, poetry, and the feminist historiography of the Great War.


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Let me go far away so I shall not hear The deep insistent throbbing of the guns; they beat Forever day and night--my tired heart and brain Can find no rest, but beat and throb in unison. (1)

In her poem "The Sound of Flanders' Guns," Mary Beasley describes the physical proximity of southeast England to the soldiers in the trenches during the Great War of 1914-18. The metaphor of the speaker's heart beating in unison with the sound of the guns emphasizes the inescapable emotional and physical links between those at home and those at the front, and the shared tension and suffering they implied. The connections between home and front and between men and women form an integral theme of British women's poetry written during and about the Great War. Such connections have been recently explored in works on wartime citizenship by Nicoletta Gullace, Laura Nym Mayhall and Janet Watson, who argue that the war created new models of citizenship in which women of many political backgrounds sought a greater stake. (2) In this paper, women's wartime claims to participation in economic and political spheres during the war will be explored through their poetry.

British women were active subjects during the war, working, organizing, observing, and writing. (3) in this article, I want to go beyond a historiographical assessment of the war that sets up a boundary between the Western Front as a producer of meaning and authentic experience and the home front as essential and uncomprehending. The public civilian realm was the arena in which the causes and meanings of the war for Britain were first articulated, and new readings of civilian culture offer insights into how the war was conceived and waged at home, and how women presented their roles in war and politics. Thus I will read women's published poetry of the Great War as political and as feminist. (4)

Poetry was one of the most popular cultural forms of the 1914-18 war. As the Times noted, "In a time of stress like this, poetry's ancient claim to be the great consoler, the great lifegiver, justifies itself. And any poetry which has something to say, and says it truly and finely, is more read now that it has been for a long time." (5) The Georgian poets, anthologized by Edward Marsh from 1912 to 1922, had created and fed a new appetite for modern poetry, which the "psychological changes during the world-war" amplified. (6) Poetry was thus a powerful cultural and political medium, in which the contested meanings of the war could be expressed in metaphor and allusion. Poetry was also an art form accessible to British women. The arts had traditionally been more open to women than politics or science, and in the nineteenth century women writers had staked out their literary territory on a wide political spectrum. Women were a substantial part of the poetic tradition in wartime Britain, as writers and readers, and their wartime works offer an opportunity to examine how women writers positioned their sex as central to the war effort.

Poetry also had the advantage of being widely read and easily reproducible in newspapers, other periodicals, and anthologies. Volumes of poetry were perceived as good reading to bring or send to the soldiers at the front--small volumes could fit into a pocket, unlike a bulky Victorian novel, and poems could be read in short bursts. Even more important, poetry is a powerfully allusive form, in which poets refer to larger cultural traditions of which they claim to be a part. Poets could refer to classical and national military victories and a national literary canon in order to instill pride and to make the Great War a part of military tradition. Poetry was thus a large part of what Vincent Sherry identifies as the "public civilian culture of English War." (7)

Of two thousand wartime poets, Catherine Reilly has identified over five hundred women poets; their work accounts for a quarter of all verse published in Britain between 1914 and 1918. (8) British women poets emphasized their public contributions to war through their work, their support of war including voluntary contributions and as producers of sons to fight and to replace the terrible losses of men who had died in the war. In these poems, women expressed feminism through debates on pacifism and nationalism, the themes of female heroism and sacrifice, the desire for active involvement, and the grief and sacrifice that gave them the moral authority to speak of war and their place in postwar British society. If we expand the definition of feminism to encompass demands for inclusion in political and legislative institutions and for the recognition of women's contributions to a wider conception of citizenship, we see how women's poetry championed the enhanced wartime roles of women. Feminism was tied to a variety of causes, both nationalist and pacifist. Poets such as Jessie Pope and S. Gertrude Ford, though on opposite ends of the political spectrum, had in common a vision of women as central to the political heart of a nation at war.

Despite women's vociferous claims for participation in the political culture of war, much of the historiography of the Great War has emphasized dislocation between the "home front" and the Western Front, as in Paul Fussell's argument that the military front was the real creator of meaning in contrast to the ignorance at home. (9) Similarly, feminist historiography has tended to present women, the majority of whom remained at home, as "other" to war, even as they felt the effects of the loss of men at the front. (10) Historians who have argued that the war broke down and restructured gender roles for both men and women have nevertheless emphasized the continued polarity of gender roles, as in, for example, Margaret Higonnet's metaphor of the double helix. (11) Yet the assertion of polarized gender relationships reflects not so much firsthand accounts of war experience but rather a set of iconic cultural representations. Propaganda images used by the government to sway popular opinion in the two years before conscription relied heavily on gendered images either to inspire or shame men into enlisting. (12) Posters depicted a range of female characters, including a beautiful and resolute woman sending her man away with the caption, "Women of Britain say: Go!" Other examples include an elderly mother with her hand on her son's shoulder saying, "Go! It's your duty, lad," and ravaged maidens in the jaws of the animalistic Hun. In contrast, posters aimed at women were designed to encourage good spirits, and featured images of cheerful munitions workers and housewives in aprons whose kitchens provided the "key" to victory. These representations have created images of women as either passive victims needing protection, or unthinking agents of the state. (13) Yet these posters were more didactic than representational. Such was their power, along with the censorship imposed by the Defense of the Realm Act in 1914, that they continue to influence perceptions of British wartime women today. (14)

In the 1920s and 1930s, as the British began to discuss and remember the war publicly, the writings of the "soldier poets" (including Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, and Siegfried Sassoon) began to be published in Britain. Their popularly acclaimed poems celebrated the brotherhood of the shared experience of the front and emphasized the ignorance and unworthiness of women compared to soldiers. Wilfred Owen suggested as much in the poem "Greater Love," in which he compares the female body unfavorably to the physical signs of men's sacrifice: "Red lips are not so red/As the stones kissed by the English dead," and Siegfried Sassoon made it explicit in "Glory of Women": You love us when we're heroes, home on leave, Or wounded in a mentionable place. You worship decorations; you believe That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace. You make us shells. (15)

Sassoon's critique of women emphasizes their willingness to sacrifice men to their own love of ceremony and external manifestations of glory. The phrase "you make us shells" is a double invective against munitions workers and the destructive nature of women's "love." His experience at the front gave Sassoon moral authority for his anger, but the danger for historians has been in accepting this attitude as representational of wider social attitudes rather than one expressed only by a minority of writers.

Women writers who had been to the front lines of battle also sought to draw a distinction between their experiences on the Western Front and those of women in England, in order to privilege their accounts. Some feminist historians have also claimed that women's writings from the front give access to a more authentic experience of war; for instance, Susan Kingsley Kent argues that women at the front represented the war with a tone and imagery "markedly dissimilar" from those at home. (16) But such an emphasis on the difference and separation between the home front and the Western Front, whether contemporary or current, denies the cultural, social, and political worth of women's actions at home. Nor do representations of women seen in British wartime popular culture--what Joanna Bourke calls the "whore, nurse, Madonna" trilogy of roles--reflect how soldiers at the front wrote and thought about women in their private correspondence or how women presented themselves and their relationship to the war in their writings. (17) Gender roles and the relationship between men and women during the war were more complex than such rigid distinctions allow.

