Monday, March 16, 2009

Chelsea Pensionerelles

The time has come, the time is now! The Telegraph reported this weekend that for the first time in its history, the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, which is for war veterans without dependents, has accepted women as pensioners. The article quoted Winifred Phillips (on the right):

"Declaring "I like men", Miss Phillips said: "It's been fabulous. It's just like the Army all over again but you don't have so much to do." After a 22-year career in the Army, she raised the question of why women were not allowed to become Chelsea Pensioners. She said: "When I was living in Shropshire 10 years ago I read a magazine called The Legion and it said they wanted more men, so I wrote and said 'why not women?'. Then they wrote back to me later saying they agreed, but it's taken me 10 years to get here." Miss Phillips, who moved from Deal in Kent to the site, said she has always preferred male company.

Am not so fond of the clear emphasis on the lady's heterosexuality. Perhaps a better quote is from her comrade, Dorothy Hughes:

""This is fantastic. There are a lot of women staff around anyway, so you don't feel isolated, and once you've been in the army, you don't see them as men, they're mates.""

Make your own mind up here.

Here is the Times' take on this story.

The Mail, of course, has to one-up everyone else, and has found the story of a woman admitted to the hospital in the year 1717:

"The Royal Hospital's admissions roll for November 1717 states that a 'fatt, jolly woman [who] received several wounds in the Service in ye habitt of a man' was admitted in recognition of her valiant behaviour. Her name was Christian Davies, though she was also known as Christian Welsh or Mother Ross."

Read Christian's story here.

PS Don't get them mixed up with Beefeaters!

1 comment:

  1. Do they have to dress up like that every day even though they are retired?