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John_Hartley

Promiscuous WAACs?

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John_Hartley

Thanks, Sue. Now please settle down with a good book with more tea and some of those bikkies.

The report seems a fairly comprehensive debunking of the rumours which do seem to relate to assumptions about young women who are away from the norms of Edwardian society - and it's all the fault of the French anyway.

John

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Sue Light

I like the line that says:

'A small foundation in fact becomes the basis on which a vast superstructure of slander is easily reared ...'

I think it should be adopted as the Forum motto.

Sue

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auchonvillerssomme

One small point about women being discharged through pregnancy, the numbers wouldn't necessarily be accurate, certainly during the 1980's a pregnant female soldier would receive an 'admin' discharge (depending on how far gone, the option of termination would have been offerred), usually only if the servicewoman was married would the discharge be through pregnancy. I wouldn't have thought it wouldn't be in the interests of the womens services during WW1 or WW2 to make a record of those single servicewomen discharged because they were pregnant.

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Alan Tucker

Type, type, type ... type, type, type ... cup of tea, yawn, type, type type ...

No problem Alan - I'm half-way through and will finish it and get it on the website today, as in that form it makes it very much easier if anyone wants to copy, cut and paste etc.

And of course, being a woman I was born to type :thumbsup:

Sue

You would therefore have qualified as a First World War WAAC!

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sjustice

Independant inquiry? Recruitment threat and disquiet at home affecting morale in a wide context; a report is needed to quash rumours, minimise & isolate cases, and is produced. One could say convenient and expedient. It might be worth asking Ian for his comments? He is a reasonable chap.

Cheers,

Simon

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bill24chev

When I followed Sue's link to the report, in post 25, I noticed the list of MM awards.

I presume that, unlike now and WW2, the nurses did not have commissioned rank staus to be awarde the MC. Could this have been due to the mis-conception that the nurses did not behave in a ladylike manner?

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Sue Light

Independant inquiry? Recruitment threat and disquiet at home affecting morale in a wide context; a report is needed to quash rumours, minimise & isolate cases, and is produced. One could say convenient and expedient. It might be worth asking Ian for his comments? He is a reasonable chap.

I don't think anyone here has suggested that it was an independent enquiry - it obviously wasn't. However, unless the figures on sickness and dismissal have been mis-represented or falsified, they are quite compelling in backing up the findings.

Sue

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Sue Light

When I followed Sue's link to the report, in post 25, I noticed the list of MM awards.

I presume that, unlike now and WW2, the nurses did not have commissioned rank staus to be awarde the MC. Could this have been due to the mis-conception that the nurses did not behave in a ladylike manner?

I really don't understand the point about the 'mis-conception that the nurses did not behave in a ladylike manner.' In the main, of course, it's totally wrong, and were men supposed to behave in a 'gentlemanly' manner before they could be considered for the Military Cross?

The list of MM awards on my website cover only members of Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service and the Territorial Force Nursing Service and there were many more awards, to VADs, members of the Women's Army, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, British Red Cross and Order of St. John and to civilian. There are many misunderstandings about the award of the MM to women, and Norman Gooding (royalredcross on this forum) has a new book due for publication on the subject which hopefully will cover everything in depth.

It was used as an award to women - any woman thought to be deserving of the honour, whatever her status - and was considered the most suitable award at that time and cannot really be considered in the same terms as the MM, or the MC as awarded to a man - the Warrant contains different wording using the term 'for bravery and devotion under fire.' So the fact of rank, commissions, civilian status etc., don't really come into the equation. There are documents at TNA surrounding certain 'problems' as seen particularly by the Canadians, who, on account of calling their nurses 'Lieutenant,' 'Captain,' etc., felt that they were somewhat different to the British, Canadian, Australian and South African nursing sisters and deserved the MC. Unfortunately they'd missed the point that rank and status among women were held to be meaningless in respect of this award.

The subject does have its own thread on the Forum which can be found here with a lot more information:

http://1914-1918.inv...34;#entry329180

I look forward greatly to Norman's book

Sue

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sjustice

I don't think anyone here has suggested that it was an independent enquiry - it obviously wasn't. However, unless the figures on sickness and dismissal have been mis-represented or falsified, they are quite compelling in backing up the findings.

Sue

Hi Sue,

I should hold my hands up and say I have no expertise or prior knowledge of this controversy, but that was my point. We can imagine the howls of derision in parliament today if the powers that be tried to get away with such a self-policing policy Especially at the moment. From what we know (or imagine) now, any manner of falsification is possible to justify the ends, and the morale of the country and men at the front was a big 'end'. I'll ask Ian Beckett if he wishes to add anything or discuss evidence.

Cheers,

Simon

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Sue Light

Quite honestly Simon I know zilch about the subject - I was only employed to do the typing :hypocrite:. But I agree that it was quite possible they were pushed in the direction of reaching the 'right' conclusions. The WAAC/QMAAC is such an under-researched area, and despite the mass of official documents at the IWM, the lack of individual service records probably excludes a definitive answer to the allegations.

