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The Injustice of Atlantic City’s Floods

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. A driver plowed a sedan forcefully up Arizona Avenue, which had flooded to knee height during a winter storm as high tide approached. The wake from the passing Honda buffeted low brick fences lining the tidy homes of working-class residents of this failing casino city, pushing floodwaters into Eileen DeDomenicis s living room.

It wasn t bad when we first moved in here the flooding wasn t bad, DeDomenicis said on a stormy morning in March, after helping her husband put furniture on blocks. She counted down until the tide would start to ebb, using a yardstick to measure the height of floodwaters climbing her patio stairs. She was tracking how many more inches it would take to inundate the ground floor. When somebody comes by in a car, it splashes up. It hits the door. DeDomenicis has lived in this house since 1982, a few hundred feet from a bay. She used to work as a restaurant server; now she s a school crossing guard. Her husband walked a mile to his job at Bally s Casino until he retired in January. They ve seen floods worsen as the seas have risen, as the land beneath them has sunk, and as local infrastructure has rotted away. It comes in the front door, the back door, and then from the bottom of the house, in through the sides, DeDomenicis said. You watch it come in and it meets in the middle of the house and there s nothing you can do. Two miles east of Arizona Avenue, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is spending tens of millions of dollars building a seawall to reduce storm surge and flooding risks for Atlantic City s downtown and its towering casinos, five of which have closed[1] in the past four years. A few miles in the other direction, it s preparing to spend tens of millions more on sand dunes to protect million-dollar oceanfront homes.

But the federal government has done little to protect the residents of Arizona Avenue, or the millions of other working class and poor Americans who live near bays up and down the East Coast, from a worsening flooding crisis. Seas are rising as pollution from fossil fuel burning, forest losses and farming fuels global warming, melting ice and expanding ocean water. With municipal budgets stretched thin, lower-income neighborhoods built on low-lying land are enduring some of the worst impacts. Climate Central scientists analyzed hundreds of coastal American cities and, in 90 of them, projected rapid escalation in the number of roads and homes facing routine inundation. The flooding can destroy vehicles, damage homes, block roads and freeways, hamper emergency operations, foster disease spread by mosquitoes, and cause profound inconveniences for coastal communities. Atlantic City is among those facing the greatest risks, yet much of the high-value property that the Army Corps is working to protect was built on a higher elevation and faces less frequent flooding than neighborhoods occupied by working class and unemployed residents an increasing number of whom are living in poverty.

Low walls called bulkheads built along Atlantic City s shores to block floods have washed away, or were never built in the first place. Flap valves in aging storm drains have stopped working, allowing water to flow backward from the bay into the street when tides are high. At high tide, stormwater pools in Arizona Avenue, unable to drain to the bay. The flooding is getting worse because seas have been rising along the mid-Atlantic coast faster than in most other regions, and the land here is sinking because of groundwater pumping and natural processes. High tides in Atlantic City reach more than a foot higher[2] than they did a century ago and sea level rise is accelerating. New Jersey has done little to address the problem, aside from administering federal grants that have helped a limited number of residents abandon or elevate vulnerable houses. We expect each town to focus on planning and budgeting for mitigating flooding, said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection[3] spokesman Bob Considine. Atlantic City can nary afford the kinds of capital improvements needed to provide meaningful relief. The Army Corps last year began a study[4] of bay flooding in a sweeping stretch of New Jersey covering Atlantic City and 88 other municipalities, home to an estimated 700,000. The study was authorized by Congress in 1987, but it wasn t kickstarted until federal research identified widespread risks following Superstorm Sandy.

The bay flooding study is fairly early in the process, said Joseph Forcina[5], a senior Army Corps official who is overseeing more than $4 billion worth of post-Sandy recovery work by the agency, including construction of a $34 million seawall in downtown Atlantic City and tens of millions of dollars worth of sand dune construction and replenishment nearby. The study is expected to take more than two years. We really are in the data-gathering mode. The study will help the agency propose a plan, which Congress could consider funding, to ease flood risks when high tides and storms push seawater from bays into streets and homes. It will consider the effects of sea level rise but it won t directly address flooding from poor drainage of rainwater, meaning any fixes spurred by the study are likely to be partial at best. The Corps is not the agency that deals with interior drainage, Forcina said. That s a local responsibility.

