Rare pictures of women in World War II

Protecting English cities:
British cities were under constant threat from German bombs during the Battle of Britain, with the bombardments lasting a year, from 1940 to 1941.

Defending Leningrad:
It was primarily women who were called to reinforce cities’ defences on the Eastern Front as well. 

Under the threat of bombing:
During the height of the Second World War, agricultural work was not without danger. In this 1944 photo, a WLA recruit works a field in southern England.

Watching the skies:
In this photo, British Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) lookouts scan the sky for enemy aircraft in Scotland around 1942.

Making explosive shells:
In this California factory, American workers made explosive shells. During the war, the arms industry relied heavily on women. 

Building Canadian bombers:
A young Canadian worker is pictured here, working on the cabin interior of a Bolingbroke bomber, in Montreal’s Fairchild factory in Quebec.

Auxiliaries in the Canadian Army:
In 1943, a group of young Canadian women in uniform are sworn in as they joined the army as auxiliaries.

African-American welders:
In this photo dated May 7, 1943, a group of African-American welders are pictured working on Liberty ship SS George Washington Carver, in Richmond, California.

Farmers in wartime:
Women that belonged to this organization are shown here, during a stacking operation at a Buckinghamshire farm during the summer of 1944.

Handling weapons:
In 1940, volunteers in the British Civil Defence Service train in handling rifles. 

Grandmothers in factories:
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the United States’ entry into the war, millions of American women were called to take on non-traditional jobs.

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