"Just Because I Was Female, They Wouldn't Let Me Parachute...I Still Feel Cross."

Illustration for article titled "Just Because I Was Female, They Wouldn't Let Me Parachute...I Still Feel Cross."

"It was the sort of interesting job men like to do and not let women in...But we were very fortunate. The war gave us an opportunity," says one of the remarkable women whose war experience is profiled in the Telegraph:

Freydis Sharland was a 21-year-old spitfire pilot ferrying planes between factories and the front lines. Emma Smith was a barge worker, moving cargo, who went on to write a best-selling memoir about her work. Margaret Pawley was a spy decoding German messages in Italy.

All of them, profiled at greater length in this article, had remarkable, bittersweet experiences that would have been unthinkable outside of war-time. We've had the advantage of growing up with mothers and grandmothers whose experiences were shaped by the War. It's sobering to realize that it's a generation that is dying, and their remarkable stories with them. We're a culture that, even as it increasingly values the contributions of women - and seems to have an unwavering interest in dramatic representations of World War II - is less engaged by the individual story when it's not packaged in costumes or given the importance of a PBS caption. And while not everyone, certainly in America, has stories of comparable drama, everyone does have stories. Let's hear them.

WW2: The Role Of Women In The Second World War [Telegraph]

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My sister was one of the first paratroopers at Fort Bragg and had a small write up in Newsweek. She was promoted and received a commendation for sneaking into enemy's territory and stealing parts for her company jeep. She retired over a decade ago as a decorated officer.

My family comes from a whole lineage of military people, both male and female, and I'm extremely proud of all of them.