'I heard the chaos of war': Female veterans mark International Women's Day with vivid WW2 memories

Watch: Veterans Marie Scott, Mildred Schutz and Robbie Hall all spoke of their service during the Second World War.

Evocative memories of their service have been recalled and shared by three female Second World War veterans to mark International Women's Day. 

While the focus of people's interest in WW2 often shifts towards the vital contribution made by men, celebrating the role of women in the global conflict uncovers many unique stories. 

Fewer roles were available to women in the 1940s, so they had to fight in different ways to affect the outcome. 

Veterans Marie Scott, Mildred Schutz and Robbie Hall were guests of honour at a special event, held at the RAF Club in London which was attended by more than 90 guests, including veterans, serving personnel and Taxi Charity for Military Veterans volunteers. 

The guest list included high-ranking members of the Armed Forces, veterans from the Second World War, Officer Cadets from Sandhurst and serving personnel from HMS Diamond, The King's Troop and The Household Cavalry. 

Marie Scott Women's Royal Naval Service switchboard operator screengrab CREDIT BFBS
Marie Scott was a Women's Royal Naval Service switchboard operator.

Ms Scott's memories of the role she played during her service with the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) have stayed with her to this day. 

In her role as a switchboard operator who passed information to those on the frontline during D-Day, the then 17-year-old heard some haunting sounds that she will never forget. 

She said: "When they lifted their lever to return any messages, I heard the war. 

"I heard machine guns, cannon bombs, men shouting, men screaming, orders being barked, the chaos of war. 

"I shall never forget those sounds on D-Day... because the enormity and the reality of war hit me." 

Despite her own valuable contribution during the Second World War, Ms Scott calls the men "who laid down their lives" heroes. 

However, she knows that both military and civilian women did "fantastic jobs" during the conflict.

Mildred Schutz Special Operations Executive (SOE) veteran screengrab CREDIT BFBS
Mildred Schutz is a Special Operations Executive veteran.

Special Operations Executive (SOE) veteran Mildred Schutz says that many of those jobs were done in secret and without much recognition, still to this day.

Ms Schutz joined the SOE straight out of school, where she organised allied agents behind enemy lines in Italy. 

Known as 'the secretaries', the women would take on tasks such as travelling in planes to bring back Special Agents. 

But, they didn't have a weapon to protect themselves. Their commanding officer saw to that, saying: "By international law, a woman should not be armed." 

Ms Schutz said their CO considered a woman with a gun "more trouble than she was worth" so, if they were lucky, the SOEs would be sent with someone else who was armed for protection. 

The veteran feels incredibly proud of the progress military and civilian women have made in the workplace. 

Robbie Hall Women's Royal Air Force veteran screengrab CREDIT BFBS
Robbie Hall is a Women's Royal Air Force veteran.

However, Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) veteran Robbie Hall believes there is still a long way to go in giving the women who served during the Second World War recognition for their contributions. 

She said: "I've got medals and such like but what about the girls in the Land Army? 

"What about the people who were on munitions? 

"It was a vital job, but they don't get any recognition. 

"Women, I think, in both world wars played a huge part and I don't think they were recognised." 

Now partially sighted, Robbie joined the WRAF in December 1940 and got paid much less than her male counterparts. 

Such was her determination to serve that she lied about her age, saying she was 18 when, in fact, she was only 17. 

It was a trick many young women used so they could contribute to the war effort just as their brothers, fathers and uncles did. 

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