Political history has also glossed over the role of women in the years between 1914 and 1918, dismissing radical suffragettes for their perceived unthinking nationalist conversion and the minority of British women who became pacifists as largely impotent in opposition to the war. (18) It has been difficult for feminist historians to unravel relationships between pacifism, patriotism, and feminism in the years between 1914 and 1918. In response to the absence of the vote and the suspension of suffragette and suffragist agitation during the war, historians have tended to present women as political objects rather than subjects and their patriotism as unthinking jingoism. The critical emphasis on pacifism has only underscored the perception of female alterity to war. Penny Summerfield writes that "Feminist pacifism, even when expressed in the language of maternalism and domesticity, has been linked to programmatic demands for equal rights, while female wartime heroism has been first and foremost nationalist and patriotic, rather than feminist." (19) But recent work by Gullace and Laura Nym Mayhall has shown that WSPU (Women's Social and Political Union) wartime parades and patriotic speeches were not merely jingoistic displays but rather suffragette theatre moving to a new arena. Gullace and Nym Mayhall effectively demonstrate how war service of suffragettes and other women helped to consolidate new forms and definitions of citizenship, in which gender was not the only consideration, but which allowed for questions of service, bravery, patriotism, and sacrifice, and which included women, even as it excluded conscientious objectors and alien others. As Krisztina Robert notes, wartime patriotism offered women a fleeting opportunity to give gender precedence over class and allowed them to achieve various political and personal ambitions. (20) The granting of women's suffrage in the 1918 Representation of the People Act was not a reward for wartime service but a reflection of a society in which the demands of modern war had made essential the recognition of women's contributions.

British women poets attempting to find an authentic wartime voice and emphasize the participation of women in the war did so primarily through the articulation of images of female heroism in wartime. While images of male martial heroism abounded in contemporary literature, film, postcards, and other forms of popular culture, it was far more difficult to find or create images of war heroines. Not only were women excluded from combat, the testing ground for martial virtue, but they did not have the same relationship to the traditions of heroism based on chivalric ideals and the Passion of Christ, which, as Allen J. Frantzen has argued, were the models for heroic male suffering in battle. (21) Historical images of women in wartime were also problematic. Joan of Arc, for example, was the wrong nationality, the wrong religion, and dressed as a male soldier to achieve her great martial deeds. Women writers who extolled the heroism of British women in wartime, particularly those who worked as medical personnel near the front lines, instead focused on women's sacrifices, their patriotism, and their service to the nation. As with male soldier heroes, images of wartime heroines emphasized their youth. But women writers were also careful to describe and praise the beauty of women volunteers near the front and their nurturing relationships with men, assuaging fears of the destabilizing potential of women's active service. The assertion of female wartime heroism in a context of traditional feminine virtues is seen most clearly in the example of volunteer nurses.

Volunteer nurses were literally the poster girls of women's wartime work. During the war, nurses were admired by the public as sentimental heroines in propaganda posters, in songs such as "The Roses of No Man's Land," in published photographs by photographers such as Horace W. Nicholls, and in other popular forms such as postcards. (22) Because the role of the nurse was a nurturing one, public praise and commendation of war nurses was more forthcoming than for women whose war roles caused more social unease, such as munition workers. Much of this praise of nurses came from nurses themselves, in public lectures, autobiographies, or poetry. Mary Henderson, who helped Dr. Elsie Inglis set up the fourteen all-female Scottish Women's Hospitals and served with her in Russia, wrote the poem, "In Memoriam: Elsie Maude Inglis," after Dr. Inglis's death in 1917 of cancer. Henderson praises Inglis as both a British heroine who loved "her country's honour and her country's name" and a spiritual woman with a godly "Task": ... The hands, indeed, SO quick to minister where there was need, The hands we loved, may not touch ours again ... Yet we who followed when your footsteps trod Beyond our Island shores, who knew your quick Instinctive action for the helpless sick, Your clear-voiced answer when there came the call For succour from a nation like to fall Who saw the undulled radiance in your eyes Given to those with whom "the Vision" lies We know that in that Flag-protected cask Lies but the weariness of her whose Task, Grown greater than her tired mortal frame, Bears her beyond to greater strength and fame. (23)

Henderson portrays Inglis as a traditional hero brave, capable, and strong. The heroic nurse thus set the standard for a wartime female heroine: patriotic, hardworking, one who sacrificed herself for others, yet whose occupation was undeniably traditionally feminine, even, as the poem says, "instinctive" to care for. and nuture the sick.

In contemporary public perception, the greatest heroine of the war was undoubtedly Edith Cavell, a professional nurse shot by Germans in 1915 for smuggling Allied prisoners of war out of occupied Belgium. Her memorial statue stands in St. Martin's Place in London, inscribed with the words "Humanity, Fortitude, Devotion and Sacrifice" and a plaque that reads "Edith Cavell, Brussels, Dawn, October 12th, 1915; Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness for anyone." Her nurturing role, combined with the practical help she gave to Allied prisoners, made her the "embodiment of acceptable female patriotism." (24) Yet her actions and her death remain ambiguous: her offense was a capital crime under laws of war, and her near-final words "patriotism is not enough" can be read several ways. Is it a pacifist repudiation of the patriotism which led to her actions? Forgiveness of her killers? Or a justification of her actions and acceptance of her sentence? Thus feminists used Cavell as an example of women's military usefulness and willingness to die for her country, while popular representations portrayed her as a girlish sentimental heroine, even a saint. To sidestep the thorny issue of Cavell's actions, Alice Meynell instead recreates the hour of her death: By dial of the clock 'Twas day in the dark above her lonely head. "This day thou shalt be with Me." Ere the cock Announced that day she met the Immortal Dead. (25)

Meynell emphasizes Cavell's heroism by imagining her alone, and yet brave to the last. As Cavell joins the "Immortal Dead," she enters into an exalted lineage of martyrs and heroes.

Cavell became such a powerful feminist icon and sentimental figure precisely because she combined martial heroism with the vulnerable and nurturing qualities of a nurse that made her death seem so outrageous. Public portrayals of Cavell showed her as a young and beautiful girl, not the middle-aged and physically austere woman she was, demonstrating the extent to which beauty and youth were needed to soften the portraits of powerful women. For instance, Winnifred Letts, an Irish Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse (V.A.D.) during the war, wrote "A Sister in a Military Hospital," and is careful to praise the beauty of the sister of her ward as much as her hard work and compassion. The sister's beauty is portrayed as bringing as much relief to those she comes into contact with as her "diligent service": A face that could have brought delight To some pure-souled pre-Raphaelite; Madonna of a moment, caught Unwary in the toils of thought, Stilled in her tireless energy, Dark-eyed and hushed with sympathy. (26)

With its allusions to the sentimental images of nurses reproduced in posters and postcards, Letts's poem reinforces the traditional gendered boundaries into which depictions of female heroism it was felt.

