The wartime girls.

Vrouwen in de Tweede Wereldoorlog

Las mamás belgas

De Belgische verpleegsters. (Met dank aan ©Sven Tuytens)

Het begon allemaal met een foto, waarop 11 van de in totaal 27 Belgische verpleegsters staan. Tuytens raakte geïntrigeerd door deze onbekende vrouwen, hij wilde weten wie zij waren en waarom zij in Spanje waren tijdens de Spaanse Burgeroorlog 1936-1939. Die nieuwsgierigheid leidde tot zeer interessante ontdekkingen. Tuytens gaf hun verhaal eerst vorm in een documentaire, maar onlangs is er ook een boek verschenen Las mamás belgas (bij uitgeverij Lannoo ) Nu nog alleen in het Nederlands, maar het boek zal ook in het Spaans uitgebracht gaan worden.

In dit boek staat buitenlandcorrespondent Sven Tuytens stil bij een vergeten groep vrouwen die hun bijdragen leverden aan zowel de Spaanse Burgeroorlog als aan het verzet in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Een aantal Belgische en Nederlandse vrouwen besloten om in 1936 naar Spanje te vertrekken, waar ze aan de slag gingen als verpleegsters.
Las mamás belgas vertelt het verhaal van deze moedige en sterke vrouwen die door de geschiedenis vergeten zijn. Op boeiende wijze beschrijft Tuytens de aanloop tot hun vertrek en besteedt uitgebreid aandacht aan het verblijf in Spanje, wat lang niet altijd eenvoudig was. Ondanks hun ervaringen gingen deze vrouwen na de Burgeroorlog onverdroten verder in hun strijd tegen het fascisme door zich aan te sluiten bij de Belgische afdeling van ‘Die Rote Kapelle’ en het Nederlandse verzet bij het uitbreken van de Tweede Wereldoorlog.
Las mamás belgas is een prachtig eerbetoon geworden aan deze vrouwelijke groep Spanjestrijders!



Voor mijn volledige recensie, zie

Paperback met fotokatern
Pag: 320
Verschenen: november 2017


Journalist Clare Hollingworth deceased

Clare Hollingworth by Alison Mutler

Clare Hollingworth by Alison Mutler

Clare Hollingworth became famous as warjournalist, because she was the first reporter who witnessed the movement of the German troops along the border of Poland.
Hollingworth was working for The Daily Telegraph in those days. When she saw the activity of the German army, she wrote an article about this as she knew something was about to happen.

After the war Clare Hollingworth wrote for several British newspapers abouot warzones in the Middle East, North Africa and Vietnam.

Clare Hollingworth died at the age of 105.



Source: The Foreign Correspondents’ Club
also: (Dutch)
For Dutch article on this website about Clare Hollingworth


Female WWII pilots can be buried at Arlington at last

75 years later, WASPs have won one last battle!
On friday may 20th, 2016 President Obama signed the bill, which allows female pilots, who joined the warefforts in the Second World War, to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The women were members of the WASP -Women Auxilairy Service Pilots. They had to buy their own uniforms, they flew all kinds of planes, unarmed and 38 of them died for their country, but the final honor -a burial on a military cemetery was denied to these brave women. While recognition through medailles took also many years, was that Friday a special day in history, when after 75 years, finally this battle came to an end by one very important signature!


First Lady Honors Pioneering Female Air Force Officer

On March 3, First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama presented a special U.S. flag to retired Air Force Brigadier Gen. Wilma Vaught.
Mrs. Obama want the female veterans to stand up for themselves.
I know that so often you are trained to focus on your team and your mission, and not yourself,” Obama said. “If you’re a woman veteran, if you’ve worn this country’s uniform and served us so bravely, I ask you to stand tall and share your story.”

The military, which is dominated by men for many years and that ought to be changed. General Vaught played an important role in helping to make that change and so she was handed the special U.S.flag.

In 1948 Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act which allowed women to become full-fledged members of the military. In those days is was a revolution, said Gen.Vaught. Since then, women in the military have fought for further rights, even suing to achieve equality with men in the armed services.

Thinking of the female veterans, who still struggle for recognition, one can say that the revolution is not ended yet.



The Female Pilots We Betrayed…

In the United States there is much going on concerning female veterans of the Second Worldwar. After nearly 70 years recognition for their war efforts is still not happened.

Sarah Byrn Rickman wrote several books about the WASPs -the women who joined the Women’s Air Service Pilots and she has written an interesting article in the New York Times in which she stand in the breach for these veterans to get them the military honour they deserve.

The WASPs were necessary as more men were sent to the frontlines. Planes had to be flown from factories to the docks to ship them to England. But also  repaired aircrafts had to be tested; and nonflying personnel had to be transported. Several women who had their flying licences volunteered and soon the group grew. Over 1000 women flew all kind of aircrafts, in the beginning only small ones, but as the war lasted, they flew bigger planes.

After the war there were no decorations, neither did they get the military status. And today, after 70 years, when a female veteran dies, her family doesn’t get permission to be buried on Arlington!

Thank God, there are women like Sarah Bynr Rickman and many others, who want to restore this terrible mistake in history. All women in countries who were occupied by the Nazi’s should pay their respects to these brave women in one way or the other. We owe it to them, because they were part of the warefforts, so we all can live in peace for 70 years now.

Read the article of Sarah Byrn Rickman:

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Women who served during WW II still underestimated

When Elaine Harmon died at the age of 95, she had hoped her ashes would laid to rest at Arlington. Elaine Harmon was a WASP –Women Airforce Service Pilots in the Second World War. But a new rule decided otherwise: no women are allowed at Arlington, because the cemetary is running out of space.

From the moment that the WASP- program was started in 1942, General Henry H. ‘Hap’Arnold hoped the women would get the full military status, but that never happened and today even after their death this status is still denied.

The WASP was founded in the summer of 1941 on initiative of Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran and test-pilot Nancy Harkness Love. The United Kingdom had already a program for women to become a non-combattant flyer, which was called the ATA- Air Transport Auxiliary  and Jackie Cochran was determinded to start a similar program in the United States of America. When female pilots flew aircraft from factories to military bases, this would free the male pilots to fly warmissions. Many American female pilots followed Cochran to Britain and became members of the ATA.

WASP during engine familiarization training. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WASP during engine familiarization training. (U.S. Air Force photo)

However, the American Airforce ran out of male pilots because of the war, so there was no alternative than to draft women for a transport unit. The WASP was born with Cochran in command. Over 1.000 women joined the program from 1942 till 1944. They flew sixty million miles of operational flights from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases. They also towed targets for live anti-aircraft artillery practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo. But after the war all these women were soon to be forgotten. After decades of lobbying, the WASP finally earned veteran status, but they were not guaranteed military burial rights.

Tiffany Miller has started a petition to change this ridiculous rule. Let us never forget the warefforts of military nor civilians, men nor women!


Women Airforce Service Pilots

-to sign the petition:

Eerste vrouwelijke militair overleden

Op 8 september jl. overleed de eerste vrouwelijke militair, Francien de Zeeuw, op 93-jarige leeftijd.
Tijdens de oorlogsjaren zat zij in het verzet. Tegen het eind van de oorlog stond ze aan de wieg van de Marva -Marine Vrouwenafdeling van de krijgsmacht.

Francien de Zeeuw werd geroemd om haar heldhaftigheid en haar risicovolle verzetsdaden.

Francien de Zeeuw

Voor meer over Francien de Zeeuw en de Marva: zie hier