[embedded content] Credit: Ted Blanco Climate Central[6]

Floods are driving up insurance rates, while routinely causing property damage and inconveniences. Federal flood insurance promotes coastal living in high-risk areas, and the program is more than $20 billion in arrears[7] following Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. Arizona Avenue residents received Federal Emergency Management Agency letters in March warning of insurance rate increases ahead of 5 to 18 percent a year, which makes us want to leave even more, said Tom Gitto. Raising three children on Arizona Avenue, Gitto and his wife have been unemployed since the closure last year of Trump Taj Mahal, where they worked. He said the flooding has become unbearable but property prices are so low that they feel trapped. Two houses on Arizona Avenue recently sold for less than $35,000. Gitto paid a similar price for his fixer-upper in the 1990s, then spent more than the purchase price on renovations. Flood insurance provided $36,000 for another refurbishment after Sandy ravaged their home.

Flooding strikes the Jersey Shore so often now that the National Weather Service s office in Mount Holly, N.J., raised the threshold at which it issues flood advisories by more than 3 inches in 2012 to avoid creating warning fatigue, flooding program manager Dean Iovino said. Such advisories were being issued nearly every month in Atlantic City before the policy change, up from an average of four months a year in the 1980s. One out of 10 of the 20,000 homes in Atlantic City are at elevations that put them at risk of flooding each year on average, Climate Central found, though some are protected by bulkheads and other infrastructure that help keep floods at bay. The research was published Wednesday in the journal Climatic Change[8]. The proportion of the city s streets and homes affected by flooding is projected to quickly rise. Within about 30 years the typical life of a mortgage one out of three homes in Atlantic City could be inundated in a typical year. That would be the case even if aggressive efforts to slow climate change are put in place, such as a rapid global switch from fossil fuels to clean energy.

The Injustice Of Atlantic City's Floods

The worsening woes aren t confined to Atlantic City, though risks here are among the greatest in America. Neighborhoods near bays can experience rapid increases in the number of streets and homes exposed to regular floods, with small additional sea level capable of reaching far into flat cityscapes and suburbs. Elsewhere at the Jersey Shore, in Ocean City, N.J., the analysis showed one out of five homes are built on land expected to flood in typical years, a figure that could rise to nearly half by 2050. Other cities facing rapid increases in risks include San Mateo along San Francisco Bay in Silicon Valley, the lumber town of Aberdeen at Grays Harbor in Washington state, and Poquoson, Va., which has a population of 12,000 and juts into the Chesapeake Bay. The greenhouse gas pollution that s already been pumped into the atmosphere makes it too late to prevent coastal flooding from getting worse. It s simply a matter of how much worse.

The benefits of acting now to slow the effects of warming later would become clearest in the second half of this century. In Atlantic City, if global pollution trends continue and defenses are not improved, 80 percent of current homes risk being inundated in typical years by the end of the century, the analysis showed. By contrast, if greenhouse gas pollution is aggressively reduced almost immediately, the number of homes expected to be exposed to that risk in 2100 would fall to 60 percent. As efforts to protect the climate founder in the U.S. and elsewhere[9], unleashing higher temperatures and seas, communities like the DeDomenicises have three basic options for adapting. They can defend against floods with infrastructure that keeps tidal waters at bay, such as bulkheads, pumps, and marsh and dune restorations. They can accommodate the water using measures such as elevating existing houses and building new ones on stilts. And they can relocate altogether, an option that s expected to lead to mass migrations inland during the decades ahead.

Modeling by University of Georgia[10] demographer Mathew Hauer[11] projects 250,000 being forced by rising seas from New Jersey by century s end if pollution levels remain high, with nearly 1.5 million refugees fleeing to Texas from U.S. coasts elsewhere. And from Florida the poster child for sea level dangers in the U.S. 2.5 million may be driven to other states.

