THE FIRST AID NURSING YEOMANRY (FANY) was created in 1907 as a first aid link between front-line fighting units and the field hospitals.

During the First World War, FANYs ran field hospitals, drove ambulances and set up soup kitchens and troop canteens, often under highly dangerous conditions. By the Armistice, they had been awarded many decorations for bravery, including 17 Military Medals, 1 Legion d'Honneur and 27 Croix de Guerre.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Corps was called upon to form the nucleus of the Motor Driver Companies of the ATS. Another section was attached to the Polish Army, and a Kenyan unit formed in 1935 also joined the war effort. A spirit of independence led others to join the FANY in the Special Operations Executive.

These women worked on coding and signals, acted as conductors for agents and provided administration and technical support for the Special Training Schools. Their work was top secret and often highly skilled. Members operated in several theatres of war, including North Africa, Italy, India and the Far East.

   Many of the female agents sent by SOE to France were
   commissioned into the Corps. Twelve died in concentration
   camps. Three of these courageous women - Odette Hallowes,
   Violette Szabo and Noor lnayat Khan - were awarded
   the George Cross, the last two posthumously.

   (Pictured: Odette Hallowes GC, MBE, Chevalier de Legion d'Honneur)

In all 54 names are recorded on the FANY memorial at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, London.

Since the war, the Corps has been known chiefly for its work in the field of military and civil communications, a legacy of its distinguished wartime record and, in 1999, the FANY was officially renamed the Princess Royal's Volunteer Corps (PRVC).