How The Girl Guides Won the War

I didn't mean to go book shopping. I was downtown and wandering around the mall while Lee was at church. I wasn't really shopping for anything besides a birthday gift (procured and will soon be in the mail!) and was kind of hoping I'd find something that was at least worth trying on. I gave up and darted across the street to the bookstore. I figured I'd just do some browsing. I headed to the history section to see what goodies I might find. You might have noticed that I'm a pretty good British non-fiction jaunt at the moment.

I checked my usual section (WWI & WWII history) without finding much that was new and of interest. I was about to turn away when I decided to give the British History section a whirl. Down near the bottom of the shelf a book caught my eye -- How the Girl Guides Won the War by Janie Hampton. A quick iPhone search showed me that the library didn't have it. I picked up and put it back three times before I decided to buy it.

I've read a lot of about women on the homefront in WWII. I've seen Guides references a couple of times, mostly in regards to the princesses. It turns out that Guides really did do a lot during the War. Who knew?

I wasn't a Guide. I gave Brownies a shot, I lasted about a year. I even went to the camp and hated every second of it and begged my parents to come pick me up. They did, thank goodness. All I wanted to do was to be left alone to read in a corner. (I know, imagine that.) For some reason I was signed up again the next year but managed to convince my mother that I really did not want to go and was able to quit. (It was early enough that she got her money back.)

It was really interesting to read how these young girls used their Guide knowledge to get through the war. How the Guide and Brownie groups helped provide some structure amid chaos for evacuees and Guides in internment camps. The Guides were determined fundraisers and helped purchase everything from supplies to ambulances. And the Guides in Poland? They were brave above and beyond. Though at time the writing comes across a bit overly earnest (there was much eyerolling over the advice to smile and to give into elders -- this is quite possibly why I was not cut out for Girl Guides) it cannot be denied that the Guides did good works during the War.

I'm really rather glad I ended up in the bookstore on the weekend.