Yeoman (F)

Yeoman (F)

Yeoman (F) was a rank in the U.S. Naval Reserve in World War I. The first Yeoman (F) was Loretta Perfectus Walsh. At the time, the women were popularly referred to as "yeomanettes" or even "yeowomen", although the official designation was Yeoman (F). [Bishop, David J. "Naval Submarine Base New London" p.58. Arcadia Publishing (2005) ISBN 0738538086]

In March 1917, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels realized that the Naval Reserve Act of 1916 used the word "yeoman" instead of "man" or "male", and allowed for the induction of "all persons who may be capable of performing special useful service for coastal defense." He began enlisting females as Yeoman (F), and in less than a month the Navy officially swore in the first female sailor in U.S. history. [ [ Nathaniel Patch. "The Story of the Female Yeomen during the First World War" The National Archives. Prologue, Fall 2006, Vol. 38, No. 3] ]

Typically, female Yeoman reservists performed clerical duties such as typing, stenography, bookkeeping, accounting, inventory control, and telephone operation. A few became radio operators, electricians, draftsmen, pharmacists, photographers, telegraphers, fingerprint experts, chemists, torpedo assemblers and camouflage designers. Female Yeomen did not attend boot camp. A large number were stationed in Washington, D.C., while others served in naval stations, hospitals, shipyards cite web| last = Miller| first = Larry| title = Wartime boomtown: Sailors and Yeomanettes boost the work force to 6,500 at the Bremerton Navy yard, where ships and subs were built to win World War I| work = Bremerton Centennial 1901-2001, A Historical Retrospective| publisher = Kitsap Sun| date = | url = | accessdate = 2008-03-29 ] and munitions factories around the country. Many recruiting stations employed the women who volunteered there as very effective recruiters, and as many as forty women served in England, France, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Canal Zone, Guam, and the Territory of Hawaii. cite book |last=Ebbert |first=Jean and Marie-Beth Hall|title=The First, the Few, the Forgotten: Navy and Marine Corps Women in World War I |date=2002 |publisher=The Naval Institute Press |location=Annapolis, MD |isbn=155750203X ]

Without new technologies, the Navy would never have had enough jobs to employ 11,274 female Yeomen. Also, having women in uniform was a positive image for the Navy to project. As well as their many military duties, the women were taught to march and drill at public rallies, recruiting campaigns, war bond drives, and troop send-offs.

The military's first enlisted women

right|280px|thumb|Yeomanettes_at_the_U.S._Naval_Hospital,_Mare Island, 1918
Women had served in the United States military before. In 1901 a female Nurse Corps was established in the Army Medical Department, and in 1907 a Navy Nurse Corps was established. However, despite their uniforms the nurses were civilian employees with few benefits. They slowly gained additional privileges, including "relative ranks" and insignia in 1920, a retirement pension in 1926, and a disability pension if injured in the line of duty in 1926. Edith Nourse Rogers, one of the first women to serve in Congress, voted to support the pensions. [Edith Nourse Rogers#WAAC]

The first American women enlisted into the regular armed forces were 13,000 women admitted into active duty in the Navy and Marines during World War I, and a much smaller number admitted into the Coast Guard. The Yeoman (F) recruits and women Marines primarily served in clerical positions. They received the same benefits and responsibilities as men, including identical pay (US$28.75 per month), and were treated as veterans after the war. These women were quickly demobilized when hostilities ceased, and aside from the Nurse Corps the soldiery became once again exclusively male. [Edith Nourse Rogers#WAAC]


. Both consisted of a single-breasted Norfolk style coat with gilt buttons and a rating badge on the left sleeve, worn over a skirt of the same fabric and shirt waist. The coat had patch pockets on each hip and a belt. The skirt was hemmed to four inches above the ankle, and the shirt waist was designed to be worn either open at the neck or buttoned. Hats were to be flat-brimmed sailor hats of navy blue felt or straw.cite news | title = Uniforms for Navy Girls; Tailor-Made Suits to be Provided for Women Enlisted as Yeomen| pages = 21| publisher = The New York Times| date = June 19, 1917| url =| accessdate = 2008-03-30 ] Shoes, hose, gloves and a standard Navy neckerchief completed the outfit. Capes were also prescribed for cold weather. [cite web| last = U. S. Navy| title = Women's Uniform Regulations, Yeomen (F), U.S. Naval Reserve Force, 1918| work = World War I era Yeomen (F)| publisher = Naval Historical Center| date = | url = | accessdate = 2008-03-30]

, had enlisted in March 1917, with no uniform specified, so various uniforms had been devised from interpretations of existing men's uniforms. Local adaptations were also made to accommodate those working in non-clerical jobs.


