The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry was originally founded in 1907 by Captain Edward Baker, who had the idea to have first aid trained women, ride out on the battlefields to bring the wounded back safely to the casualty clearing stations. On the 27th October 1914, Lieutenants Grace Ashley-Smith and Lillian Franklin set foot in Calais and Bakers vision was finally fulfilled.
Instead of the horses envisaged by Baker, these women took first one, then many more, cars and ambulances and drove them across the battlefields of northern France and western Belgium into the noise and carnage of the Great War. Under appalling conditions, driving through air raids and gas attacks, they ferried casualties, medical staff and supplies up and down the French and Belgian coast, set up regimental aid posts, organised soup kitchens, bath houses and unloaded the wounded from barges and into hospital ships.
At the end of the Great War members were awarded 19Military Medals, 27 Croix de Guerre, 2 Ordres de Leopold Chevalier, 1 Legion dHonneur, 1 Ordre de la Couronne, 2 OBEs, 2 MBEs and 11 mentions in Despatches.
Formed in the face of opposition, driven forward by forceful and sometimes fearsome individuals who took on its leadership, they remained steadfast, dedicated, loyal and brave.
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