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Volunteers who Served Their Country

Discussion in 'The Home Front' started by Jim, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    via War44
    During the Great War the women of the British Commonwealth responded nobly to the call made upon their services, and WWII found them no less willing to play their part in defence of British freedom.
    As soon as the call to National Service was issued, they hastened to join the various auxiliary services open to women.



    W.A.T.S. (Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service) ​

    This service was formed so that in time of war women could release soldiers from routine work which they could perform equally well, such as cooking, typing, laundry work and storekeeping. Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, G .B.E., was appointed Director of the A.T.S. at the War Office. She was responsible directly to the Director-General T.A. She was the daughter of a Scots Guards officer, a Fellow of King's College, London, and during the Great War was Chief Controller of Queen Mary's Auxiliary Corps with the British Armies in France. She was also President of the Women's Royal Air Force Old Comrades Association, Chairman of the Council Q.M.A.A.C. Old Comrades Association, and Chairman of the Executive Girl Guides Association.



    All classes of girls-typists, shop-assistants, dressmakers, telephone operators were to be found in the ranks of this organisation, the aim of which was to provide a body of capable and intelligent young women trained to take on flying duties behind the lines in war-time. When fully trained they would have kept the country's civil air lines in operation or would have flew the flying ambulances. They went through a thorough course of ground training first, covering all subjects from the theory of flight to the working of the aero engine.



    This force was for duty with the Royal Air Force in time of war. Its director, with rank of Senior Controller, was Miss J. Trefusis Forbes.

    Miss J. Trefusis Forbes.


    W.V.S. (Women's Voluntary Services, Civil Defence)

    The Women's Voluntary Service for Civil Defence was a national voluntary organization which, in co-operation with the various departments concerned, undertook the enrolment of women in the different branches of Civil Defence work. The services with which it particularly dealt with were Air Raid Precautions, Nursing and First-Aid services, and Evacuation services.
    Under A.R.P. women were stationed at the First-Aid posts to give treatment to minor casualties or serve as drivers and attendants for the fleet of ambulances.



    This organization was considered as part of the Special Constabulary, and its function was to man observer posts for spotting aircraft, in country districts and certain towns. Men were required to be above 30 years of age, with good eyesight and hearing.



    National Defence Companies were formed from ex-soldiers who were prepared to give an honourable undertaking that in time of emergency they would have come up to defend important points. The companies were affiliated to units of the Territorial Army. The minimum age for enrolment was 45.



    Body of men and women who had knowledge of flying, consisting mainly of units attached to Light Aeroplane Clubs throughout the country. They were pledged to give their services in wartime in connection with aviation.




    The women's land army was active and was full of enthusiasm. Country girls from all over Britain, and some town girls, too, enrolled in this essential service. They were trained at farm institutes in such things as tractor management and various agricultural jobs which will release men for other duties.


    This organization was composed of proficient amateur wireless operators, mainly holders of G.P.O. Transmitting and Experimental licences.



    During WWII the Air League undertook to raise 20,000 Air Cadets in the country, to provide a reservoir from which British aviation could draw in time of emergency. In a year 156 squadrons were raised with personnel of 15,600 cadets. Cadets were enrolled between the ages of 14 and 18, and were given instruction in the general theory of flight, airmanship, air navigation, aircraft engineering and maintenance, wireless and A.R.P., operations of the observer corps, balloon barrage, searchlight and anti-aircraft gunners.
    The cadets also received some tuition in workshop processes, and pay periodical visits to R.A.F. and civil aerodromes.

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