Speaking on the inspiration behind the book, Dr Tessa shared: “It’s kind of unspoken about, I think certain narratives drown out others in World War II.
“We know that women had a role, that women were at Bletchley Park for instance, but I think what we don’t fully understand is that excluding Russia, we proportionately mobilised more women into our war effort than any other belligerent.
“Not all of them were in the armed forces, but in some form were contributing to the war effort. It was an extraordinary national effort.”
“I don’t think that generation was exceptional but these women were and are. I think there’s a tendency to think, ‘Oh it was better back then’. I don’t think it was, it was different, but I think what these girls did have was a keen sense of belonging that has sustained them through life. That they belong to something they are proud of.
“What I have learnt from them is how important it is to be given a chance to prove yourself, it has stayed with them through the rest of their lives.”
Army Girls: The secrets and stories of military service from the final few women who fought in World War II by Tessa Dunlop is out on November 4th. Published in hardback by Headline.