The Injustice Of Atlantic City's Floods The Army Corps is building a seawall to protect downtown Atlantic City from floods caused by storm surges. Credit: Ted Blanco Climate Central[12]

All three strategies are being pursued to some extent in Atlantic City. All of them are expensive, limiting the options available for a city in decline. Cities boom and bust, said Benjamin Strauss[13], coauthor of the new study and vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central, which researches and reports on climate change. Neighborhoods can thrive, and fall into decay. Those are, to some extent, natural cycles of economic life. But now, superimposed onto that for Atlantic City at just the wrong time is this awful existential sea level threat. Barrier islands like Absecon Island, upon which Atlantic City grew as a gaming and vacation mecca, line the East Coast, from New York to Florida, natural features associated with the coastline s wide continental shelf and shallow waters. Until barrier islands were developed and armored with seawalls, roads and building foundations, low-lying shores facing the mainland could keep up with rising seas. Wind and waves washed sand and mud over growing marshes, helping to build up the land. Now a century of development has locked down the shape and position of the islands, blocking natural processes.

It s a huge problem for the U.S., said Benjamin Horton[14], a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, which is a global leader in researching sea rise. These barrier islands are important for so many things important for housing, important for the economy. They re important for a variety of industries. They re especially important for ecosystems. And the barriers protect the mainland from hurricanes; they re a first line of defense. You lose the barrier islands and where do you think the big waves are going to hit?

As barrier islands and mainland coastlines were developed, wealthy neighborhoods clustered near ocean shores, where the elevations tend to be higher, which reduces flood risks, and where views are considered the best. Lower-income neighborhoods and industrial zones grew over former marshlands near bays and rivers, where swampy smells are strongest and where flooding occurs most frequently. That divide between rich and poor is clearly on display on Absecon Island, where stately houses built on higher land facing the ocean are often occupied only during summer when risks of storms are lowest. The vacation homes and downtown Atlantic City casinos will be protected from storm surges by a new seawall and sand dunes built by the Army Corps, despite lawsuits filed by homeowners angry that dunes will block ocean views. Poorer neighborhoods are exemplified by Arizona Avenue, a block-long street between a bay and a minor thoroughfare. Bricks in fences and walls are stained by floodwaters and decaying beneath the effects of wakes from passing cars. The century-old, two-story houses have concrete patios and little landscaping plants are hard to grow in the flood-prone conditions.

During high tides that accompany new and full moons, the street can flood on sunny days. Rubber trash cans can be buoyant in floodwaters, tip over and foul the street with spoiled food and bathroom waste, which residents sweep away after floods recede. Cars are frequently destroyed. Many of the houses along Arizona Avenue had to be stripped and renovated after Sandy filled them with floodwaters and coated walls and ceilings with mold. The winter storm that inundated Arizona Avenue in March was a typical one for the region. The nor easter struck during a full moon, meaning it coincided with some of the highest tides of the month. Floodwaters stopped rising a few inches beneath the DeDomenicises front door. Emergency crews patrolled in vehicles built to withstand high water. These kinds of floods are called nuisance floods[15] by experts. Nuisance floods are becoming routine features of coastal living around America, and their impacts are difficult to assess. Washington and other major cities could experience an average[16] of one flood caused by tides and storm surges every three days within 30 years, according to a study[17] published by researchers with the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists in the journal PLOS One in February. Rain and snow that fall during storms increase flood risks.

The Injustice Of Atlantic City's Floods Cars and vans can create wakes when they re driven through floods in Atlantic City s bay neighborhoods. Credit: Ted Blanco Climate Central[18]

Residents of Arizona Avenue describe anxiety when tides and storms bring floods, especially if they aren t home to help protect their possessions. The rising floodwaters can be emotional triggers reminders of the upheaving effects of floods wrought by major storms like Sandy in late 2012 and Winter Storm Jonas in early 2016. Some of the residents have spent months living in hotels while their homes were repaired following storms. One of Tom Gitto s children was born while the family was living in a hotel room paid for by the federal government after Sandy.

Susan Clayton[19], a psychology and environmental studies professor who researches psychological responses to climate change at the College of Wooster, a liberal arts college in Ohio, said such triggers can lead to sleeping difficulties, profound anxiety and other symptoms. The frequent risk of flooding may also make people constantly fear for their homes and for the security their homes provide.

