What We Stand For
Our mission is to promote education about the Monument and the roles and contribution of 7.1 million WW2 women. Most people do not know it exists and are not aware that it probably represents a woman in their family, or known in their local community.
We aim to do this by offering creative projects and information prompting memories and storytelling that are cross-curricular leading to acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude and learning the lessons wartime women have to teach us now, the good and the bad, giving a context to their contribution to life in Britain today.
We would also like to see public recognition for John W Mills, now 86, the son of two heroes – his father Billy died in India in 1942 and his mother Lily was a munitions worker and firefighter in the Blitz.
Currently living in Essex, his family were miners in Ashington, Northumberland. His mother Lily was one of 22 children born to the same parents, the Wilkinsons. Ten of his uncles joined the military and all of them survived and came home.
John also created the National Firefighters' Memorial outside St Paul's Cathedral in London and the Queen Mother's monument. For photos and information about his work visit:
"I only looked after the home/worked in a factory/dug up my garden for food/ didn't do anything important."
We now know that feeding a country on rations, living without adequate sanitation, digging people out of bombed buildings, sharing childcare to cover factory shifts, building tanks, ships and planes to take someone's son, husband or sweetheart to war are HEROIC and counted as serving your country in the years of greatest threat.
WW2 veterans are now in their nineties and time is running out for us to collect their stories, their legacy of knowledge and experience for the benefit of the generations to come.
In 2015, the year of VE70 commemoration, Peri Langdale, the last surviving female trustee, asked Ripon Grammar School to create a website to promote education about the Monument to the Women of WW2.
Three sixth formers: Patrick Lindley, Matt Ford and Jacob Turner decided to make the site a joint A Level project. The team worked with Peri for three months with Work Experience Co-Ordinator Bob Walker. Patrick and Bob both joined the RYH Unincorporated Association. The Secretary was Caroline Baldwin, of Ripon Flower Guild and the Treasurer, Stuart Baldwin of Abacus Smarter Accountants.
www.monumenttowomenwhitehall.com was attached to gov.uk following Peri's participation in VE70 Commemorative Strategy meetings at the Cabinet Office in Downing Street, as spokesperson for the Monument.
The original site attracted over 100,000 hits and had a supporting letter from the former Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan MP
"Red lipstick was the most important treasure for war time women and symbolises their femininity when stepping into men's shoes. The quill is a historical writing tool and it dips into the heart of a star shaped flower representing the medals most women never received but so rightly deserved."
Patrick Lindley, Vice Patron of RYH Unicorporated Association
Ripon Cathedral, at the invitation of Dean John, hosted a six week school's exhibition of letters, memories and art work which attracted much public support and spontaneous memories and letters of thanks including a 'Cheers Lass' note stuck under a flat cap. No one knows if the lass was a wife, mother, grandmother, sweetheart. If you know, please contact us.
The Ripon Flower Guild also created a floral hat sculpture exhibition and photos of the hats, and other letters and photos are on this site, inspired by Jennie Churchill, Winston Churchill's American mother, who said:
"A life without passion is like a hat without feathers…a garden without flowers."
In 2016, the Heritage Lottery Fund gave a Sharing Heritage Grant of £9,300 following an application backed by Ripon MP Julian Smith, Dean John, teachers and local councillors. The money was used for a professional website created by Bronco, a design company in Ripon. Educational materials were created for school exhibitions.
Raise Your Hats joined the Historical Association and exhibited at conferences at Leeds Beckett University. Peri Langdale also exhibited at several WW2 weekends including Pickering, Leyburn and Pateley Bridge. Raise Your Hats committee members were interviewed on Stray FM and there was extensive publicity in regional media including the Harrogate Advertiser, Darlington and Stockton Times and Northern Echo.
Pam Royle, main presenter for ITV's Tyne Tees News, has graciously agreed to become a vice-patron. Ms Royle is Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Durham and patron of the Great North Air Ambulance charity.
Patrick Lindley, Ripon Grammar School website development team
"Raise Your Hats is a fantastic project and Peri is doing amazing work in recognising and celebrating the role British women played in the Second World War. I have closely followed Peri's campaign because what she is doing is very important – both for the women who gave so much during the war and for current and future generations who can learn from the stories and achievements of these incredible women."
Julian Smith, MP Conservative Party, Chief Whip
The Monument Design
The Monument design was chosen through a national competition judged by the Imperial War Museum and the Tate Gallery. The brief was a monument not depicting individuals or people.
"Anytime you went to a dance hall in the war you knew who was there because of the coats, hats and handbags hanging on the coat rack in the corridor.
"There are no coat hangers or pegs because I didn't want the uniforms to look like old rags. I wanted them to have volume, weight, and they swing over the crowds underneath, as women always stand above the crowd, and will forever."
There are three women's names on the Monument. HM Queen Elizabeth; 'Smudge' on the ATS helmet – Edna Storr's war time name – clearly visible on photographs and hidden away, on the top of the welder's mask, the name 'Mabel' – one of John's wife's aunts
"She welded buses. That's for her."
The military buttons are all sized up replicas of historically correct emblems and insigna and the photos here, taken by the sculptor, were shown to H M Queen on the day of the unveiling, alongside a quarter life scale model which now hangs in John's studio on public display.
The RYH Unincorporated Association was founded in January 2016 and dissolved in October 2017.
The members, representing Ripon Cathedral Flower Guild, Ripon Cathedral, Ripon City Council, The National Trust and Ripon teachers created and presented exhibitions for schools, universities and living history events.
Peri Langdale, Last surviving female trustee of the Monument to the Women of WWll in Whitehall. Former ITV documentary maker. She made the only two programmes in existence – Lest We Forget and Sisters in Arms - about the campaign for the Monument and its creation, featuring interviews with HRH Princess Anne in Buckingham Palace, Dame Betty Boothroyd in the Speaker’s House inside the Houses of Parliament complex, John W Mills at his studio, as well as interviews with veterans, march pasts and unrepeatable reunion footage of square bashing and sing songs.
Sincere Thanks To
Julian Smith MP for Ripon; Dean John, Ripon Cathedral; Helen Peacock, Heritage Fund; Victoria Woodcock, VE70 Commemorative Committee; Ripon Cathedral Flower Guild and Becky Naylor, Bronco Digital Design Agency.