When the Second World War began, women were called upon to fill positions that were reserved for men. Over seven million women volunteered for the armed services. They made bombs in factories, drove trucks, served as air raid wardens and as nurses, worked in communications, intelligence, and emergency services, and performed hundreds of other clerical duties that provided critical support to the war effort. Many brave women earned medals throughout the war and some even died in service of their country.
Since the war ended, hundreds of memorials have been erected all around the world dedicated to the brave men and women who served in the war, but only a handful of them commemorate women exclusively.
The Monument to the Women of World War II is a British national war memorial located in Whitehall in London and it is the first and only one of its kind in the United Kingdom. The National Heritage Memorial Fund donated £934,115 towards the cost of the memorial, while £800,000 was raised by Baroness Boothroyd on a celebrity episode of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”. The remaining funds were raised by a charitable trust run by volunteers in York.
This big, black, block-made of bronze, 22 feet high, 16 feet long and 6 feet wide was sculpted by John W. Mills. It was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II as a part of the events celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and it was dedicated by Baroness Boothroyd in July 2005.
The sculpture features 17 items of clothing depicting the various roles carried out by women during the war. These outfits include uniforms as worn by the Women’s Land Army, Women’s Royal Naval Service, a nursing cape, a police overall and a welding mask.
A plaque attached to the south side reads: “This memorial was raised to commemorate the vital work done by over seven million women during World War II“.