BRITISH WOMEN’S ORGANISATIONS DURING WWII

In December 1941, the National Service Act made the conscription of women legal.  By 1943, nearly 90% of single women and 80% of married women were employed in work for the British war effort.

 Here are some of the most crucial organisations that employed women during the effort:

1.  Women’s Land Army —the civil defence was reformed in 1938 to train women in agricultural work- which then allowed more male workers to enter combat.  Most of these WLA workers were young women from towns and cities. 

Women's Land Army Recruitment Poster, 1945

 

2.  Air Raid Precautions (ARP)—the organisation helped in the distribution of gas masks, Anderson shelters (air-raid shelters), the upkeep of local public shelters and the maintenance and rescue of people after an air raid.

3.  Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS)—maintained ships of the Royal Navy and involved in most of the secret planning for D-Day!

4.  Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF)

5.  Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) — the largest single women’s organization during war time.  The WVS was created to support civil defence and provide services like organizing:  

-         evacuations,

-         clothing exchanges,

-         salvage collections — a full-blown recycling campaign!:  paper, rubber, aluminum pots, kettles, jelly moulds even old bones were also gathered and processed for use as glue and garden fertilisers.  

-         canteens and shelter—the volunteers provided hot drinks and food to both Civil Defence workers and people injured during or rendered homeless by air raids.

-         discussions reminded people to “Make do and Mend” and always conserve scarce resources during war-time