The beautiful, brave nurse was presumed to be dreaming about her man. In poetry, as well as popular perception, nurses were believed to be thinking of their sweethearts while they tended wounded men. Vera Brittain, whose autobiography Testament of Youth (1935) made her wartime experiences famous, became a V.A.D. nurse to console herself for her lover's absence at the front: "And when I look after any one of them, it is like nursing Roland myself by proxy." (27) Linking nurses with absent sweethearts in public perception reinforced their image of ministering angels to men. It also assuaged public fears surrounding women's active wartime service; believing that women nursed men out of love for an absent sweetheart neutralized unease about young women caring for the bodies of wounded men.

The acts of nursing and nurses' positions near the front lines on the Western Front could unleash socially and culturally transgressive forces. The most striking women's war poetry deals with the female gaze on the wounded and naked male body. The relationship between female nurse and male patient during the war was a powerful example of the breakdown of boundaries between the sexes, and seemed to demonstrate the new ascendancy of women over men. Vulnerable wounded soldiers risked being feminized, as were victims of shell-shock, in which soldiers at the front developed "hysterical" symptoms previously attributed only to women. (28) The wounded soldier and female nurse threatened a reversal of the pre-war gendered order, and foreshadowed the figure of the damaged man, who would become a haunting and powerful archetype in postwar life and modernist literature. (29)

Nurses themselves often downplayed the intimacy between their charges and themselves, preferring to describe the men as comrades, friends, and brothers. In A War Nurse's Diary, the anonymous author describes the soldiers as family, "men whose suffering we had shared when we had passed through the horrors of the war." (30) Enid Bagnold also describes the men in her hospital as a family: "In all honesty the hospital is a convent, and the men in it are my brothers." (31) Bagnold's religious and filial description emphasizes the sexlessness of the relations between the women and men in her ward to calm fears of the close contact between soldiers and nurses. But familial bonds did not necessarily conceal the power relationship inherent in nursing, which found expression in metaphors of motherly emotion. Mary J. Henderson's "The Young Serbian" expresses her maternal feelings' towards a soldier in her care: And the boy turned when his wounds were dressed, Held up his face like a child at the breast, Turned and held his tired face up, For he could not hold the spoon or cup, And I fed him ... Mary, Mother of God, All women tread where thy feet have trod. (32)

The destruction of the male body in war underscored both male vulnerability and female power. Depicting men as children and emphasizing the vulnerability of the wounded male body allowed women poets to show how the male "body politic" was being undermined, and to claim that pre-war masculinity was in crisis. (33) Women had the responsibility and, crucially, the power to put men back together again.

Such a sense of power surfaces in women's poetry even when the authorial intention is to honour wounded soldiers. Vera Brittain's poem "A Military Hospital" describes the hospital as a type of way-station for romantic adventurers: A mass of human wreckage, drifting in Borne on a blood-red tide, Some never more to brave the stormy sea Laid reverently aside, And some with love restored to sail again For regions far and wide. (34)

Yet the term "human wreckage" belies the tone of the poem, suggesting the nonhuman quality of wounded soldiers as well as their lack of agency. Though Brittain's intentions were most likely the opposite, the poem provokes an image of wounded men as broken dolls who are discarded for new toy soldiers. The strength of the nurses is revealed in their "love," which restores men to sail again, and in their reverent laying aside of the dead.

Ultimately female nurses and medical personnel were powerful, as Brittain's poem suggests, because they survived while men died. Yet women poets rarely alluded to this, and instead were careful to emphasize nurses' exposure to potential dangers. As Gullace revealed, as the war wore on, patriotic duty was measured less by willingness to kill and more by willingness to make the "great sacrifice." Thus women at the front could increasingly be seen to equal the sacrifice of male soldiers because they were under fire. Martial bravery could be linked to femininity, as in Mary J. Henderson's "Like That": ... I've seen how very gallant women's hearts may be Though torn the while with deepest sympathy, British and women--women to the core. I've seen you kneeling on the wooden floor, Tending your wounded on their straw-strewn bed, Heedless the while that right above your head The Bird of Menace scattered death around. I've seen you guiding over shell-marked ground The cars of succour for the shattered men, Dauntless, clear-eyed, strong-handed, even when The bullets flung the dust up from the road By which you bore your anguished, helpless load. I've seen you, oh, my sisters, "under fire," While in your hearts there burned but one desire What British men and women hold so dear To do your duty without any fear. (35)

Here again, men are "anguished, helpless" wounded bodies, while women take on the responsibility and risk of conveying them to safety. Henderson presents nurses as feminine and sympathetic, but also gallant--women who rise to the occasion of danger. The coupling of "British men and women" in the last stanza is the result of women's duty and bravery: their actions make them the equals of men and include them in the British national civic ideal.

Portraying the heroism of women in nursing, ambulance driving, and other medical roles was relatively straightforward for middle-class women writers who frequently worked in similar wartime roles. Finding an authentic poetic voice to celebrate the heroism of women working in industrial jobs was far more difficult. The dangers inherent in industrial factory work were many. Workers risked poisoning by dangerous chemicals such as TNT. Accidents, factory explosions were common, and German zeppelin raids on industrial areas. Even so, female factory workers were not and could not be perceived as the sentimental heroines of the war in the way that nurses were. (36) Unlike volunteer nurses, women working on munitions were not perceived as patriotically motivated, because their wages were so high compared to the largest pre-war women's occupation: domestic service. Attitudes to female factory workers were also complicated by class prejudices concerning the supposed selfishness and licentiousness of the working classes and, working-class women in particular. The high numbers of female munitions workers, over a million by 1918, raised the specter of postwar male unemployment and a dearth of women to fill domestic service positions in middle-class homes. And as Angela Woollaeott has argued, the wartime interaction of women of different classes on the shop floor and elsewhere exacerbated class tensions and hindered postwar reconstruction. (37) Women's war poetry, written for the most part by middle-class women observing working-class women, reveals the complex and ambiguous role of munitions workers in wartime feminism, and the difficulties inherent in claiming a unified female heroism in wartime.

In Madeline Ida Bedford's "Munition Wages," she takes on the persona of a munition worker: Earning high wages? Yus, Five quid a week. A woman, too, mind you, I calls it dim sweet. Ye're asking some questions-- But bless yer--here goes: I spends the whole racket On good times and clothes Me saving? Elijah! Yer do think I'm mad. I'm acting the lady, But--I ain't living bad. (38)

Bedford uses a cross-class voice to create a dramatic character familiar to her readers: a working-class woman in a stagy accent, reveling in frivolity. Yet her poem also seeks to dispel middle-class fears about working-class female sexual licentiousness. Such cross-class acting was a device that suffragette Lady Constance Lytton used when, in 1910, she dressed as a seamstress to expose class-based differences in the treatment of suffragettes in prison. (39) As Lady Lytton and Bedford's characters show, cross-class characterization presents a unified female voice between women of all classes, while at the same time it reinforces preconceptions of the working classes--in this case frivolous spending.

