Colonel Barker's Monstrous Regiment: A Tale of Female Husbandry by Rose Collis
On April 15, 1929, a few months after Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness" was booed, banned and burned, a trial concluded at the Old Bailey with the sentencing of Colonel Victor Barker to nine months imprisonment. For Colonel Barker was, in fact, a woman. Six years earlier as Victor Barker, Valerie Lilias Arhelt Smith had married Elfrida Hayward in St Peters Church, Brighton. Her trial, which became one of the most scandalous news stories of the decade, led to her imprisonment, but on her release she once again assumed life as a man and her life thereafter went from tragedy to fame and back to tragedy again. This is her story.