Lady Under Fire On the Western Front
The Great War Letters of Lady Dorothie Feilding MM
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When Britain went to war in 1914 many people rallied to the cause, determined to join the colours or be useful in some other way. Lady Dorothie Mary Evelyn Feilding was one of the latter. ‘Lady D’ spent almost three years on the Western Front in Belgium driving ambulances for the Munro Motor Ambulance Corps, an all-volunteer unit. During her time in Flanders her bravery was such that she received the Belgian Order of Leopold, the French Croix de Guerre and was the first woman to be awarded the British Military Medal.
She wrote home to Newnham Paddox, near Rugby, almost daily. Her letters reflect the mundane, tragedy and horror of war and also the tensions of being a woman at the front contending with shells, gossip, funding, lice, vehicle maintenance and inconvenient marriage proposals.
Though Dorothie was the daughter of an Earl and from a privileged upbringing she had an easy attitude that transcended social boundaries and that endeared her to all that she came in to contact with whether royalty or the ordinary fighting man.