Class prejudices also surface in women's poetry that criticized the war effort in general. Munitions workers, in the eyes of some pacifists, were betraying the nature of their sex. Mary Gabrielle Collins's poem, "Women at Munition Making," criticized women's munition work as unnatural: Their hands should minister unto the flame of life, Their fingers guide The rosy teat, swelling with milk, To the eager mouth of the suckling babe ... But now, Their hands, their fingers Are coarsened in munition factories ... But this goes further, Taints the fountain head, Mounts like a poison to the Creator's very heart. (40)

The word "coarsened" implies that women's relationship with birth and life is tainted by munitions work and its association with militarism and death. It also suggests assumptions about the "coarsening" effect, both physical and moral, of manual labour on the finer natures of women. Both of the archetypal women war workers, the nurse and the munitions worker, performed rigorous manual labour. While their motivations for such work--including patriotism, the desire for adventure, and wages--may have been similar, public perception cast them in very different lights. While female nurses were celebrated for performing their heroic duties with a delicacy of feeling, women munitions workers were seen as, at best, a necessary wartime evil. Wartime women poets, despite their laudatory attitude to female labour, were not immune to these perceptions. Their views were complicated by fear that claims to female moral superiority were being undermined by the behaviour of working-class women. Thus female claims for political participation in wartime poetry were beset by the same divisions that surrounded the fight for female suffrage in the pre-war years.

Women's wartime poetry reveals the class conflicts that complicated the portrayal of a unified female heroism, as well as the internal conflicts created by the desire for female political participation. Women's poetry expressed the desire for inclusion, adventure, and the chance to serve that wartime work offered, as well as the frustration of what they saw as restricted access to such work. In their attempts to demonstrate the heroic impulses behind women's wartime work, even the most mundane tasks were lit with noble patriotic intentions.

Many volunteer opportunities existed for women in Britain, from nursing to fundraising to sock-knitting, whether arranged by voluntary associations Such as the Red Cross or private groups. (41) The British government also organized women's voluntary labour, which included, from 1915, the Women's Land Army. Land Army volunteers had one of the most physically demanding wartime jobs, labouring on farms and bringing in the harvest. (42) Rose Macaulay, daughter of an academic and herself a novelist in her mid-thirties, worked as a volunteer on Station Farm during the bitter winter of 1916. Without any agricultural machinery, she and her fellow workers helped to prepare the land for planting and tended sheep. In "Spreading Manure," she contrasts the lot of the land worker with that of the soldier: I think no soldier is so cold as we, Sitting in the Flanders mud. I wish I was out there, for it might be A shell would burst to heat my blood ... I wish I was out there, and off the open land: A deep trench I could just endure. But, things being other, I needs must stand Frozen, and spread wet manure. (43)

Macaulay's wry humour gently pokes fun at the contrast between her role and that of the soldier, and at the same time points out the physical difficulties that work as a Land Girl entailed. In other poems, she represented the dullness of women's wartime work as shared by other British women. In the poem, "Many Sisters to Many Brothers," the narrator recalls a childhood in which she equaled her brother: When we fought campaigns (in the long Christmas rains) With soldiers spread in troops on the floor, I shot as straight as you, my losses were as few, My victories were as many, or more.

However, now that both are grown to adulthood their destinies are separated by sex: Oh, it's you that have the luck, out there in blood and muck ... All we dreamt, I and you, you can really go and do, And I can't, the way things are In trench you are sitting, while I am knitting A hopeless sock that never gets done .. for me ... a war is poor fun. (44)4)

While the narrator presents a somewhat flippant view of the war, she nevertheless points out that her dreams were no different than the desire for adventure that led so many men to sign up in the years before conscription.

Even women who made it to the front were not always assured that their desire to be useful and to have adventures would be gratified. Novelist May Sinclair was desperate to contribute to the war effort, and went to Belgium in 1914 attached in an undefined capacity to Hector Munro's Field Ambulance Unit. She was sent home after two weeks. Sinclair's memoir of her experiences in Belgium is in many ways a record of humiliations. She recalls her longing to be helpful, but being physically pushed off an ambulance twice, because "You'll take the place of a wounded man!" (45) Her dedicatory poem, "To a Field Ambulance in Flanders," describes how she wished to follow the allure of "Danger": She called to me from her battle-places, She flung before me the curved lightning of her shells for a lure; And when I came within sight of her, She turned aside, And hid her face from me. But you she loved; You she touched with her hand; For you the white flames of her feet stayed in their running; She kept you with her in her fields of Flanders, Where you go, Gathering your wounded from among her dead. Grey night falls on your going and black night on your returning. You go Under the thunder of the guns, the shrapnel's rain and the curved lightning of the shells, ... You go; And only my dream follows you. (46)

Sinclair was excluded from "Danger" not because she was female. There were four other women in the ambulance corps, including Mairi Chisolm and Elsie Knocker, who would become famous as the brave Women of Pervyse by setting up a dressing station only a few yards from the Belgian front lines. Sinclair was incompetent: she had no medical or mechanical training, no head for figures to keep accounts for the Corps, and was not very good at fundraising, "I began to feel 'sheadmits,' like a large and useless parcel which the Commandant had brought with him in sheer absence of mind, and was now anxious to lose or otherwise get rid of." (47) Having been left behind on numerous occasions by the Ambulance Corps, by the time she left Belgium, Sinclair's humiliation was complete.

Sinclair was thwarted because she felt there was no arena in which she could express her desire to be useful, and that her upbringing had not prepared her with any skills useful in wartime. Helena Coleman also resented the social strictures that kept her from expressing her patriotism. Like Sinclair, her desire to participate was strong, as seen in "Tis Not the Will That's Wanted": Would God that mine were better luck Than falls to the lot of woman, In these great days with the world ablaze And Britain's face to the foeman; In these great days when the hour has struck Calling for every ounce of pluck God help me not to curse my luck That I was born a woman! (48)

Her longing for adventure is presented as a patriotic desire to help her country. The war called for "every ounce" of pluck--as her poem is anxious to assert--and she has it, but cannot use it. The perceived misfortune of being a woman in wartime is also the theme of Nora Bomford's poem "Drafts," which emphasizes the accidental nature and complex consequences of sex: Sex, nothing more, constituent no greater Than those which make an eyebrow's slant or fall, In origin, sheer accident, which, later, Decides the biggest differences of all. And, through a war, involves the chance of death Against a life of physical normality So dreadfully safe! O, damn the shibboleth Of sex! God knows we've equal personality. Why should men face the dark while women stay To live and laugh and meet the sun each day. (49)

Bomford's poem also expressed an underlying theme of much of women's wartime poetry: the guilt they felt at their safety, which was bought at the expense of men's lives. Trapped by the accident of sex, barred from both danger and adventure at the front, women perceived themselves as denied the opportunity to demonstrate their usefulness, courage, and patriotism the way that soldiers could. The frustration voiced by these writers demonstrates their idealization of combat as the highest sacrifice, as well as their hopes for an active citizenship that would cut across gendered lines and be available to those of "equal personality."