It tends to be very important to everybody that they have some place that they feel they can relax, where they can be in control, Clayton said. Your home is your castle. When your home is threatened, that can really undermine a sense of stability and security. It s not just the flooding, it s the idea that it s your home itself that s being threatened. The economic impacts of nuisance floods can also be far-reaching researchers say they re more impactful than most government officials assume. Since they don t get a lot of attention, we don t have a data record of nuisance flooding costs, said Amir AghaKouchak[20], a University of California, Irvine, scientist who studies hydrology and climatology. AghaKouchak led a study published in the journal Earth s Future[21] in February that attempted to quantify the economic impacts in large coastal cities. The researchers were hamstrung by the dearth of data. Their preliminary findings, however, suggested that the cumulative economic impacts of nuisance floods might already exceed those of occasional disaster floods in some areas.

There s a lot of cost associated with this minor event, AghaKouchak said. Cities and counties have to send out people with trucks, pumps and so forth, they have to close down streets, build temporary berms.

On Arizona Avenue, residents say they feel abandoned by all levels of government. Like an Appalachian coal town, many here depend upon a single industry an entertainment sector that s in decline, anchored by casinos that draw visitors to hotels, arcades, restaurants, gas stations and strip clubs.

They forget about us, said Christopher Macaluso, a 30-year old poker dealer who owns a house on Arizona Avenue and grew up nearby. We re the city. If they didn t have the dealers, the dishwashers, the valet guys, the cooks and the housemaids, what have you got? We definitely feel left out. With casinos operating in nearby Pennsylvania and elsewhere following the lifting of gambling bans, the flow of visitors to Atlantic City has slowed over a decade from a gush to a trickle. Some towering casino buildings stand abandoned, like empty storefronts in a dying downtown. Others are filled well below capacity with gamers and vacationers; their gaudy interiors faded and gloomy. One out of every six jobs in Atlantic City was lost between 2010 and 2016 as nearly 5 percent of the population left, according to the latest regional economic report by New Jersey s Stockton University[22], which is building a campus in the city. The number of Atlantic City residents using food stamps rose to 15 percent in 2015, and more than one out of every five children here is now officially living in poverty.

President Trump s construction of two ill-fated casinos[23] in a saturated industry intensified the Atlantic City gaming bubble that began its spectacular burst a decade ago. (As president, Trump is[24] dismantling[25] regulations[26] designed to slow sea rise and other effects of warming.) The city is so broke that its government operations are being overseen by New Jersey.

The Injustice Of Atlantic City's Floods Flooding in Fairmount Avenue near Arizona Avenue at high tide during a storm. Credit: Ted Blanco Climate Central[27]

From the moment they started pulling handles in Pennsylvania, the cash that was pouring into slot machines in Atlantic City started to fall, said Stockton University s Oliver Cooke[28], who compares the city s economic plight to that of Detroit. As the economy melted down and the land valuations in the city headed south, the tax base just completely melted away. Unable to pay for far-reaching measures taken by wealthier waterfront regions, like road-raising in Miami Beach[29] and sweeping marsh restorations[30]in the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlantic City has taken only modest steps to ease flooding. Using funds from a bond sale and state and federal grants, the city has been refurbishing sluice gates in a canal that were built to control floodwaters but haven t worked in more than half a century. It plans to replace flap valves in two stormwater drains near Arizona Avenue for $16,000 apiece. We re treating that money like gold, said Elizabeth Terenik, who was Atlantic City s planning director until last month, when she left its shrinking workforce for a job with a flood-prone township nearby.

That s far shy of the tens of millions of dollars being spent just blocks away. The Army Corps is using Sandy recovery money to alleviate hazards in wealthier parts of the city and elsewhere on Absecon Island and in New York and other nearby states, while flooding affecting low-income residents of Arizona Avenue and similar neighborhoods is overlooked.

The Corps does not say, Here s a problem, and we re going to fix it somebody has to ask them to help, said Gerald Galloway[31], a University of Maryland engineering professor and former Army Corps official. It depends on a very solid citizen push to get it done. The Corps of Engineers has a backlog of construction awaiting money. You need very strong organizations competing for it.

