One hundred years ago today, on 31 March 1917, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was deployed into France.

From the outbreak of the First World War, women strove to be a central part of the war effort. From joining voluntary organisations to working in munitions factories, women became the backbone of the home front.

More than just "the girl behind the man behind the gun"

But plenty wanted to have their own uniformed service and be more than just "the girl behind the man behind the gun" as recruitment posters famously said.

In 1916, The War Office established the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, declaring that many of the male soldiers' duties on the front could be performed by women as well.

The first group of girls arrived in France on 31 March 1917 and were tasked with roles as cooks, office workers and mechanics. Many served within range of enemy shelling and, in 1918, nine members of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps were killed by an air-raid. They and many more women who served were awarded medals for bravery.

In April 1918, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was renamed the Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Army Corps and remained so until it was ultimately disbanded in 1921. By then more than 57,000 women had served in its ranks.

Women’s branches of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force were also formed during the First World War and, in total, more than 100,000 women served in the armed forces.

Marking the centenary of their first deployment

As part of the For Club and Country project, players from the current Women’s Army FA team have been remembering the footballers who went to war. And we're calling on you to help remember the women who were pioneers for football, work and the First World War, too. Donate and be part of a living legacy for future generations.

Find out more about the role of women's football during the First World War and support your club in our appeal