OverviewThe World War II widows were the "forgotten women," largely ignored by the government and the majority of the population. The men who died in the service of their country were rightly honored, but the widows and orphans they left behind were soon forgotten. During the war and afterwards in post-war austerity Britain their lives were particularly bleak. The meager pensions they were given were taxed at the highest rate and gave them barely enough to keep body and soul together, let alone look after their children. Through their diaries, letters, and personal interviews we are given an insight into postwar Britain that is a moving testament to the will to survive of a generation of women. The treatment of these war widows was shameful and continued right up to 1989. This is their story.
Author BiographyHelen D. Millgate has written widely on the effects of war on British society, including Got Any Gum Chum? and Mr Brown's War. Maureen Shaw is the daughter of a war widow. She lost her father in the Burma Campaign (1943). Her mother's experience of life as a war widow overshadowed her whole childhood. Both women live in Cambridge.