Elsie and Mairi Go to War

Elsie and Mairi Go to War

Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front

Book - 2010 | First Pegasus Books cloth edition
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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.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Pegasus, 2010
Edition: First Pegasus Books cloth edition
ISBN: 9781605980942
Characteristics: 280 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Elsie & Mairi go to war


From Library Staff

During WWI two women pack themselves off to drive ambulances and save lives on the frontlines in Belgium. They defy convention, show extraordinary courage, and even become celebrities. Then the war ends and they are expected to adjust to peacetime expectations for women.

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Sep 27, 2014

Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm shared a love for the thrill of motorbikes. When war was declared in August 1914, the friends zoomed off to London together to do their bit. ‘Their bit’ was to establish a nursing station close to the front, give the first line of care to wounded soldiers, and transport them by ambulance to field hospitals. Nicknamed the Angels of Pervyse, they were decorated for bravery and sacrifice, and were amongst the most famous women of World War 1.

Their courageous work deserves recognition in all its aspects. This book gives only a partial view. And where was the editor? Rambling, disjointed sentences make parts of the book hard to follow. Worth a read to learn about women's role in the war, but it will leave you wanting more.


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