THE AUTOMOBILISTES

Tim Gosling profiles the brave female adventurists known as the ‘automobilistes’, who undertook perilous driving jobs in World War One

Before the outbreak of World War One, driving motor vehicles was considered to be the preserve of men, while the very few women drivers, often referred to as ‘automobilistes’ in that time period, were considered to be thrill-seeking adventurers. A few years later this view would change wholesale, with women having driven in all three branches of the British Armed Forces, the Ministry of Munitions, in manufacturing and agriculture. Post-war, the once rare sight of a woman driver had become common, normalised, and no longer a preserve saved for men.

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