when pigs fly … expect the unbelievable

Archive for October 2013

This past week as I traveled with my husband to a family wedding on the coast, we listened to Rick Atkinson’s The Guns at Last Light.  Rick mentioned something about Iris Carpenter, about whom I knew little.  She is one of the, if not the, most significant women correspondents of WWII.

The daughter of a cinema entrepreneur, was born in England in 1906. She became a journalist and worked as a film critic for the Daily Express. After her marriage to Charles Scruby she retired from journalism and gave birth to two children.

During the Second World War she joined the Daily Herald and wrote about the Blitz in London. When she was refused permission to cover the war in Europe, she moved to the United States and became a war correspondent with The Boston Globe.

Carpenter accredited to the First United States Army and arrived in France four days after the D-Day landings. Soon afterwards she got into trouble with the authorities after visiting the Cherbourg beachhead without a proper military escort. As a result Carpenter and other women reporters were placed under the command of the Public Relations Division and were told they could not visit the front-line. This directive was later changed and along with Tania Long, Ann Stringer and Catherine Coyne she was allowed to travel with the 1st Army and reported the war in France, Holland, Belgium and Germany.

Carpenter was also at Torgau when the Red Army and the US Army joined up for the first time. Jack Hazard of the The Boston Globe later commented: “She has made several scoops of real news that men missed, because of her daring, enthusiasm, originality and scorn of personal comfort.” She was also with the troops when they liberated Buchenwald and Dachau.

According to Time Magazine: “Her reports from the front lines and hospitals in France and Germany described in graphic prose some of the bloodiest fighting on the Western front, including the Battle of the Bulge as well as the liberation of Nazi concentration camps; remained in the U.S., working for Voice of America.”

After the war she married Colonel Russell F. Akers of the First United States Army. Her book, No Woman’s World, was published in 1946.

Information from First US Army Website.

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