Who is she? Can you identify the war hero without a name at a London museum

  • Tap above to watch video report by Mahatir Pasha

A London museum is appealing for help to solve a war time mystery and put a name to the only known portrait of a female WW2 naval officer to go on display.

The pastel image shows one of the 75,000 who served in the Women's Royal Naval Service during the conflict.

Her striking pose was captured in a piece of art which has ended up in the hands of the Royal Museums Greenwich.

But who is she?

"This kind of portrait showing a woman in uniform, is quite a rare thing," said Curator of Art (post-1800), Katherine Gazzard."And certainly in the time I've worked at this museum, this is the first opportunity we've had to acquire one, the first opportunity for a long time.

"So we really want to make the most of that and as part of that find out as much as we can about this woman and who she was, which is the mystery at the heart of this picture," Katherine added. Royal Museums Greenwich have spent the past seven months researching the artwork to try and identify the woman. Staff are now appealing to anyone who might recognise her to come forward and they've given some clues.

  • The piece was made by an artist called Joseph McCulloch

  • She was a Third Officer because of the single stripe of light blue around her cuffs

  • We can also see a medal she won pinned to her chest

  • And she is wearing a wedding or engagement ring

Credit: Royal Museums Greenwich

The museum currently boasts hundreds of paintings of men in naval uniform - but not a single one of a woman and this work outlines a wider problem for some historians.

"It flags up the fact that women have always been involved in the navy and more broadly they've always been involved in the military but our history is very patchy let's put it that way," said historian Julie Wheelwright.

"And a lot of women's accomplishments and achievements in the military and contributions have really been forgotten and one of the reason they've been forgotten about is because these histories tend to be written by men," she added. You'll be able to view the work of art from February next year at the Queen's House in Greenwich, meanwhile, the curators are hoping they'll be able to identify this mystery woman before then.

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