What did you do in the war, Girl Guide?
It's a commonly asked question in Guiding. And people are often surprised to find out quite what a wide range of different and varied important work Guiding did in both the first and the second world wars, and how wide the impact of it was. As such, I have decided to set up a specific website in order to focus on this particular aspect of Guiding history, so that I can look into it in more detail than is possible on a general Guiding history site, to answer some of the many queries that are raised, and to share knowledge and enlighten current Guiding members on this fascinating subject. Despite the views of the era on women's roles, even during World War 1 the work taken on by Guiding members was surprisingly wide-ranging, and in World War 2 even more so. As time passes and there are fewer people with first-hand recollections, so it becomes more important for us to share the knowledge with today's members, and preserve the knowledge that we might learn from it.
I would warn that yes, there are stories of endurance, and bravery, and heroism. But there are also stories of torture, suffering, and death. I make no apology for including both - war is often described as 'death and glory' in that order, because there is usually a lot more death than there is glory. If you are sensitive, then you may wish to be aware of this in reading the details, especially those on the International page.
Please also bear in mind that alongside endurance, bravery and heroism - there are stories from those who didn't get the opportunity to show any of these qualities on the big stage, but who did their bit in their own locality through things like helping at first aid, firewatching or ARP posts, in maintaining a productive garden plot or keeping back-garden livestock to feed their family, in keeping the family's clothes mended or remade and knitting garments to donate to others, in looking after the house and caring for elderly grandparents or young children while the adults were out working, in spending long hours outdoors in fair weather or foul collecting herbs or rosehips or sphagnum moss, in working long hours in static or mobile canteens making tea and washing dishes, in daily waste paper collection routes. Lots of war work was dull, repetitive, and didn't result in any gallantry awards or newspaper coverage - but it was no less vital for that, and showed it's own sort of endurance.
Although I have shared some of the knowledge I have researched and discovered, there will also be many personal experiences and memories, from individuals, or from within the covers of unit logbooks, which could be added. As such, I'd love to receive more information, either from people who 'were there', or those who have discovered their own local stories and records - and especially from outwith the UK.
On this site, the focus is naturally on the two World Wars - and the focus is mainly on the role of Guiding in Britain, although I have tried to also include information from, and relating to, other countries too. For more general information on general Guiding history, www.lesliesguidinghistory.webs.com can provide useful information.
Running websites does cost me money in hosting fees - if you would care to make a donation towards these costs, it can be done using the button below.