Harriet Simeon's Story

Harriet Simeon's Story

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  • Women cannot go on the front line.
  • But, I am going to the front line to be a nurse!
  • Oh no! I think your leg is broken!
  • Laws prevented women from serving on the front line of combat, but 550 or so New Zealand nurses served overseas during the First World War and Harriet Simeon was one of them.
  • I am now the Assistant Air Commandant!
  • They enlisted for the same reasons as the soldiers – duty, patriotism and adventure. Other women served as nurses in camps back home while others became leading figures in various campaigns to support those serving overseas or to fund raise for the war effort.
  • I returned from the war.
  • Two years later, Harriet Simeon were enlisted in the brand now Women's Royal Air Force.
  • Can't believe she did it!
  • One year later, Harriet had become the highest ranking New Zealand woman in the WRAF when she was promoted to Assistant Air Commandant, an amazing achievement that many people couldn't believe was true. 
  • She returned from the war and she am formally recognized as a returned soldier and petitioned to be paid the Imperial pay rate rather than the New Zealand pay rate.
  • Harriet Simeon's history is proof of the contribution women made in the war, often without any recognition. 
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