This Sunday, 11th November, it will be 100 years since Armistice Day brought The Great War to an end. To mark the event, and to honour some of the forgotten heroines, Attic Self Storage is remembering the women of World War 1 by unfurling commemorative banners on the side of our buildings in Wick Lane, Bow and York Way, Islington.
This is all part of a wider collaboration between the Royal British Legion’s ‘Thank You’ campaign and the Self Storage Association (SSA UK). Attic Self Storage London is proud to join more than a dozen other areas in the country to express a wave of gratitude to the brave women of the 1914–18 conflict.
Vast numbers of women were recruited into jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war. This led to women taking up roles that were formerly reserved for men – as railway drivers, guards and ticket collectors, bus and tram conductors, postal workers, police, firefighters and bank staff.
Women showed their strength and skill working heavy engineering machinery, running farms, and keeping food supplies and factories open. Many went to the front line as nurses, medical workers, and support staff, but very few of them ever received the recognition they deserved for their contribution.
By 1917 munitions factories, which primarily employed women workers, produced 80% of the weapons and shells used by the British Army. Known as ‘canaries’ because they had to handle TNT (the explosive chemical compound trinitrotoluene), which caused their skin to turn yellow, these women risked their lives working with poisonous substances without adequate protective clothing or proper safety measures. Around 400 women died from overexposure to TNT during WWI.
Catherine Davies, Head of Remembrance at the Royal British Legion said: “We owe the First World War generation a huge debt of gratitude for helping shape the world as we know it today. Not only the 1.2 million British and Commonwealth Armed Forces who lost their lives on the battlefields but also those who kept the home front going. Women played an essential role in the war effort, seizing the opportunity to prove their worth and take another step towards getting the vote. Each and every one of them deserves our thanks.”
Rennie Schafer, CEO of the SSA UK noted: “We were struck by how few women were remembered in the history books, even though they formed the backbone of the war effort. When we appealed for local stories, we were extremely touched by the memories people shared. Many of these personal accounts will be posted on our website leading up to Remembrance Sunday.”
Frederic de Ryckman de Betz, CEO of Attic Self Storage, added “It is fitting that we should celebrate the role of women at this centenary event, especially so given that it was a French woman, Anna Guerin, who first brought red silk poppies to the UK – red silk poppies first made by another woman, Moina Michael, who was inspired by the famous poem ‘In Flanders’ Fields’. We have therefore decided to erect the banners celebrating the untold story of millions of ordinary women who supported their husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and sisters as they made the biggest of sacrifices for our freedoms.”
This Remembrance Day join us as we remember the countless women who served, sacrificed and changed our world.
From the bottom of our hearts to the roofs of our storage facilities – Thank you, Ladies.