While the men were away dying in their thousands, it is claimed many women hit the bottle to deal with the grief.
Now, for the first time, a picture has emerged of the extent of their drinking - and the chauvinistic attitude that aimed to punish and restrict them.
Family history website Genes Reunited highlighted that in 1915, one newspaper recorded county magistrate Mr Theophilus Simpson expressing shocked at seeing "26 women enter a licensed house in 10 minutes, with 16 coming out who he had not seen enter".
He likened this type of behaviour to that of a prostitute. Mr Simpson added: "Some people said women have a right to spend their money as they liked; they might as well say that they had a right to sell themselves if they like."
In 1914 a Scottish newspaper reported: "Having more money in their hands than usual, there were only too many ready to help [women] to spend it in the wrong way."