Dorothy Howell was an exceptional British musician, who composed over 130 pieces during her lifetime.
Dorothy was born in Handsworth, Birmingham in 1898. Her five siblings were all musical, and their father, an ironmaster by trade, was a self-taught pianist, who became the Musical Director at their local church. Dorothy’s mother was also musical, an accomplished violinist & soprano. The family used to spend time singing and playing together.
By the age of 13 Dorothy was already composing pieces. She wrote a set of six pieces for piano that were inspired by the popular Tales of Beatrix Potter. Dorothy studied at a number of convent schools in Birmingham, Belgium & London, but at the age of just 15, with promising musical abilities, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM). There she was taught by great composers and pianists including Tobias Matthay and Sir J B McEwen. Continue reading Dorothy Howell
One of the most successful World War II rescue operations was created by a 23 year-old woman named Andrée de Jongh.
De Jongh was born in 1916 in German-occupied Belgium and was raised in the shadow of what was then called the Great War. Long before she reached adulthood, De Jongh’s schoolmaster father made certain his daughter was well-versed in Belgium’s wartime history, both its villains and its heroes. Topping the list of the latter were two women executed in Brussels by the Germans: Belgian spy Gabrielle Petit and British nurse Edith Cavell. Continue reading Andrée de Jongh and the Comet Line
This is the second of our two-parter about Mary Lindell. If you haven’t already, you can read Part 1 here.
By 1939 Mary Lindell, who had stayed in France, had become the Comtesse de Milleville and had three children. This did not stop her putting on her Red Cross uniform, with medals, and going and volunteering for service.
Continue reading Mary Lindell Part 2
The Night Witches were the world’s first all-female flight unit, a Soviet regiment who became feared amongst Nazi pilots during the Second World War. Continue reading The Night Witches
Born on 11th September 1895, Mary Ghita Lindell was on course to live an intriguing life. She was nearly 19 when the Great War broke out and her father said ‘The honour of Great Britain is saved. We are now at war with Germany. Mary you will have to go.’
So Mary Lindell, as expected, enlisted in the Red Cross’s Volunteer Aid Detachment. While with the VAD she had her first run in with hierarchy; this would lead to her being imprisoned for one night in a stable block, taking the form of two altercations with the same Matron. One day VAD Lindell had the unenviable task of Continue reading Mary Lindell Part 1
Women Heroes of World War II; 26 stories of espionage, sabotage, resistance & rescue – by Kathryn J Atwood
I was lucky enough to be contacted by Kathryn J Atwood, author of several books about the extraordinary lives of women during the First & Second World Wars. Kathyrn had come across the Sheroes of History blog, and rightly guessed that I might be interested in reading her books.
Continue reading Book Review: Women Heroes of World War II – by Kathryn J Atwood
Jacqueline (Jackie) Cochran may not be as well-known as her fellow aviator friend Amelia Earhart, but she goes down in history as one of the most incredible female flyers of all time. To this date she still hold more aviation records than any person, male or female, dead or alive!
Jackie was born in Florida in 1906. Information about her childhood varies, some accounts say she was raised by an adopted family – others that she simply claimed that she was adopted. Either way, their circumstances were humble. At a young age Jacqueline got a job at a local hairdressers, where she swept & shampooed. She keenly observed the hairdressers and before long had become a hairdresser herself. She moved to New York where she secured a position hairdressing at Saks Fifth Avenue, cutting the hair of the rich & famous.
Continue reading Jacqueline Cochran – faster, higher, longer