Women at War: 100 Years of Service
To mark a century since women first took on roles alongside men in the armed forces, five celebrities with a connection to the military experience how things have changed in the years since.
Part 1: June Brown
Actress June Brown relives her wartime experience in the Wrens, when women were encouraged to join the war effort to ‘free a man for the fleet’, and takes the controls of a warship as she finds out what life is like for women serving in the Royal Navy today.
Part 2: Dame Kelly Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes returns to the army training grounds where she enjoyed a successful career as a physical-training instructor during one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of the British Army. As she meets the first woman to become an army commando and a female WWII veteran who drove injured soldiers returning from the battlefield,
Part 3: Pam Ayres
Writer and poet Pam Ayres recalls her years in the Women’s Royal Air Force in the 1960s and returns to her job as a plotter to see if she still has what it takes to work in military intelligence. As she hears how things have changed for the women serving in the RAF today, she also meets one of the few surviving female pilots from WWII.
Part 4: Edward Fox
Actor Edward Fox explores the World War II experiences of women on the home front – like his aunt Mary, who helped feed the nation by volunteering for jobs on farms – and sees for himself the vital non-combat roles performed by women during times of conflict.
Part 5: Nicky Cambell
Broadcaster Nicky Campbell discovers more about how his mother Sheila helped take on the Nazis during World War II. As he uncovers the secrets of her service with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, finding out about her pivotal role in the D-Day landings, Nicky gets a taste of what life as a wartime radar operator would have been like for his mother.
Part 6: Compilation
Actress June Brown relives her wartime experience in the Wrens and takes the wheel of a patrol ship as she discovers what life is like for women serving in the Royal Navy.Broadcaster Nicky Campbell finds out how his mother helped take on the Nazis, and there is a proud moment for his family as her wartime service at last gets official recognition.Poet Pam Ayres returns to her role in military intelligence in the Women’s Royal Air Force in the 1960s, while actor Edward Fox explores the crucial jobs women like his aunt Mary did on the home front, helping feed the nation by volunteering for jobs on farms.Dame Kelly Holmes achieves an ambition impossible during her time as an army physical training instructor, as she takes command of a Challenger 2 tank.