Flora Sandes

Flora Sandes

Infobox Military Person
name=Flora Sandes

caption=Flora Sandes convalescing in Salonika, Greece
placeofbirth=Poppleton, Yorkshire, England
placeofdeath=Suffolk, England
awards=King George Star

Flora Sandes (January 22 1876–1961)cite book
last = Wheelwright
first = Julie
authorlink = Julie Wheelwright
coauthors =
title = Amazons and Military Maids
publisher = Pandora
date = 1989
location =
pages =
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=TngjHgAACAAJ&d
isbn =0044403569
] was a British Red Cross volunteer who became the first woman to be commissioned as an officer in the Serbian army and the only British woman to officially enrol as a soldier in World War I. [cite web
last = Bourke
first = Joanna
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Women and the Military during World War One
work =
publisher = BBC
date = 2002-01-03
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwone/women_combatants_01.shtml
accessdate =2008-03-29
] cite book
last = Condell
first = Diana
coauthors = Jean Liddiard
title = Working for Victory?: Images of Women in the First World War, 1914-18
publisher = Routledge
date = 1987
pages = 41
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=r5g9AAAAIAAJ
isbn =0710209746


Early life

Sandes was born in 1876 in Poppleton, Yorkshire, the youngest daughter of an Irish family who moved to Marlesford in Suffolk when Sandes was nine years old. [cite book
last = Twinch
first = Carol
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Little Book of Suffolk
publisher = Breedon Books
isbn = 1859835872
] cite book
last = Taylor & Francis Group
title = A Historical Dictionary of British Women
publisher = Routledge
date = 2003
pages = 383
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pDtEe4FKolUC
isbn =1857432282
] Her father was the former rector of Whitchurch, County Cork. Irish clergyman. As a child she enjoyed riding and shooting and said that she wished she had been born a boy.cite book
last = Hazen
first = Walter A.
title = Everyday Life
publisher = Good Year Books
date = 2006
pages = 61
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=1ib-zK8OEBQC
isbn =1596470747
] She learned to drive, and drove an old French racing car. She took a job as a secretary. In her spare time Sandes trained with the Ladies' Nursing Yeomanry and at the onset of the First World War was one of the first to volunteer to become a nurse. [cite book
last = Allcock
first = John B.
coauthors = Antonia Young
title = Black Lambs & Grey Falcons: Women Travellers in the Balkans
publisher = Berghahn Books
date = 2000
pages = 91
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=0e1dOvQUgckC
isbn =
] She was rejected due to a lack of qualifications.

Military career

In 1914, Sandes joined a St. John Ambulance unit raised by American Mabel Grouitch, and on August 12 1914, she left England for Serbia with a group of 36 women to try and aid the humanitarian crises there.cite book
last = Jones
first = David E.
title = Women Warriors: A History
publisher = Brassey's
date = 2000
pages = 134
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dDqi1AIYunwC
isbn =1574882066
] They arrived at the town of Kragujevac which was the base for the Serbian forces fighting against the Austro-Hungarian offensive.cite book
last = Davies
first = Norman
authorlink = Norman Davies
title = Europe: A History
publisher = Oxford University Press
date = 1996
pages = 908
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jrVW9W9eiYMC
isbn =0198201710
] Sandes joined the Serbian Red Cross and worked in an ambulance for the Second Infantry Regiment of the Serbian Army. During the retreat into Albania, Sandes was separated from her unit and joined a Serbian regiment for safety. She quickly advanced to the rank of Corporal. In 1916, during the Serbian advance on Bitola (Monastir), Sandes was seriously wounded by a grenade in hand to hand combat. She subsequently received the highest decoration of the Serbian Military, the King George Star (Order of Kara George). At the same time, she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major. Also in 1916, Sandes published her autobiography, "An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army", based on her letters and diaries. She used this account to help her raise funds for the Serbian Army. [cite book
last = Smith
first = Angela K.
title = The Second Battlefield: Women, Modernism and the First World War
publisher = Manchester University Press
date = 2000
pages = 52
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_JR368KHzHMC
isbn =0719053013
] With Evelina Haverfield she founded the Hon. Evelina Haverfield's and Sert-Major Flora Sandes' Fund for Promoting Comforts for Serbian Soldiers and Prisoners. [cite book
last = Crawford
first = Elizabeth
title = The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928
publisher = Routledge
date = 1999
pages = 280
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=eIzLissZmscC
isbn =0415239265
] Unable to continue fighting due to her injury, she spent the remainder of the war running a hospital. [cite web
title = History - Fact Files - Flora Sandes
publisher = BBC
date = 2005-01-28
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/trail/wars_conflict/home_front/women_at_war_fact_file.shtml
accessdate =2008-03-30
] She was in active service until 1922.

Later life

In 1927, Sandes married Yurie Yudenich, a fellow officer and former White Army general. During the Second World War, they were interned by the German Army. After retiring from the army, Sandes lectured extensively on her wartime experiences in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada and the United States. She wore her military uniform while delivering her lectures. [cite book
last = Cromwell
first = Jason
title = Transmen and FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities
publisher = University of Illinois Press
date = 1999
pages = 65
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=0G--BowVYg8C
isbn = 0252068254
] Yudendich died in 1941 and Sandes returned to England. She spent the last years of her life in Suffolk and died in 1961. Her autobiography was later novelised as "The Lovely Sergeant (Flora Sandes)" in 1963 by Alan Burgess.

"The officer in charge showed me how to fire off one of the guns when he gave the word, and let me take the place of the man who had been doing it as long as we stayed there." [Sandes, F: "An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army",1916]


*1916: "An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army"
*1927: "The Autobiography of a Woman Soldier: A Brief Record of Adventure with the Serbian Army 1916–1919"


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