The madonnas of Pervyse
To the Belgian soldiers, Mairi Chisholm and Elsie Knocker were the 'madonnas of Pervyse'. In a sense, the soldiers treated the women as if they were living saints, as Mairi was to explain when she was interviewed in 1976.
We were dealing with a Catholic country and they called us 'deux madones de Pervyse'. We had, funnily enough, over the entrance to the dug-out ... a little shrine thing, you see, and that's what the soldiers called us, the two madonnas of Pervyse, and they felt if they fell into our hands, you see, they had every possible chance.
Extract quoted by permission of the Imperial War Museum