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Queen unveils memorial honouring Women in War
Published Saturday 9th July 2005
Her Majesty the Queen unveils the memorial to the Women of World War II, Whitehall, London, 9 July 2005 [Picture: Cpl Ross Tilley]
Female veterans admire the memorial to Women in World War II, Whitehall, London, 9 July 2005 [Picture: Cpl Ross Tilley]
A helicopter fly-past crewed entirely by women, on the occasion of the unveiling of the Women in World War II memorial, Whitehall, London, 9 July 2005 [Picture: Sgt Graham Spark]
Her Majesty the Queen after the unveiling of the Women in World War II memorial, Whitehall London, 9 July 2005 [Picture: Cpl Ross Tilley]
More often than not, they were left behind when their men went to war, left with the anxiety of not knowing what was happening, fearing the worst, dreading the arrival of a brown envelope.
But today the women of World War Two were honoured when Her Majesty the Queen unveiled a remarkable monument close to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, in recognition of the crucial contribution made by more than seven million women to Victory in Europe and Victory over Japan 60 years ago.
The memorial is more than a tribute to those who lost their lives in World War II. It celebrates all those who willingly gave up six years of their lives in service to their country - the women who built bridges and ships; made munitions and aircraft; worked 18 hours a day on the land; worked as code breakers and agents behind enemy lines and women who risked their lives as air raid wardens and fire watchers.
The stark 22ft high bronze monument by John Mills depicts seventeen sets of women's clothing hung on pegs, just as if they had been left there by women as they returned home when the job was done.
And the job of the Women of World War II Trust is now done, said Patron of the Trust, Baroness Betty Boothroyd.
In tribute to their predecessors, seven female pilots from all three Services flew five military helicopters - Apache, Sea King, Lynx, Chinook and Merlin - and two Tornado F3 fast jets, over the Memorial.
The helicopter formation was led by a Chinook HC2 of 27 Squadron, RAF Odiham, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Hannah Brown. Deputy formation leader was a Merlin HC3 of 28 Squadron, from RAF Benson, captained by Flight Lieutenant Penny Grayson, with Flt Lt Michelle Goodman as co-pilot.
The remainder of the formation consisted of a Sea King HC4, from 845 Squadron RNAS in Yeovilton, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Victoria Arden; a Lynx AH7, from 659 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, Wattisham, piloted by Captain Anna Cliff and an Apache AH1 of the Army Air Crew Training Unit, Middle Wallop, piloted by Captain Emma Parsons.
The two Tornado F3s were crewed by Flt Lt Sue Freeman of 56 Sqn, RAF Leuchars, Flt Lt Kat Ferriss of 111 Sqn, RAF Leuchars, Flt Lt Helen White and Flt Lt Liz Dawson of 11 Sqn, RAF Leeming.
Listen to our audio files of interviews with veterans to hear the wartime experiences of some female veterans, and what they think of the new memorial.
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