Sue

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John_Hartley

I've read on a few pages today. Seems Sylvia Pankhurst got on the case (post-war) - "Alarmist morality mongers conceived most monstrous visions of girls and women, freed from the control of fathers and husbands who had hitherto compelled them to industry, chastity and sobriety, now neglecting their homes, plunging into excesses and burdening the country with swarms of illegitimate children."

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ianjonesncl

This is from the National Army Museum's on line exhibition WAACs at War

http://www.nam.ac.uk/exhibitions/online-exhibitions/waacs-war

09. Hostility all round

Surprisingly, QMAAC attracted a mixed reception from the press and public. Some wives and mothers resented their male relatives being sent to danger at the Front to be replaced by women whilst newspapers suggested that improper relations took place between QMAACs and 'Tommies'. This last rumour persisted, despite an investigation and report in March 1918 by Miss Tennyson Jesse, which found that only 21 women had been sent home pregnant in the past year

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ARMAGH

Well done you Sue if you typed that document or if you scanned it, well done and thank you

Joe

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David Filsell

Promiscuity is hardly a modern invention - of course some WAACs were - and some soldiers entered the army as virgins and left as virgins.

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sjustice

What happened to the scanned docs that were up yesterday? I was coming back to transcribe. Were they encroaching on future publication(s)?

Cheers,

Simon

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Sue Light

Sorry Simon, that was me - I put them up and they looked OK and when I went into work yesterday they were completely squiffed up on whatever browser is being used, so I thought perhaps they looked rubbish to everyone and took them off again. Let me have an email address and I'll send them - or is the one I've got for you still OK?

sue

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sjustice

Hi Sue,

E-mail address you have from Oxford is fine.

Cheers and thank you,

Simon

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Kate Wills

I wonder if the concept stems from their name?

There were many jokes about the WAACs told at home and on active service, e.g Would you rather have a whack on the nose or a waac on the knee.

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sjustice

Comment from Ian Beckett (Prof. Military History, University of Kent):

"Simon, Home Front of course does not contain footnotes. The statement is fully supported in my The Great War (2nd edn, 2007). See pp. 456-57. In fact, I indicate that it was an unjustified reputation. The best source for the WAAC is the article by Elizabeth Crosthwait in Davidoff and Westover, Our Work, Our lIves, Our Words (1986) but I also read Crosthwait's original thesis. I refer to the actual figures on page 473. There was an official enquiry into the supposed immorality of the WAAC in Feb 1918. It found there had been only 21 pregnancies among 6,023 WAAC personnel serving in France (0.5%), two of whom were married and nearly all of whom had been pregnant before they went to France. In addition, there had been only 12 cases of STD in the corps. As for munitionettes, there is a wealth of sources for their reputation which is also fully referenced in Great War. See pg. 461. Ian"

Cheers,

Simon

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amb

Are there records of WAAC pregnancies in France? My grandmother was in the WAACs based at Hare Hall with the 2/28th Artists Rifles and spent time in France, near Lille. She'd had a child in 1916 but went on to have another in 1918. She must have been a WAAC when she conceived her second child. As her service records don't survive, and all I have is a photo of her with other WAACS, it would be very interesting to find out more about her at that time.

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Wexflyer

Well, Vice Majors had to command something, and who else staffed "The Follies"?

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Maureene
On 01/11/2012 at 00:43, Sue Light said:

Sorry, delayed by copious amounts of tea, a trip to the shops, baking biscuits ...

Here's the web page with the report. Apologies for any typos of the type not picked up by a spell-check.

Report of Committee of Enquiry into WAAC in France

Sue

The above link did not work, but there is an archived version

https://web.archive.org/web/20141120023848/http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/188.html

The title page says

Report. Commission of Enquiry. Minister of Labour. Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in France

Cheers

Maureen

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MBrockway

This photo posted by Drew-1918 in the postcards topic of 1/KRRC Serjeants' Mess at Rugeley Camp on Cannock Chase from Autumn 1919 shows very amicable relations between the senior NCOs of the battalion and four members of the WAAC.  I do not get any sense of impropriety or promiscuity.

 

5a8d6e0b90922_KRRCWAAC.jpg.b13087fc95dc8

 

Given we have here the RSM, the Bandmaster, the RQMS, the Bugle Major and most of the senior serjeants, one would expect a high standard of behaviour and clearly those in the photo did not see their poses as inappropriate.

 

Describing attempts to organise game shooting on nearby Cannock Chase the 1919 KRRC Chronicle adds the officers hired 600 acres of "unpromising looking shooting" on Lord Anglesey's estate on Cannock Chase for some welcome recreation.  The Chronicle goes on to say "most of this area was moorland, never free from perambulating soldiers and members of the W.A.A.C.

 

Again, the tone here seems to be positive and natural, rather than critical or disapproving.

 

Mark

 

Full topic here:

 

Edited by MBrockway

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Heid the Ba

The WAAC always had their knockers, but I think they did a fine job.

 

I'll get me coat . . .

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