Imperial soldiers played a significant and increasingly well acknowledged part in the Second World War, but what about the women of the British empire? What stories might global and feminist histories of the Second World War reveal? Along the thoroughfares of empire, from Aden to Calcutta and Hong Kong, women’s lives were transformed by the pressures of the global war.

Listen to Yasmin Khan explore some of the most marginal and forgotten voices in British Second World War history, in her 2019 Raphael Samuel Memorial Lecture on “Women on the Frontline of Empire”.

This History Workshop Podcast was recorded by Elly Robson, introduced by Marybeth Hamilton and edited by Imogen Greenberg. The annual Raphael Samuel Memorial Lecture has been organised by the Raphael Samuel History Centre since 1998.

Yasmin Khan is an Associate Professor of British History at the University of Oxford. She has published on the decolonization of South Asia including refugees, war and the Partition of 1947, most recently The Raj at War (Bodley Head, 2015). In 2018 she presented a short series, A Passage to Britain, on BBC2.

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