Elsie and Mairi Go to War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front

TitleElsie and Mairi Go to War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAtkinson, Diane
Number of Pages280

When they met at a motorcycle club in 1912, Elsie Knocker was a thirty-year-old divorcee, and Mairi Chisholm was a brilliant eighteen-year old mechanic living at home. In 1914, they roared off to London "to do their bit" for the war effort, and within a month they were in Belgium driving ambulances. Frustrated by men dying of shock in their vehicles, they set up their own first-aid post on the front line in the village of Pervyse, near Ypres, risking their lives under sniper fire and heavy bombardment. As news of their courage and expertise spread, the "Angels of Pervyse" became celebrities. Glamorous and influential, they were having the time of their lives, and for four years Elsie and Mairi and stayed in Pervyse until they were nearly killed by gas. But returning home and adjusting to peacetime life--and the role of women in British society--was to prove more challenging than the war.

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