Women's war poetry also reveals the debates surrounding what this new active citizenship would entail. Women writers came from a wide variety of political backgrounds, and their poetic representations of women's active civic participation in many ways continued pre-war debates over women's suffrage. Poetry was an important arena in which these debates could be fought, as it was a popular and public form of literature. Accessible and widely printed, poems could also be used as song lyrics, though references to the reception and usage of wartime poetry, other than the reactions of soldier poets, are difficult for the historian to uncover.

Women's poetry, whether written by those opposed to the war or supporting it, sought the self-legitimation of the author in a variety of ways, most frequently by expressing the desirability of female participation. More nationalist poetry, which presents women's wartime role as fulfilling the demands of the newly militarized state, echoes the propaganda images of the happy munition worker, land worker, and volunteer, all of which revolved around a resolute femininity, and were often didactic in tone. Such poems set out an ideal of martial womanhood--Jessie Pope's "Heads Up Girls" is a good example: The feet that used to mince and tap Must stride with vigour now. No longer must a plastic crouch Debilitate the knees; We've finished with the "Slinker Slouch". Heads up, girls, if you please! (50)

Didactic poetry, like propaganda posters and writings, may have been aimed at both men and women to encourage them to enlist in war work. Many wartime poems seem to target potential army recruits and emphasized the glory of war and the shame of wanting to save one's skin. The publication of many of these wartime poems in newspapers would reinforce this aim. To this end, Cicely Fox Smith invoked a familiar national metaphor in her poem "Saint George of England": Saint George he was a fighting man, he's here and fighting still While any wrong is yet to right or Dragon yet to kill, And faith! he's finding work this day to suit his war-worn sword, For he's strafing Huns in Flanders to the glory of the Lord. (51)

Appealing to British heroic figures and the glory of God was a stock theme of nationalist poetry. Such poems sought to inspire with calls to heroism and to nation, and to shame those who would not answer. Calls to shame, particularly women shaming men for their lack of patriotism, were one way in which women could assert their own patriotism. Jessie Pope, the most propagandist of wartime women poets, seeks to shame men into enlisting in "The Call": Who's for the trench Are you my laddie? Who'll follow French Will you my laddie? Who's fretting to begin, Who's going out to win? And who wants to save his skin Do you, my laddie? (52)

Here, male cowardice elicits some degree of sympathy but does not escape condemnation. The simple ballad form of rhyming stanzas makes such poems appeal to a wide popular audience and emphasizes the popular, and potentially public, nature of the calls to enlist. Women's poetry in this instance asserts the patriotism and fortitude of women in wartime, and uses the traditional symbols of male heroism to reinforce the power of women writers' poetic voices in contrast to the perceived cowardice of men who failed to enlist.

Poetry can thus be considered one aspect of the wartime campaigns, both formal and informal, designed to exert pressure on men to perform their patriotic duty. The white feather campaign, in which women publicly gave white feathers symbolizing cowardice to men not in uniform, is the classic example, though as Nicoletta Gullace notes, it was condemned even at the time as "all that was wrong with female patriotism." (53) Some women also resorted to less formal and theatrical measures to push men into enlisting. For example, Sylvia Pankhurst describes in her war memoir a trip to Maidenhead to visit an acquaintance. On the way to the house, the car overtook a young man on a horse: "To my astonishment, Mrs. Astor thrust her elegant head out to the window, and sang out in strident tones: "Charlie McCartney, the pride of the nuts!" Her voice rose to a fierce shriek: 'Why aren't you in khaki?'" (54) Sylvia also recalled her mother, Emmeline Pankhurst, saying she wished her own son were alive so he could go and fight. (55) Encouraging men to enlist and sending their own sons, brothers, and friends was one way in which women could show their patriotism and dedication to the national cause.

To modern readers, the willingness to sacrifice sons seems cold and callous, but present perceptions owe much to our historical view of the diplomatic and military failures of the Great War. Such views, along with the desire to present women's alterity to war, have increased scholarly interest in the actions of the minority of female pacifists on the opposite end of the political spectrum. (56) Pacifism, like feminism, could encompass a wide range of beliefs, the main one being a principled opposition to war. For pacifist women during the Great War, gender was a main locus of their convictions. The belief in essential gender roles set up women as the repository of essential Christian pacifist values and therefore the natural opponents of war.

While pacifists were small in number, they have left many historical traces of their activist campaigns. British women participated in organized pacifism as national members of the International Council of Women and The Women's Peace, and smaller national groups such as the No Conscription Fellowship. In April 1915, female pacifists organized the International Congress of Women, or The Hague Peace Congress, which was attended by over 1,000 delegates from twelve countries. One hundred and eighty British women had applied for exit permits to attend, though they were refused transport at the last minute by the British government under the guise of protecting them from the submarine menace in the North Sea. Only three British women evaded these strictures to attend: Chrystal MacMillan, Kathleen Courtney, and Emmeline Pethwick-Lawrence. Sybil Oldfield's political analysis of the delegates has revealed that they could not be classified as either "radical suffragettes" or "pacifist feminists" by 1915, but, like feminists in wartime, represented a wide spectrum of ideological views. (57)

Women's pacifist poetry, as did women's martial nationalist poetry, celebrated the importance of women's wartime work. The feminine qualities pacifists praised were very similar to more nationalist poems. S. Gertrude Ford, a Quaker and pacifist, praises female fortitude in the poem "To Women": What shall be chiefly said, by scholar and bard, Of you whose deeds shall both alike inspire? Not that ye trod the flames and did not tire, Nor flinch, nor faint; not that with fixed regard, Hands scattering balms, and brows sublimely starred, Ye saw your own hearts waste amid the pyre; Not that ye laboured long, adventured far, Dared the grim sea and won the Golden Fleece, The Right to Work--through each long-hindering bar; Not that your praise did with your works increase, But that ye dwelt amid a world at war, O great example! as a race at peace. (58)

Ford presents a catalogue of the demanding tasks performed by women in wartime, who "laboured long" and "adventured far." The supreme aim of this work, the "Golden Fleece," was not the achievement of pacifist aims, but rather "The Right to Work" and the moral victory of standing as an example of a group untouched by war. Pacifism did not deter women from using women's valuable war work to justify feminist demands. Just as the "Right to Work" march of July 1915, organized by Christabel Pankhurst, had emphasized, women of varying political persuasions pointed to female sacrifices and efforts to assert their right for political inclusion in the national war effort.

