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Tyra Elisabeth Wadner


Founder of the Swedish "lotta" movement

Tyra Wadner was the founder of the Swedish ‘lotta’ (Women’s Voluntary Defence Service) movement.

Tyra Wadner was born in Brunskog, Värmland, in 1891. She was the youngest of five children born to Mathilda Nordquist and August Nordquist, a factory-manager. Tyra Wadner’s father died before she was a year old and the family moved to Dalarna. In 1914 Tyra Wadner married Martin Wadner, then a second lieutenant in Första livgrenadjärregementet (I 4). They had five children together, including Britt Wadner.

It was through her husband’s military involvement that Tyra Wadner became engaged in voluntary defence work, which in turn led her to set up the Swedish ‘lotta’ movement in 1924. By the mid-1920s her husband, further to his service to the military administration, was also head instructor within the Stockholm militia association, a voluntary organisation primarily aimed at supplying the Swedish army’s senior conscripts (the ‘landstorm’) with trained officers. In the summer of 1924 he was invited to Finland in this role in order to study Finnish civil guard exercises. Tyra Wadner accompanied him on the journey and thus gained exposure to the Lotta Svärd organisation, which was a voluntary women’s organisation to supply the civil guard with victuals, funds, and medical care.

Once she had returned to Stockholm Tyra Wadner made plans for a similar organisation in Sweden and shortly afterwards the first ‘lotta’ corps was set up, named Föreningen Stockholms Landstormskvinnor (Stockholm society of civil guard women). As the name implied, the organisation was part of the Stockholm Landstorm federation and its aim was to provide practical, and in particular financial, support to the men’s civil guard associations. As an added bonus – as Tyra Wadner put it – women would come to “take a greater interest in their men’s work”. Initially the members were thus primarily the wives of men in the landstorm.

Sister branches of the Stockholm society quickly spread throughout the country and Tyra Wadner was personally involved in setting many of them up. She also sat on the board of several of these societies, as well as the central council which was established in the 1930s in order to coordinate developments within the rapidly expanding organisation. Tyra Wadner also founded and, until 1945, served as editor – as well as typesetter, proofreader, advertising seller, and subscription-seeker – of the ‘lotta’ organ, Landstormskvinnan (later called Den svenska lottan and now (2017) known as Lottanytt).

For a little over two decades Tyra Wadner thus served as one of the leading figures of the ‘lotta’ movement and had a major influence on its development. When she resigned from her post on the council in 1942 there were nearly twice as many ‘lotta’ sections as there were men’s landstorm societies throughout the country. At that time, the ‘lotta’ movement which numbered almost 100,000 members could be considered to be one of Sweden’s largest ever women’s organisations.

Tyra Wadner died on her 76th birthday in 1967. She is buried at Säter cemetery in Dalarna.

Fia Sundevall
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2018-03-08

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Tyra Elisabeth Wadner,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Fia Sundevall), retrieved 2024-04-15.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Nordquist
    Alternate name: Nordqvist, Nordkvist

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Married
  • Mother: Karolina Elisabeth Mathilda Nordquist, född Friberger
  • Father: Nils August Nordquist
  • Sister: Anna Maria Nordquist, gift Appelqvist
more ...


  • Folkskola, Spångedal


  • Profession: Grundare, Föreningen Stockholms Landstormskvinnor, senare den svenska Lottarörelsen


  • Relative: Fredric Karén, barnbarnsbarn
  • Colleague: Maja Schmidt


  • Sveriges Landstormskvinnor (nuvarande Riksförbundet Sveriges lottakårer)
    Grundare, ordförande Föreningen Stockholms Landstormskvinnor 1924–1928, Föreningen Växjö Landstormskvinnor 1928–1934, Södra Hallands Landstormskvinnor 1937–1939, Östergötlands lottaförbund 1943–1948, vice ordförande, centralförbundets styrelse 1931–1942
  • Rädda Barnen
    Vice ordförande, Båstadskapitlet
  • Fredrika-Bremer-Förbundet
    Vice ordförande, ordförande, Båstadskapitlet


  • Birthplace: Spångedal
  • Spångedal
  • Stockholm
more ...



  • 'Sjelfmord', Svenska Dagbladet, S.4, 1892-03-17

  • Wadner, Tyra, 'Stockholms landstormskvinnor aktion: en ny faktor inom den frivilliga landstormsrörelsen', Meddelanden från Föreningen Stockholms landstormskamrater, Föreningen Stockholms landstormskamrater, Stockholm, 1924(8):3, S. 40-42, 1924

  • 'Fru Tyra Wadner', Landstormsmannen: Sveriges landstormsföreningars centralförbunds tidskrift, Sveriges landstormsföreningars centralförbunds sekretariat, Stockholm, 1934:8, S. 1, 1934

  • Lundborg, Sara, 'Tyra Wadner', Landstormsmannen: Sveriges landstormsföreningars centralförbunds tidskrift, Sveriges landstormsföreningars centralförbunds sekretariat, Stockholm, 1941:2, S. 35, 1941

  • 'Tio år med "Den svenska lottan"’, Den svenska lottan, Sveriges lottaföreningar, Stockholm, 1945(10):9, S. 19,22, 1945

  • 'Sveriges första lotta 70 år: Folkrörelse ur pionjärskara', Svenska Dagbladet, S. 28, 1961-05-25

  • 'Martin Wadner [Nekrolog]', Svenska Dagbladet, S. 25, 1976-08-15

  • 'Initiativtagaren till lottaorganisationen i Sverige är död', Den svenska lottan, Sveriges lottaföreningar, Stockholm, 1967:4, S. 2–3, 1967

  • Sundevall, Fia, 'Money, gender and military training: Women as economic agents in military affairs (Sweden 1924–1942)', Militärhistorisk tidskrift, 2017:1

Further References

Tyra Wadner. Photographer and year unknown. Image source: Svenskt Porträttarkiv (CC-BY-SA 4.0)
Tyra Wadner. Photographer and year unknown. Image source: Svenskt Porträttarkiv (CC-BY-SA 4.0)


20th century Defense Pioneers