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Gillingham Museum Montage

Accredited Museum Arts Council England

Dorset Museums Association



Dorset Heroines

  David Beaton’s talk, Dorset Heroines, covers over 350 years of colourful Dorset history, ranging from the Civil War to the Second World War, and is devoted to around ten out of the dozen women in Dorset’s Forgotten Heroes, published in 2005 by The Dovecote Press.

  We meet ‘Brave Dame Mary’, who held out in Corfe Castle for twenty months before being betrayed by one of her own group, and, on the other side of the fence, the brave Women of Lyme, who held out against the Royalists.

  There are women from all strata of society: the daughter of a cabinet maker who became famous throughout Europe for her fossil finds; a philanthropist of noble birth; another high born philanthropist who married into the same family and was, incidentally, Winston Churchill’s aunt; a palaeobotanist who took the nation by storm with the publication of her controversial book, Married Love; a courageous nurse who served in both World Wars; a WW2 heroine who lived with the Maquis and was awarded the Croix de Guerre; and a dancer who decided to form a concert party to entertain the troops and who by D-Day had given over 1,000 performances in army camps, air force bases and on naval ships.

  It is an extraordinary catalogue of women of courage and dedication whose actions have helped shape the history of this remarkable county.