But in contrast to Ford's metaphor, British women during the war were not necessarily a race at peace with themselves. Many pacifists blamed the patriotic and nationalist actions of women themselves for the continuation of the conflict. One such writer was Lady Margaret Sackville, a prominent pacifist and poet belonging to the Union for Democratic Control, which called for direct democratic control of foreign policy. In her poem "Reconciliation," she acknowledged female complicity in war: When all the stress and all the toil is over, And my lover lies sleeping by your lover, With alien earth on hands and brows and feet, Then we may meet.... We who are bound by the same grief for ever, When all our sons are dead may talk together, Each asking pardon from the other one For her dead son. (59)

Sackville's sense of responsibility is expressed in her use of a first-person narrator, and by the suggestion that only when each woman has suffered a personal loss will women be reconciled by their shared sacrifices. Sackville tempered her judgment of women's wartime complicity by including herself among those responsible, but not all women poets were as forgiving. Bomford's scathing criticism of female munition workers was paralleled in Helen Hamilton, who, in her book of "war betes noires," criticized women of all types for getting pleasure from the pain of others: You strange old ghouls, Who gloat with dulled old eyes, Over those lists, Those dreadful lists, Of young men dead. (60)

She also berates women for being "Prudes," "Puritans," "Grousers," "Malcontents," and "Scolds." She reserves her strongest scorn for "The Jingo-Woman": Jingo-woman (How I dislike you!) Dealer in white feathers, Insulter, self-appointed, Of all the men you meet, Not dressed in uniform ... Do hold your tongue! You shame us women. Can't you see it isn't decent, To flout and goad men into doing What is not asked of you? (61)

As these poems reveal, British women were not a race at peace but a race at war, along with the rest of British society. Both nationalist and pacifist women poets wrote out of a sense of women's political importance and their own ideological convictions, and used their writings to convince, persuade, and even to berate the audience they knew was there. During the war, feminism was not divided between "Jingo-women" and an idealized pacifist family of women, but was expressed in a variety of forms and political colours.

As the lack of political unity undermined any consensus on ideals of female wartime heroism and civic participation, women's poetry turned to the most elemental unifying element between women: their shared experiences of grief and loss. Women's bereavement in war has been the subject of two recent works by Joy Damousi and Tanja Luckins, who focus on Australian women through their private papers, the records of survivors' groups, and descriptions of public ceremonies such as Anzac Day. (62) As Damousi and Luckins have argued, women's bereavement was the central pivot to a number of conflicting identities for women: mothers, widows, politicized figures, and bystanders. Since most of the soldiers who died during the Great War were too young to be married, their mothers and sisters were at the forefront of bereaved women.

Sackville's "Reconciliation" illustrates how Women used the theme of mothers' sacrifice of their sons to assert their own poetic voices. Motherhood was one of the most powerful ways in which women could claim political voice in war, either as pacifists or as nationalists. Women's maternal bereavement allowed them to situate themselves in a wider national, if not international, community of mourning and belonging. (63) Their emotional loss and postwar survival also allowed them to claim moral authority on how the war was to be remembered.

Women's poetry demonstrates how they used their status as mothers to claim a place for themselves in the nationalist cause. May Herschel-Clarke's narrator in "The Mother" explicitly claims the patriotic value of her sacrifice: If you should die, think only this of me In that still quietness where is space for thought, Where parting, loss and bloodshed shall not be, And men may rest themselves and dream of nought: That in some place a mystic mile away One whom you loved has drained the bitter cup Till there is nought to drink; has faced the day Once more, and now, has raised the standard up. (64)

The first line reverses Rupert Brooke's famous words in "The Soldier": "If I should die, think only this of me/That there's some corner of a foreign field / That is for ever England." While Brooke's soldier's body colonizes foreign soil, Hershel-Clarke's narrator's claim to citizenship is not directly through her own body but through her son as the product of it. Unlike the speaker in Brooke's poem, who gains peace and oblivion through his sacrifice, Herschel-Clarke must face her bereavement in the years to come. She is the one who must face her bitterness and yet "raise the standard up."

In another poem, "For Valour," Herschel-Clarke takes on the persona of a working-class mother who has received a bronze cross for her son's bravery: Jest bronze--you wouldn't ever know, To see it jest a-lying there, It's really made o' golden hair, And firm young flesh as white as snow ... Yes, that's 'is photo. Look at it. Say, don't you think I've done my bit?.. Jest bronze ... Gawd! What a price to pay! (65)

She cleverly contrasts the coldness of the symbolic bronze cross with the individual life it was meant to represent, through the image of the golden hair and white flesh and the photograph. Here a mother's bereavement is used mainly for dramatic and emotional effect, but elsewhere it was also used for explicit political ends. For example, S. Gertrude Ford's "The Soldier's Mother" uses her maternal body and the life it created to question the wartime acquiescence of women: They say I should but weep for joy Because the hero's death he died. Alas! I can but see my boy With that black wound along his side. Died for his country's need? O yes! Men made the war; mere women we, Born to accept and acquiesce. But how long, Lord, shall these things be? The body I built up with pain Through nine long moons--the mother's lot Took not so long to ruin; slain They tell me, with a single shot. (66)

Both the soldier's and the mother's body become emblems of sacrifice in war's wanton waste of life. Yet while the sacrifice of the son ends his life, women were left not only with the pain of the first shock of bereavement, but also the prospect of a future in which they must exist in the world war left behind. Women's sacrifices were therefore not only of loved ones, but of a continued existence in a world made lonely by loss. Mary J. Henderson describes this desolation in "A Grave in France": ... As one who views At setting of the sun on level sand The long line of the darkening sea, I stand And look towards the years through which my days Indefinite stretch without you. Many ways Lead to those graves in France across the sea Which women deck with wreaths of memory. Our path of duty still leads to the grave. (67)

The "grave" which the path of duty leads towards is both the soldier's present grave and the woman's future grave, towards which she must now move alone. Bereavement gave women the moral authority both to criticize the conduct or concept of war, and to have a voice in how the war would be remembered in the post-war years. In Charlotte Mew's poem "The Cenotaph," she describes the building of a war memorial in the village square. The cenotaph, erected in the village from which the young soldiers set out, represents the suffering of the women left behind: But here, where the watchers by lonely hearths from the thrust of an inward sword have more slowly bled, We shall build the Cenotaph: Victory, winged, with Peace, winged too, at the column's head. And over the stairway, at the foot--oh! here, leave desolate, passionate hands to spread Violets, roses, and the small, sweet, twinkling country things Speaking so wistfully of other springs....

The desolate hands of women spreading flowers at the foot of the war memorial underscore the continued pain and grief of bereaved women. Mew characterizes the symbols of "winged" victory and peace on top of the monument as ironic, and a mockery of the suffering of the bereaved: Only, when all is done and said, God is not mocked and neither are the dead. For this will stand in our Market-place Who'll sell, who'll buy (Will you or I Lie to each other with the better grace)? While looking into every busy whore's and huckster's face As they drive their bargains, is the face Of God: and some young, piteous, murdered face. (68)

The cenotaph has multiple symbolic meanings, here most powerfully to assert the memory of wartime sacrifices of young men and the women who loved them on the postwar world. The moral authority bestowed by the loss of loved ones was an integral part of British women's claims for postwar political participation. Their patriotism, war work, and bereavement were themes women used to assert their own claims to a postwar expansion of citizenship.

