Oldham Historical Research Group

'What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.'
from 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' by Wilfred Owen

1914 - 1918

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From 'The Oldham Evening Chronicle' September 7th 1914 (Transcript)

Women Volunteers Clamouring For The Front

It was said yesterday by the head of a local Volunteer Women's Corps that, "if Kitchener had asked for half a million women he would have been over enlisted by first post."

Women who have just joined the Red Cross and are quite innocent of training are clamouring to go to the front. Countless beds are already in position in Country Houses and nurses arranged for. Shirts and socks by the thousand are being made by women and girls. Quartermaster-Sergeants in towns and villages have promise of beds and bedding enough to supply a million wounded. Many women are demanding refugees whom they may care for and in this direction a more capable organisation of women is at work. Some women are even begging leave to enlist. In the midst of this accumulated energy men who are not fighting begin to feel themselves singularly useless. "When they've done making splints and have been taught stretcher-drill what are the poor things to do?" said one busy woman. "Play the constable." seems to be almost the only answer, since women have become so overwhelmingly efficient.

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