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Remembering some remarkable women

7 April 2016 by Sam

rows of headstones in Arlington National Cemetery

© Lee Karen Stow

Photographer Lee Karen Stow has travelled to Washington DC in America for the latest stage of research for her ongoing Poppies: Women and War project. She has met and photographed many women on her travels and was also keen to pay tribute to those who are no longer with us. This brought her to Arlington National Cemetary, as she explains:

“At Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC, the final resting place for more than 400,000 military service people and veterans, a handful of notable women are buried. From nurses of the Spanish-American war in the late 1898 to combat pilot Major Marie Rossi-Cayton, killed in action in 1991. She was one of the first US female soldiers to take part in air assault into enemy territory. Her headstone reads ‘First Female Combat Commander to Fly in Battle – Operation Desert Storm’.

headstone

Headstone for combat pilot Major Marie Rossi-Cayton © Lee Karen Stow

Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett became the first female medical officer commissioned in the US Army when she joined up at the outbreak of the First World War as a contract surgeon. She was told that because the Army did not have uniforms for female surgeons she would have to design one herself.

Rear Admiral ‘Amazing Grace’ Hopper was a mathematics professor and pioneer in computer programming language. She is credited with the term ‘debugged’ after a moth was removed from a computer. Grace was so tiny she had to get an exemption to enlist with the WAVES, the US Naval Reserves (Women’s Reserve), in the Second World War because she did not meet the Navy weight minimum. She served in the Naval Reserves working on computer programming and language until she retired with the rank of Rear Admiral.”

The exhibition Poppies: Women and War is at the Museum of Liverpool until 5 June 2016.

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