Coastal New Jersey s working class have little power in Washington and their cities manage modest budgets. The divide in Atlantic City reflects a grand injustice of global warming one that s familiar to Pacific nations facing obliteration from rising seas, and to Alaskan tribes settled by the government on shrinking coasts. While the wealthy may be able to adapt to the effects of climate change, the poor oftentimes cannot.

In some cases, the most vulnerable populations will not be able to move, said Miyuki Hino[32], a Stanford PhD candidate who has studied coastal resettlements[33] around the world. In other cases, they ll be forced to.

This article is reproduced with permission from Climate Central[34]. The article was first published[35] on May 10, 2017.

References

  1. ^ five of which have closed (philly.curbed.com)
  2. ^ more than a foot higher (tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov)
  3. ^ Department of Environmental Protection (www.nj.gov)
  4. ^ began a study (www.nap.usace.army.mil)
  5. ^ Joseph Forcina (www.nad.usace.army.mil)
  6. ^ Ted Blanco Climate Central (www.youtube.com)
  7. ^ $20 billion in arrears (www.pbs.org)
  8. ^ published Wednesday in the journal Climatic Change (link.springer.com)
  9. ^ founder in the U.S. and elsewhere (www.climatecentral.org)
  10. ^ Modeling by University of Georgia (www.nature.com)
  11. ^ Mathew Hauer (cviog.uga.edu)
  12. ^ Ted Blanco Climate Central (reports.climatecentral.org)
  13. ^ Benjamin Strauss (www.climatecentral.org)
  14. ^ Benjamin Horton (marine.rutgers.edu)
  15. ^ nuisance floods (oceanservice.noaa.gov)
  16. ^ could experience an average (www.climatecentral.org)
  17. ^ according to a study (journals.plos.org)
  18. ^ Ted Blanco Climate Central (reports.climatecentral.org)
  19. ^ Susan Clayton (www.wooster.edu)
  20. ^ Amir AghaKouchak (amir.eng.uci.edu)
  21. ^ published in the journal Earth s Future (onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
  22. ^ economic report by New Jersey s Stockton University (online.fliphtml5.com)
  23. ^ construction of two ill-fated casinos (www.nytimes.com)
  24. ^ Trump is (www.climatecentral.org)
  25. ^ dismantling (www.climatecentral.org)
  26. ^ regulations (www.climatecentral.org)
  27. ^ Ted Blanco Climate Central (reports.climatecentral.org)
  28. ^ Oliver Cooke (stockton.edu)
  29. ^ like road-raising in Miami Beach (www.theguardian.com)
  30. ^ sweeping marsh restorations (www.climatecentral.org)
  31. ^ Gerald Galloway (www.civil.umd.edu)
  32. ^ Miyuki Hino (profiles.stanford.edu)
  33. ^ studied coastal resettlements (www.climatecentral.org)
  34. ^ Climate Central (www.climatecentral.org)
  35. ^ first published (reports.climatecentral.org)

Cloudflare’s incredible solution for IoT security: Use our services

Traffic bouncer Cloudflare has outlined what it claims is the solution to the perennial internet-of-things security problem: pay it. The company points out what most security experts have been saying for some time: IoT devices are a security disaster, they are going to grow exponentially, and when people can’t even be relied on to update their browsers, having billions of unpatched internet-connected devices is a disaster waiting to happen. And so Cloudflare has come up with its solution[1]: route everything through us.

This does not come as a huge surprise. The company does tend to offer the same solution to every online problem: Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack? Route your traffic through us. Man-in-the-middle attack? Pay us to deal with your data. Too many spam comments? We have a paid service for that. Need encryption? Guess what? But that doesn’t mean that the company’s new Orbit service is a bad idea. In fact, it may very well be a good or even great idea given the state of the current system for securing online devices. The basic idea is quite simple: in the same way website owners pay Cloudflare to sit in between them and their visitors, IoT manufacturers will pay for the Orbit service to sit between their devices and the public internet.

The manufacturers will configure their devices to only go through Orbit, which gives them (or, most accurately, Cloudflare) the ability to not only shield tech-ignorant consumers from hacking efforts, but also apply virtual security patches across all of its devices at once.