As Gullace has observed, this renegotiation was solidified in the Representation of People Bill of 1918, which disenfranchised conscientious objectors for seven years. (69) Such a restriction revealed a shift in which national loyalty, rather than sex, was a primary basis of citizenship. The Great Reform Act in 1832 had used the term "male person" for the first time to define the limits of the franchise. Rather than render qualifications equal for men and women, the 1918 bill enfranchised women over thirty under four provisions: as householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of 5 [pounds sterling], or graduates of British universities. Historians have interpreted the expansion of franchise for women as the reward for their war work, though the provisions excluded the young and the poor, both of whom comprised much of the wartime workforce. As early as 1936, Sylvia Pankhurst discounted this idea of the vote as a reward for war service. In her memoir, she recalled a party of French women munitions workers being brought into the House of Commons by WSPU: "The patriotism of the French women was lauded to the skies; but they are still without the Vote! So much for the story that is was their war work which secured the franchise for British women." (70)

Historiographical focus on the franchise has obscured the ways in which women of all political persuasions asserted their own rights to citizenship during war. While such assertions may have been subtle, as we have seen in many of the poems quoted here, they could also be explicit. In her poem "Non Combatants," Evelyn Underhill argues that the sacrifices of women were equal to those of men: Never of us be said We had no war to wage, Because our womanhood Because the weight of age, Held us in servitude. None sees us fight, Yet we in the long night Battle to give release To all whom we must send to seek and die for peace. When they have gone, we in a twilit place Meet Terror face to face, And strive With him, that we may save our fortitude alive. Theirs be the hard, but ours the lonely bed. Nought were we spared--of us, this word shall not be said. (71)

While their struggle may have been inward, Underhill asserts the value of women's contributions to the war effort, which the lonely postwar years made stretch beyond the sacrifices of the soldiers. Thus women positioned themselves as guardians of memory in the years after the war, and as participants entitled to help shape the postwar world.


British women during the Great War spoke in a myriad of voices, in which competing ideologies of feminism, nationalism, and religion coexisted. British women poets sought to give legitimacy to their experiences and writings, and even those who wrote about their philosophical and moral opposition to war asserted that women were integral to the war effort and to ultimate victory. In a period in which citizenship was increasingly tied to participation in the war, women's writings reveal the extent to which they sought acknowledegment for their efforts and a place in British politics. Demanding recognition for their wartime labour, their sacrifice of sons, their political opinions on the war itself, and their survival in a postwar world, women writers argued implicitly and explicitly in their writings for expanded notions of female citizenship in Britain. The Great War gave new moral, political, and cultural authority to women's writings, and to deny wartime feminism as authentic, because of the strand of martial enthusiasm exhibited by poets like Pope, is to impose the beliefs of the present on those of the past.

(1) Mary Beasley, in Alys Eyre Macklin, (ed.), The Lyceum Book of War Verse (London, 1917), p. 46.

(2) Nicoletta F. Gullace, "The Blood of our Sons": Men, Women and the Renegotiation of British Citizenship During the Great War (London, 2002); Laura Nym Mayhall, The Militant Suffrage Movement (New York, 2003); and Janet Watson, Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory, and the First World War in Britain (Cambridge, 2004).

(3) For more on women's observing gaze on the Great War see Jean Gallagher, Worm Wars through the Female Gaze (Carbondale, 1998).

(4) The literature on poetry written by soldiers during the Great War is extensive. See Fred D. Crawford, British Poets of the Great War (Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, 1988); and Martin Stephen, The Price of Pity: Poetry, History and Myth in the Great War (London, 1996); Martin Taylor, Lads: Love Poetry of the Trenches (London, 1989). For discussions of women's war poetry see Nosheen Khan, Women's Poetry of the First Worm War (Lexington, 1988); Claire Tylee, The Great War and Women's Consciousness (Iowa City, 1990); Joan Byles Montgomery, War, Women and Poetry 1914-45 (Newark, 1995); Deborah Tyler-Bennett, "'Lives Mocked at By Chance': Contradictory Impulses in Women's Poetry of the Great War" in Patrick J. Quinn and Steven Trout, (eds.), The Literature of the Great War Reconsidered (Basingstoke, 2001).

(5) As quoted in Paul Norgate, "Wilfred Owen and the Soldier Poets" The Review of English Studies, New Series 40 (1989), p. 516.

(6) Edward Davison, "Some Notes on Modern English Poetry" The English Journal 15 (1926), p. 408.

(7) Vincent Sherry, The Great War and the Language of Modernism (Oxford, 2003).

(8) Catherine Reilly, English Poetry of the First Worm War: A Bibliography (London, 1978), p. 4.

(9) Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (London, 1975). The literature on the social and cultural effects of the Great War on Britain and Europe is vast. See for example: Samuel Hynes, A War Imagined (New York, 1991); Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning (Cambridge, 1995); and Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring (Toronto, 1989).

(10) See Arthur Marwick, The Deluge: British Society and the First World War (London, 1965); and Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, No Man's Land: the Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century, Vol. III Letters from the Front (New Haven, 1994).

(11) Margaret Randolph Higonnet,, (eds), Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars (New Haven, 1987).

(12) In these years, several departments put out propaganda, such as the Home Office, the Foreign Office, and the War Office. In early 1917, the war propaganda effort was coordinated into a new Department of Information, which became the Ministry of Information in February 1918.

(13) For examples of propaganda posters see Joseph Darracott's First World War Posters (London, 1972).

(14) For wartime censorship see Peter Buitenhuis, The Great War of Words: British, American and Canadian Propaganda and Fiction, 1914-1933 (Victoria, 1987).

(15) Wilfred Owen, Collected Poems (London, 1964), p. 58; and Siegfried Sassoon, (Edmund Blunden), An Anthology of War Poems (London, 1930), p. 137.

(16) Susan Kingsley Kent, "Love and Death: War and Gender in Britain, 1914-1918" in Frans Coetzee and Marilyn Shevin Coetzee (eds.), Authority, Identity and the Social History of the Great War (Oxford, 1995), p.165.

(17) Joanna Bourke, Dismembering the Male (London, 1996) looks at, among other sources, private correspondence and sources from front-line soldiers.

(18) For more on the militant suffrage movement see Andrew Rosen, Rise up Women! The Militant Campaign of the Women's Social and Political Unions 1903-1914 (London, 1974); Jaequeline De Vries, "Gendering Patriotism: Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst and World War One" in This Working-Day Worm (London, 1994); and Angela K. Smith, Suffrage Discourse in Britain during the First World War (Aldershot, Hants, 2005).

(19) Penny Summerfield, "Gender and War in the Twentieth Century," The International History Review, XIX (1997), pp. 3-15, 14.

(20) Krisztina Robert, "Gender, Class and Patriotism in Britain," The International History Review, XIX (1997), pp. 52-65, 65.

