My last week at school saw me head on a fantastic trip to France, to Normandy to be more precise. We took 26 pupils to the D Day landing beaches. It was absolutely fantastic, a history lesson which I will never forget.
Spending afternoons on the beaches that men battled over, standing on the famous Omaha beach, learning the plight and fate of so many courageous boys. What really caught my eye however was learning about the paratroop regiments, the incredibly brave men who simply jumped out of a plane, very often not knowing where they would land.
We visited a gorgeous little town in Normandy where an American air base museum was set up. It was here that an American para, John Steele got stuck on the top of the village church steeple. He hung there, deciding to play dead after the Germans shot him in the foot. He was captured but escaped during German in fighting. This sleepy little village now houses a reminder of that fateful night when the American’s parachuted in.
Of course it wasn’t all about the men and the fascinating American museum really got me thinking about women at war and my eye was caught by the display of women’s uniforms…
Check out the powder compact in the back left hand corner of the next photo. It made me think that elegance and keeping up appearances was still important to women even with a war on. I can imagine that the modern-day army may not provide powder compacts, however I like to think that actually these women used it to keep them grounded, keep a little bit of normality when life around them was so so hard. We all do it don’t we, it helps to keep our feet on the ground and very often keep us sane when life gets mad. I am sure that the incredibly brave women in the army today will have those little things they like to do to bring a little normality into their world.
I loved that the ladies had their sewing kits close to hand too 🙂 Girls after my own heart. Elegance through hardship was also apparent in the stocking department too, check these out…
Have a little look at the variety of uniforms and what women may have looked like in action..
Just visiting this museum and spending the few days in Normandy has really inspired me to research into the role of women within WW2. I know the basics but would love to read up about stories and along the way marvel at the outfits and their ability to continue to look so fab throughout hardship.
On a more personal and serious note the whole trip has really helped me keep life in perspective. The things I go through every now and then are really hard yes, but to live through 6 years of war.. people had it hard and really I don’t know what real hardship is. It has helped me to not get so frustrated or narrow minded about my life and remember that we can all learn something from the war spirit. Community, resilience, giving one another a loving, helping hand and staying elegant through all life’s situations will go a long way.
Anyone with information or relevant books about women in the war please let me know any info.
Happy hunting and learning from the past 🙂
Olive & Emxxxx