Open-ish

Although this is far from ideal since it introduces a proprietary layer to the open internet, the reality is that it could be a lifesaver for IoT companies, which have persistently shown themselves incapable of carrying out decent security audits on their products and continue to make basic errors, like hard-coding passwords. And, to be fair to Cloudflare, the company has shown itself to be very capable of handling huge amounts of traffic without lag or collapse. The million-dollar-question of course is: how much does it cost? Cloudflare told us that the fee was based on the number of devices and the bandwidth required but wouldn’t provide an exact figure.

If the cost is $10 a year per device and an IoT company can offer the extra security as part of a premium package alongside cloud recording or similar then it is probably a great deal. But if the idea is that it will be supplied for free to customers who buy the product and don’t sign up to an ongoing service fee, then the price is going to have to be much, much lower for there to be any kind of significant take-up. Of course, the biggest security risk comes from companies offering low-price IoT items[2] that don’t require ongoing fees. So while Cloudflare’s new service may help improve mid- to high-end IoT products’ security, the huge risks from the low-end are unlikely go away. So expect plenty more DDoS attacks from zombie webcams[3].

And then there is the fact that if lots of IoT manufacturers chose to use this service, it would make Cloudflare a single point-of-failure and hence a huge target for hackers. And Cloudflare, like any company using software, is not immune to bugs[4]. Bugs that can provide an enormous wealth of information.

Oh please god no, not another one

One thing we do have to pick on Cloudflare for, however: in the official notice of the new service, the company notes that it is “introducing the industry’s first IoT alliance made up of a group of IoT companies and experts in the field that will be committed to forming best practices and standards for protecting connected devices and ensuring the resilience of the Internet of Things.”

Far from this being the “industry’s first IoT alliance,” this effort will only add yet more overhead and confusion to a massively overpopulated[5] world of internet-of-things alliances, consortiums, organizations, groups, working groups, feuding government departments[6], security experts pushing for laws[7], legislators and consumer agencies[8] pretending not to hear, and god knows what else.

Below is a partial list of the people working on IoT security and best practices. We wonder why on earth Cloudflare thinks it’s a good idea to add yet another one to the list.

That barren landscape of Internet of Things standards bodies

References

  1. ^ solution (blog.cloudflare.com)
  2. ^ low-price IoT items (www.theregister.co.uk)
  3. ^ attacks from zombie webcams (www.theregister.co.uk)
  4. ^ not immune to bugs (www.theregister.co.uk)
  5. ^ massively overpopulated (www.theregister.co.uk)
  6. ^ feuding government departments (www.theregister.co.uk)
  7. ^ pushing for laws (www.theregister.co.uk)
  8. ^ consumer agencies (www.theregister.co.uk)

Royal British Legion salutes Nottinghamshire women veterans

Seventeen women were among the officer cadets who graduated at the Sovereign’s Parade at Sandhurst this month. One of them, commissioned into the Royal Tank Regiment, became the first British Army officer to join a close combat unit.

The historic appointment came almost exactly one century after women first enrolled in Britain’s armed services. It was in July 1917 that the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was founded and in the remaining months of the First World War some 57,000 climbed into khaki skirts hems a maximum 12in above the ground – to serve king and country both at home and overseas. They did so mainly as cooks, mess waitress, telephonists, mechanics and medical orderlies.

And although women would eventually graduate to mainstream Army units and in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force into warships and warplanes it was not until 2016 that Prime Minister David Cameron gave the go-ahead for women soldiers to assume close-combat roles on the front line.


Read more: ‘Locally produced’ bacon came from Poland and Germany[1]


The 100th anniversary of the WAAC and a century of women’s military service will be commemorated on Friday, July 7, with a ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum. It will be attended by veterans of all the women’s service branches as well as current service personnel. Although there are no surviving members of the WAAC, the gathering will include veterans of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, formed ahead of the Second World War, and the ATS’s successor, the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC).

Royal British Legion Salutes Nottinghamshire Women Veterans

ATS veteran Barbara Kemp with the insignia of the Legion of Honour

That’s the generation of Barbara Kemp, 92, of Plungar, who had been brought up in care and volunteered with the ATS in order to pay the bills.

