Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

In pictures: Chelsea welcomes women

Chelsea pensioners

The Royal Chelsea Hospital, home to more than 300 British veterans, has opened its doors to women for the first time.

Chelsea pensioners

Dorothy Hughes and Winifred Phillips were welcomed by some of the Chelsea Pensioners at a ceremony in the Hospital.

Chelsea pensioners

Dorothy Hughes was posted to the 450 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery in London during World War II...

Chelsea pensioners

...and later worked with the Army Operational Research Group developing fuses in shells used against V2 rockets.

Chelsea pensioners

Winifred Phillips (centre) was a nurse before joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1948.

Chelsea pensioners

Winifred then enlisted in the Women's Royal Army Corps and completed 22 years of service in Egypt, Singapore, Cyprus and Germany.

Chelsea pensioners

The Royal Chelsea Hospital was founded in 1682 for the "succour and relief of veterans broken by age and war".

Chelsea pensioners

The press were on hand to record this historic moment in the Hospital's history.

Chelsea pensioners

The introduction of women is the result of years of fundraising.

Chelsea pensioners

For the men, life in the Hospital may never be the same. Photographs and text by Phil Coomes.



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