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Uniform identification


kevin ley
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In the middle of some family history research at the moment and a relative from Canada sent me this old photo of a lady in a uniform of some description. I am not sure even if it is a military uniform or whether it is during wartime. If it is wartime I cannot be sure if it is first world war or second but from the age of the picture it is more likely to be first war. It is posed in a studio with one of those artificial backgrounds.

To try to help find her identity it may be helpful to identify the outfit she is wearing which appears to be some kind of uniform. The only clue appears to be on her shoulder lapel. I am struggling to make out what it says but to me it appear to have the initials N A ..... and then I cannot make out the rest.

Can any of the Pals shed any light on this?

Many thanks,

Kevin.

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Could this be WRVS? it certainly has a WW1 look about it.

Cheers,

Rob

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A clear picture of her Shoulder title might help,could be WAAC?;WAAF?or Police,She does look very WW1

The Leather Gloves might just suggest a Motor Driver in Ambulances??Motor Volunteer?

Do you have her name,if so try a Medal Index Search?

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Unfortunately I do not have a better photo. I have tried to filter the image a bit with some software but cannot improve the resolution of the shoulder label. It is only wide enough for four letters but that does not narrow it down too much.

The point about the leather gloves and being a driver of some sort is interesting.

Kevin.

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I studied the photo + i used a few programs on it.

It is certainly WAA *???

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Thanks for the replies. Although I don't know who the person is I am working on some possible identities based upon the family tree. Looking at the medal card index some women are listed as WAAC and some as QMAAC. I understand these were the same thing. Why are some women listed as QMAAC and others as WAAC? Was this a date thing?

Kevin.

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The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was established following a War Office declaration in December 1916 that if women were used in a number of non-combatant roles then 12000 men could be released to the front. It was formally established in July 1917 although women had been sent to France as early as March 1917. The Corps was renamed the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps in April 1918 when the Queen became Commander-in-Chief. The QMAAC ceased to exist after the 27th September 1921.

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Thanks Jim.

Presumably this implies that if a woman has a medal index card that states her corps as WAAC this mean she would have enlisted before April 1918 then? If she enlisted after this date her corps was stated QMAAC?

Kevin.

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Presumably this implies that if a woman has a medal index card that states her corps as WAAC this mean she would have enlisted before April 1918 then? If she enlisted after this date her corps was stated QMAAC?

Kevin

I don't think it follows - for instance, if she had joined the WAAC at any time prior to April 1918, and then gone to France after that date, she would have gone abroad as a member of QMAAC, and her medal index card may reflect that. Alternatively, it seems possible that a woman who joined after April 1918, and then went abroad, may well have her card endorsed 'WAAC' by a clerk who hadn't caught up with the change.

Sue

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This is not WAAC/QMAAC, though there is a slight similarity in the hat. As far as I remember, the other rank members of WAAC normally wore the coat-frock and only those attached to the RFC were premitted shoulder titles. The officials wore lapel badges.

Norman

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Norman,

Is there a definitive work on uniforms of WW1 that includes the women?

Kevin.

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I'm probably not the best one to answer that as medals are my thing rather than uniforms. But when you read a lot of histories and accounts and look at the photos of the time you begin to get a "feel" for what is and is not right.

Except for the blurry shoulder title, I would have said that the photo did not actually show a uniform at all but a military style ladies dress.

Sorry, can't be more helpful than that !

Norman

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Another possible reading of the four letters is YWCA. Several voluntary organisations had women workers at base camps, running rest huts for the troops etc. I'm researching my late aunt's work with the Salvation Army, and their women war workers wore a miltary- style uniform with hat rather than the conventional bonnet. i don't know anything more about YWCA uniforms but i guess they have a website with info about their archives.

hope this helps

liz

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  • 2 years later...

Hello everybody.

This is my first post,so please excuse my ignorance.I have been given a photo of my Grandmother in what I believe to be her QMAAC/WAAC uniform.I know she was a cook at Portsmouth at the tail end of the war,and the cap badge appears to be laurel leaves surmounted by a crown,with letters which I think are AAC interwoven and voided.The WAAC badges I have seen have no crown and WAAC.

Does this sound correct? I cannot find any recoed online,so I think her records are amongst the lost documents,though I do have a copy of her discharge papers in 1918.

Any info would be welcomed.Thanks.

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When the WAAC became the QMAAC the badge was changed and a crown appeared abovemwith the letters AAC in the centre. The words "Queen Mary's" were elsewhere. If she was a cook then she was certainly QMAAC. If she served at Portsmouth she will not have received medals so there will be no medal card for her. Very few personal documents of QMAAC workers survive at the National Archives. Most were destroyed.

Norman

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Shot in the dark but could it be Womans Legion? Founded by Edith (Lady) Londonderry. She was Colonel in Chief. Don't have our books to hand so can't check for sure. WL trained woman as drivers, cooks, mechanics and all manner of other skills to enable them to take up work normaly done by men, thus releasing men to serve in the forces.

John & Kathleen

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When the WAAC became the QMAAC the badge was changed and a crown appeared abovemwith the letters AAC in the centre. The words "Queen Mary's" were elsewhere. If she was a cook then she was certainly QMAAC. If she served at Portsmouth she will not have received medals so there will be no medal card for her. Very few personal documents of QMAAC workers survive at the National Archives. Most were destroyed.

Norman

Thanks for the help.It seems the discharge papers are as good as it gets.Is the QMAAC badge readily available do you know?

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Not Women's Legion. Their badge is very distinctive - the Lady with the Frying Pan. Worn on hat and often on lapel.

I am tending towards something like YMCA or one of the organisations in the UK which liked to parade around in military uniforms.

Badges of the WL are very scarce. Badges of WAAC and QMAAC not common but can be found.

Norman

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  • 3 weeks later...

To me the badge in the original photo looks like YMCA/YWCA - many women served in their rest huts and other support services and like their Salvation Army counterparts wore a military- style uniform.

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I don't know if this adds anything to the debate. I was about to add this as a seperate post and ask for some info along the same lines as the original post. As you can see this is dated "xmas 1918". Similar if not identical uniform. Found this in a box of old family photos but I can't identify a Daisy in the family.

Alickie

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  • 3 weeks later...

Many of the womens' voluntary organisations had a similar uniform. My aunt who was with the Salvation Army wore a long(ish) skirt- it got shorter as the years went by - with a military style tunic 0r jacket and a greatcoat when it was cold, She also wore high button or laced oots and gloves. Church Army and YMCA women wore similar outfits.

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