LG praises the role of women in the military

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THE ‘role and sacrifice’ of women in past and present military conflicts is ‘too often overlooked’, the Lieutenant-Governor has said in his annual Poppy Appeal message.

Government House. Eileen Smith (Chairlady of Parkinson’s Jersey) receiving her British Empire Medal from the Governor, Sir Stephen Dalton Picture: ROB CURRIE. (26289594)

Ahead of tomorrow’s Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph and Armistice Day on Monday, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton said it was important that the vital part played by women, including field nurses and pilots, was not forgotten.

In his message, which is printed on page 14, Sir Stephen said: ‘For over a hundred years now, on 11 November, we stop for just a few minutes to reflect, to remember and to consider the debt we owe to our grandfathers, fathers, sons and daughters who fought in the two world wars and in many more recent conflicts.

‘However, in that vein, we must also remember those women who volunteered as field nurses and Special Operations Executive Agents in past conflicts and those who lost their lives in the factories as well as those in uniform who were injured or killed serving in military headquarters and elsewhere.

‘The role and sacrifice of women in past and contemporary conflicts is too often overlooked.’

He added: ‘I am particularly conscious of those amazing women of the Air Transport Auxiliary or ATA, who bravely and often single-handedly delivered aircraft from the factories to the front-line air stations during the Second World War.

‘Importantly, some of the bravest of the ATA pilots delivered Hurricanes across occupied Europe to the hard-pressed Allies including the Russians as they struggled to launch a vital “second front” against Hitler in 1943.

‘Today, women form an increasingly major and critical part of our frontline forces and expect to go into combat alongside their male counterparts. This means that we have, and will have, increasing numbers of female veterans as we enter the third decade of the 21st century.’

Sir Stephen encouraged Islanders to give generously to this year’s Poppy Appeal, which is struggling to match funds raised in previous years. Earlier this week, appeal organisers said that the number of poppy pins being sold was significantly down on 2018’s ‘bumper year’, when the Centenary of the end of the First World War was marked. They said that sales were also down on previous years, and blamed the recent rugby world cup and poor weather.

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