(21) Allen J. Frantzen, Bloody Good: Chivalry, Sacrifice and the Great War (Chicago, 2004).

(22) See Diana Condell and Jean Liddiard, Working for Victory? Images of Women in the First World War (London, 1987).

(23) Mary H.J. Henderson, In War and Peace (London, 1918), p. 13.

(24) Gullace, p. 156.

(25) Alice Meynell, The Poems of Alice Meynell (London, 1955), p. 80.

(26) Winnifred Letts, The Spires of Oxford(New York, 1918), p. 32.

(27) Vera Brittain, Chronicle of Youth: The War Diary 1913-1917 (New York, 1982), p.215. See also Brittain, Testament of Youth (London, 1935; reprinted 1978).

(28) Elaine Showalter, "Male Hysteria: W.H.R. Rivers and the Lessons of Shell Shock," in The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture (New York, 1985); Jay Winter, "Shell-Shock and the Cultural History of the Great War," Journal of Contemporary History 35, (2000), pp. 7-11; and Annette Becker, "The Avant-Garde, Madness and the Great War," Journal of Contemporary History, 35 (2000), pp. 71-84.

(29) The relationship between modernism and war has been debated since Fussell located modernist themes, if not forms, in the poetry of soldiers at the front. See also Allyson Booth, Postcards from the Trenches: Negotiating the Space between Modernism and the First World War (Oxford, 1996); and Douglas Mackaman and Michael Mays; (eds), Worm War 1 and the Cultures of Modernity (Jackson, Mississippi, 2000).

(30) Anonymous, A War Nurse's Diary (New York, 1918), p. 47.

(31) Enid Bagnold, A Diary Without Dates (New York, 1935), p. 78.

(32) Henderson, p. 15.

(33) Sarah Cole, "Modernism, Male Intimacy and the Great War" ELH 68 (2001), pp. 469-500. For more on crises of masculinity as a result of Great War in other nations see Carolyn Dean, "The Great War, Pornography, and the Transformation of Modern Male Subjectivity," Modernism/Modernity, 3 (1996), pp. 59-72; and Bernd Huppauf, "Langemark, Verdun and the Myth of the New Man in Germany after the First World War," War and Society, 6 (1988), pp. 70-103.

(34) Vera Brittain, Verses of a V.A.D. (London, 1918), p. 21.

(35) Henderson, p. 12.

(36) Because of under-reporting of such deaths, it is difficult to gauge with accuracy wartime death rates for munition workers. Deborah Thom has found evidence for 84 female munitions worker deaths due to toxic jaundice between 1916-18, though TNT poisoning did not always lead to toxic jaundice; Thom p. 133. Nicolletta Gullace cites an explosion in northern England in 1916 which killed twenty-six women workers and wounded thirty others, and an explosion at a factory in Nottingham in 1918 which killed 134 workers, including twenty-five women, Gullace; p. 162.

(37) Angela Woollacott, On Her Their Lives Depend. Munitions Workers in the Great War (Berkeley, 1994).

(38) Madeline Ida Bedford, The Young Captain (London, 1917), p. 7.

(39) Sue Thomas, "Scenes in the Writing of 'Constance Lytton and Jane Warton, Spinster": Contextualizing a Cross-class Dresser" Women's History Review, 12 (2003), pp. 51-71.

(40) Mary Gabrielle Collins, Branches unto the Sea (London, 1916), pp. 32-3.

(41) Bruce Scares, "The Unknown Sock Knitter: Voluntary Work, Emotional Labour, Bereavement and the Great War," Labour History, 81 (2001), pp. 29-49.

(42) See Nicola Tyrer, They Fought in the Fields: The Women's Land Army (London, 1996); and Carol A. Twinch, Women on the Land: Their Story during Two Worm Wars (Cambridge, 1990).

(43) Rose Macaulay, Three Days (London, 1919), p. 34.

(44) Jacqueline Trotter, (ed.), Valour and Vision: Poems of The War (London, 1923), pp. 21-22.

(45) May Sinclair, A Journal of Impressions in Belgium (London, 1915), p. 248.

(46) Ibid., pp. v-vi.

(47) Ibid., p.324.

(48) Helena Coleman, Marching Men (London, 1917), p. 11.

(49) Nora Bomford, Poems of a Pantheist (London, 1918), p. 10.

(50) Jessie Pope, More War Poems (London, 1915), p. 16.

(51) In George Herbert Clarke, (ed.), A Treasury of War Poetry (New York., 1919), p. 23.

(52) Jessie Pope, War Poems (London, 1915), p. 8.

(53) Gullace, p. 84. Surviving evidence of the campaign is scanty, and Gullace focuses on accounts of men who were given white feathers and contemporary literary representations. She also suggests that one reason why the campaign became notorious was because many of the recipients were wounded soldiers dressed in civilian clothes, mistaken for shirking able-bodied men.

(54) E. Sylvia Pankhurst, The Home Front (London, 1932, Reprinted 1977), p. 142.

(55) Pankhurst, p. 67.

(56) See for example Claire Tylee, The Great War and Women's Consciousnes (Basingstoke, 1990); Margaret Kamester and Jo Vellacott, (eds.), Militarism Versus Feminism (London, 1987); and Joan Montgomery Byles, "Women's Experience of World War One: Suffragists, Pacifists, Poets," Women's Studies International Forum, 8 (1985), pp. 473-87.

(57) Sybil Oldfield, "England's Cassandra's in World War One" in This Working Day World, pp. 89-100.

(58) S. Gertrude Ford, Poems of War and Peace (London, 1915), p. 21.

(59) Margaret Sackville, Collected Poems (London, 1939), p. 256.

(60) Helen Hamilton, Napoo! A Book of War Betes Noires (Oxford, 1918), p. 1.

(61) Ibid., pp. 92-94.

(62) Joy Damousi, The Labour of Loss: Mourning, Memory and Wartime Bereavement in Australia (Cambridge, 1999); and Tanja Luckins, The Gates of Memory: Australian People's Experiences and Memories of Loss and the Great War (Fremantle, 2004).

(63) See Susan Grayzel, Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War (Chapel Hill, 1999).

(64) May Herschel-Clarke, Behind the Firing Line (London, 1917), p. 10.

(65) Ibid., pp. 11-12.

(66) Ford, p. 22.

(67) Henderson, p. 11.

(68) Charlotte Mew, Collected Poems (London., 1953), pp. 64-65.

(69) After conscription was invoked in March 1916, conscientious objectors, of whom there were 16,500 by the end of the war, were conscripted into alternative service or sent to prison. Martin Ceadel, (Oxford, 1980), p. 32.

(70) Pankhurst, p. 398.

(71) Evelyn Underhill, Theophanies (London., 1916), pp. 115-16.

Amy Bell is Assistant Professor in the History Department at Huron University College, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. Her book, London Was Ours: Civilian Diaries and Memoirs of the London Blitz will be published by I.B. Tauris in March 2008.
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