Hello, my name is Gail Newsham, I am the original and official biographer of the Dick, Kerr Ladies. My book, 'In a League of Their Own !' was first published in 1994. Welcome to my website where you will find the most accurate and factually correct information about this amazing women's football team. I hope you enjoy your stay and that you will respect my ownership of this work and my moral rights regarding Intellectual Property.
The 1914-18 war was totally devastating in terms of human casualty and mortality on both sides. No other war in history had seen such huge loss of life and this was mainly due to the introduction of modern warfare. The battlefield had to be fed with a constant supply of weapons, ammunition, food and medical supplies and the demand for them increased as the war continued. And as Lord Kitchener's image reminded men, 'YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU', the country also needed women too. They were the nation's hidden army and they began to take up their places in the factories as fast as the men left for the front. Women were no strangers to working in factories, but during the war the amount of manual labour undertaken by them was greatly increased as more and more women were needed to help keep the war machine alive. Being thrown together at such a terrible time and all fighting for the same cause, a new comradeship between the women was being born and teamwork was the order of the day.
Women were drafted into town's in great numbers in order to work in munitions and they became known as the 'Munitionettes'. The Government appointed women welfare supervisors and sent them into the factories to oversee the physical wellbeing of the girls and they also encouraged the development of sporting activities. Among those activities was football, and football became the official sport of the munitions girls. Almost every factory across the United Kingdom involved in war work, had a ladies football team. Many may have only played against other departments within their own factory, but teams were recorded from one end of the country to the other.
But it was in Preston, Lancashire where the most successful team in the history of women's football was born. Formed at Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd, these very ordinary factory girls quite literally took the country by storm. On Christmas Day 1917, 10,000 spectators came to Deepdale, the home of Preston North End, to witness the start of the most phenomenal success story in the history of women's sport. Dick, Kerr Ladies notched up the first of many famous victories and £600 was raised for the wounded soldiers. Today that would be worth over £38,000!
'In a League of Their Own!' by Gail J Newsham was the first book to document the complete history of this remarkable team. (Available to order from Waterstones www.waterstones.com ISBN 1-85727-029-0) It is due to my many years of research that so much information about the team is now available world wide. My passion, dedication, committment and enthusiasm for the Dick, Kerr Ladies has also seen two former players, Lily Parr and Joan Whalley, inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame. My work continues.