D-Day 80th Anniversary

Library and Archives Canada/Flickr
June 11, 2024

At SecurityWomen, we strive to make security forces more inclusive and safer places for women, both now and in the future. However, as celebrations and commemorations take place across the UK, France, and the US for those who fought on D-Day 80 years ago, we would like to highlight the contributions of women who played a central, yet often hidden, part in the success of this invasion.

While women have been involved in war in some shape or form for centuries, during World War Two, women across Europe answered the call to serve their countries at a time when many would have faced strong opposition from those at home.

A notable example of the incredible contribution women made is Christian Lamb, who at the age of 103 was awarded France’s highest military honour on the 6th of June. Christian had intended to go to Oxford University; however, as war broke out, she joined the Wrens – the Women’s Royal Naval Service. By the age of 20, she was plotting maps for military ships. In preparation for the D-Day invasion, Christian worked alone in a basement, creating maps for the ships that would be crucial for the amphibious attack.

While many women worked behind the scenes on UK soil, contributing to the war effort by doing jobs such as Christian's, or working on radar systems or essential code-breaking in Bletchley Park, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), an all-female voluntary organisation, sent many women to the front lines. FANY is one of the most decorated female units in the world and continues to respond in times of national crisis. During the D-Day operations, women from this unit provided crucial support, often parachuting into France, working to delay German advances, and providing vital intelligence. Nine FANY World War Two veterans have received the French Legion D’Honneur for their work in the build-up to and during the D-Day invasions.

Hundreds of women’s stories from this time may never be heard, but their contributions should not be understated or forgotten. As we continue to strive to increase women’s participation in the security sector, we must thank those who came before us for paving the way at a time of great national need.

For more information on Women’s contribution to D-Day, please see:

Wren, 103, given Legion d'honneur by France's Emmanuel Macron - BBC News

Women in Defence UK | Women in War DDay 80th Anniversary with FANY

The women of D-Day - BBC Ideas

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