The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War
Date of publication: February 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Second World War was the WI's finest hour. The whole of its previous history - two decades of educating, entertaining and supporting women and campaigning on women's issues - culminated in the enormous collective responsibility felt by the members to 'do their bit' for Britain. With all the vigour, energy and enthusiasm at their disposal, a third of a million country women set out to make their lives and the lives of those around them more bearable in what they described as 'a period of insanity'.
Jambusters tells the story of the minute and idiosyncratic details of everyday life during the Second World War for the 5,546 Women's Institutes and how they helped to improve the lot of millions of their fellow Britons. Big pictures and bravery are fashionable and exciting but it was the behind-the-scenes, nitty-gritty approach to the daily problems presented by the war that were at the heart of what the WI did to make a difference. Making jam, making do and mending, gathering rosehips, keeping pigs and rabbits, housing evacuees, setting up canteens for the troops, knitting, singing and campaigning for a better Britain after the war: all these activities played a crucial role in war time.