The World Has Forgotten The Only Woman Who Officially Fought In World War I

Nov 19, 2018

We all know someone who was born to break the mold. Someone who defies the odds and doesn’t fit in with labels. These special individuals are often criticized by others, so they often go off on their own paths in life.

One particular woman, named Flora Sandes, is one of these unique people. You may not know it, but she was a decorated hero of combat during World War I. Although her name isn’t easily recognized, even in the country she comes from, Britain, she is someone that everyone should know and love.

When Flora was young, she knew she was special. She wasn’t interested in the same topics and hobbies as other young girls. She was interested in fighting from a young age, dreaming of going into war and battling for her rights. Staying at home and being complacent just wasn’t an option for young Flora. Her family described her as a tomboy. She enjoyed hobbies like hunting, shooting and riding instead of having tea parties and playing with dolls.

As she grew older, she became more independent. She traveled around England, worked in Cairo, and crossed into the United States as well as Canada. She became interested in racing and hunting, hobbies that weren’t expected from women at this point in history. Although in today’s society, women are allowed to have the same hobbies as men, back in the day unique women who enjoyed combat and action were looked down upon.

Flora was almost 40 years old when the war started. Her first steps were to work hard at becoming a nurse. She witnessed how hard the war was on the courageous soldiers through her work as a nurse, and decided that she needed to become one. Flora got her lucky chance when the Serbian army was desperately seeking assistance.

They were in need of help so much that they were even recruiting women! Other women who served in war tried to hide their gender, but not Flora. All of her comrades knew she was a woman, and they also knew that she was an excellent soldier.

Although she wasn’t the only female in combat with the men, she stands out for her pride in her gender and her endless need to be herself. Her other soldiers admired her, calling her their brother and seeing her as an equal. In fact, during her time with the military, she was recognized for her advanced skills and courage.

She gained the title of Sergeant-Major during her time, but in 1916 her journey took a brief hiatus while she recovered from a war-related injury. However, once she was better, she rejoined the fight.

Later, she earned the King George Star for her admirable work, which is the highest award one could receive from the Serbian militia. A street located in Belgrade is even named after Flora!

But Flora’s story didn’t end there. At 50 years old, she married a fellow officer. She also survived through serving in WWII after enlisting in the war at the unbelievable age of 65 years old! Flora passed away when she was 80, but fought until she couldn’t fight anymore.

She constantly traveled and pushed the boundaries of being a woman in these strict times, even until her final days.

Flora left a strong legacy behind her, and it’s important that we learn about her since we can be inspired by her courageous and unique story. What do you think about Flora Sandes’ story? Let us know in the comments and show this inspiring woman to your friends and family!