Initially offered general discharges, the women veterans successfully lobbied for honorable discharges in recognition of their service. Many continued in government service as civilians. Women veterans joined the newly created American Legion in large numbers, forming posts that were all female or overwhelmingly female in larger cities or joining "mixed" units in other areas.

The National Yeoman (F) Association began in 1926 and was chartered in 1936 under Title 36 of the United States Code with Public Law 676-74. [cite book |last=Ebbert |first=Jean and Marie-Beth Hall|title=Crossed Currents: Navy Women from WWI to Tailhook [Revised] |date=1999 |publisher=Brassey's |location=Washington, D.C. |isbn=978-1574881936 ]

ee also

*Edith Nourse Rogers
*Joy Bright Hancock
*History of the United States Navy
*History of women in the military

Further reading

*cite book |last=Hancock|first=Joy Bright Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired) |title=Lady in the Navy A Personal Reminiscence |date=1972 |publisher=The Naval Institute Press |location=Annapolis, MD |isbn=0-87021-336-9
*cite book |last=Ebbert |first=Jean and Marie-Beth Hall|title=The First, the Few, the Forgotten: Navy and Marine Corps Women in World War I |date=2002 |publisher=The Naval Institute Press |location=Annapolis, MD |isbn=155750203X
* [ I Was a Yeoman (F)] - Mrs. Henry F. Butler (nee Estelle Kemper) recounts her time as a Yeoman (F) during WWI.
* [ The Yeoman (F)] from The Mariners' Museum: Women & The Sea
* [ Yeoman (F) uniform] from Americans at War exhibition, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
* [ The Story of the Female Yeomen during the First World War] by Nathaniel Patch. Patch also discusses research into individual Yeomen (F) using the National Archives.
* [ Last Known Yeoman (F) Laid To Rest] (Charlotte Louise Berry Winters), 30 March 2007
* [ World War I: Yeomen (F)] from the Women In Military Service For America Memorial website
* [ The End of an Era: The Last Surviving World War I Woman Veteran Dies] - article from the Women In Military Service For America Memorial
* [ The Golden Fourteen, Plus] - Richard E. Miller reports on the service of as many as thirty black women in the USNRF in WWI
* [ WW1 Yeoman (F) Uniform]

*cite web | title = Yeoman (F) Uniform| work = The Price of Freedom: Americans at War | publisher = National Museum of American History | url =| accessdate = 2008-03-29


External links

* [ Women & the U.S. Navy -- World War I era Yeomen (F)]
* [ Photos] and [ where they originated]
* [ JWA - Navy—Navy Nurse Corps]
* [ Women WWI]

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  • Yeoman — Yeo man, n.; pl. {Yeomen}. [OE. yoman, [yogh]eman, [yogh]oman; of uncertain origin; perhaps the first, syllable is akin to OFries. g[=a] district, region, G. gau, OHG. gewi, gouwi, Goth. gawi. [root]100.] [1913 Webster] 1. A common man, or one of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Yeoman — Yeoman, IN U.S. town in Indiana Population (2000): 96 Housing Units (2000): 47 Land area (2000): 0.121930 sq. miles (0.315798 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.121930 sq. miles (0.315798 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Yeoman, IN — U.S. town in Indiana Population (2000): 96 Housing Units (2000): 47 Land area (2000): 0.121930 sq. miles (0.315798 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.121930 sq. miles (0.315798 sq. km) FIPS code:… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • yeoman — ► NOUN historical 1) a man holding a small landed estate; a freeholder. 2) a servant in a royal or noble household. 3) Brit. a member of the yeomanry force. ● yeoman service Cf. ↑yeoman service DERIVATIVES …   English terms dictionary

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  • Yeoman — [ˈjoʊmən] bezeichnet den englischen Freibauern im mittelalterlichen England. Später wurde der Begriff auch auf Pächter und kleine Grundbesitzer übernommen.[1] Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Begriff 2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yeoman — (engl., spr. Johmänn), 1) im Mittelalter Jeder, welcher ein freies Landeigenthum besaß, ein Freisasse; jetzt 2) die kleinen Grundbesitzer u. Pächter, sie bilden in ihrer Gesammtheit die Yeomanry …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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