“The ATS was the first family I ever had,” she reflected on service which took her into France and Belgium. “Until I got married, it was the best thing I’d ever done.”


Read more: Meet the challengers for Notts Young Chef of the Year[2]


It was an era when the women’s role in the military effort was seen as essentially supportive. A wartime recruiting poster for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force urged girls to “serve with the men who fly”. But that didn’t mean there was no danger. Before she was invalided home with illness, Barbara served at a barracks in Belgium which were shot up by a Luftwaffe fighter pilot.

Royal British Legion Salutes Nottinghamshire Women Veterans

Barbara Kemp as an ATS corporal during the Second World War

Mrs Kemp is not entirely convinced that women should be slugging it out, eyeball to eyeball, with the enemies of the Queen.

“We had to put up with dangers and we showed that we were just as good as men but sometimes equality is not such a good thing and I don’t think the front line is the right role for women,” she said. Mrs Kemp married wartime sailor Bill Kemp, who later practised as an architect in Nottingham. In 2015 a reminder of her service arrived in the post the insignia of the Legion of Honour, bestowed by President Francois Hollande on all who had helped liberate France in 1944.


Read more: Teen arrested after Long Eaton park vandalism patrols[3][4]


A later generation of women in uniform is represented by Donna Remzi of Bulwell, who has the Meritorious Service Medal and ten other medals to show for her 23 years of service. She was a driver, transferring from the WRAC when it was amalgamated into the Army in 1992 and then serving first in the Royal Corps of Transport and later the Royal Logistics Corps.

Donna served in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and the post-conflict Falklands and as a staff car specialist with close protection training she drove royalty, defence secretaries and generals.

“I loved the life and made a lot of friends,” said Donna, 48, who stays in touch with former colleagues via the WRAC Association. Now working in property development, she says: “Yes, I’d recommend it to girls looking at a career, but it’s important that they keep themselves fit.”

Royal British Legion Salutes Nottinghamshire Women Veterans

The National Memorial Arboretum, venue for the July commemoration

Women at War 100 is being organised by the Royal British Legion, whose director-general Charles Byrne said: “This is an opportunity to recognise the vital role of women in the UK armed forces.

“The roles of women in the services has changed beyond recognition over the last century but throughout that time their contribution has been critical to the UK’s military campaigns.”

Claire Rowcliffe, the Legion’s director of fundraising, urged women veterans from Nottinghamshire to join the party.

“We’d love to see the National Memorial Arboretum full of women who have served, or are still serving, with lots of stories to tell,” said Ms Rowcliffe, who was commissioned into the Royal Military Police in 1998 and whose service over four years included an operational tour of Kosovo.

Royal British Legion Salutes Nottinghamshire Women Veterans

Royal British Legion director of fundraising Claire Rowcliffe

“We already support many women who are the spouses or partners of servicemen, or perhaps daughters who are their carers,” she said. “Those numbers are likely to rise as more women take on more roles in the services.”

The ceremony on July 7 will also involve representatives of uniformed nursing services and survivors of the Land Army and the Special Operations Executive. For more information, click here[5].


A century of women in the British armed services

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was formed in 1917 and in 1918 it was renamed the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps. It was disbanded in 1921. In 1938 the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) was formed and in 1949 it was succeeded by the Women’s Royal Army Corps, which was in integrated into the British Army in 1992.

Also founded in 1917 was the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS). It was disbanded in 1919 but restored in 1939. In 1993 it was amalgamated into the Royal Navy.

The Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) existed from 1918 to 1920, and the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force from 1939 to 1949, when it was absorbed into the re-formed WRAF. The WRAF was absorbed into the RAF in 1994, completing the assimilation of women’s units into the UK’s mainstream armed services.

References

  1. ^ ‘Locally produced’ bacon came from Poland and Germany (www.nottinghampost.com)
  2. ^ Meet the challengers for Notts Young Chef of the Year (www.nottinghampost.com)
  3. ^ Teen arrested after Long (www.nottinghampost.com)
  4. ^ Eaton park vandalism patrols (www.nottinghampost.com)
  5. ^ click here (www.britishlegion.org.uk)
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