British, army, women, war, camp followers, army wives, gender


During the Seven Years' War, many soldiers' wives and female camp followers contributed to the British war effort in numerous ways and did so in the face of great oppression. Using the themes of labour, conditions and dangers, sexual and domestic life, illicit activities, and discipline and punishment, this essay will demonstrate that both the presence and labour of women within the army were essential to British success because without women the army would have been strained to recruit, maintain, and care for its soldiers. It will also show that, to contribute to the war effort, army women were expected to be subordinate to the military – an institution which used gender to control them, belittle their contributions, and which also exposed them to the horrors of war.

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I would like to thank Dr. Peter Way for both his guidance and encouragement.

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