Dress was the main item of uniform that was issued regardless of trade. If you
were in Signals or were a Clerk etc there was no need to have any specialist
uniform items, as you would not be expected to be out in all weathers or carrying
out any of the dirty manual tasks that some trades had to. The uniform consisted:
and skirt. The first pattern jacket had breast pockets with shaped
flaps and a pleat, fabric belt and brass buttons. Later versions had flat
pockets with straight flaps and the brass buttons were eventually replaced
with plastic ones. This was to conserve brass for other purposes. The skirt
was ‘A’ line, made in six panels, done up with poppers and a button at the
left side and with a small pocket in the right front seem. Officers wore a
separate leather belt instead of the fabric one. It was on this uniform jacket
that most of the insignia was worn (see various pages relating to badges in
Members wearing first pattern Service Dress
- Khaki shirts
with separate collars, and tie. The shirts had a small yoke
and a pleat in front of each shoulder.
- ATS cap.
The ATS cap came in two versions. The first issue was a cap with a soft peak
and a fabric strap at the front, the second issue had a hard peak and a leather
band. In the F.A.N.Y. (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) tradition, drivers used
to put the leather band across the top of their hat when driving.
- Brown leather
shoes. Originally the shoes were small men's Officer issue, but they
were eventually made to the same design specifically for women.
- three pairs of khaki lisle stockings, two suspender belts/corselets two
pairs of knickers, two pairs of wool pants, two vests, and two bras.
ATS were issued only with a raincoat at first as it was assumed that they
would not be placed anywhere where it was too cold or windy. However, they
soon realised that the raincoat was not sufficient, and an ATS greatcoat was
issued. This differed from the men's version in that it had a white blanket
- Many members also privately
purchased a Field cap in brown, beech and green to wear with
cap side, with badge
(brown with green piping)
(showing beech top)
- Khaki drill
(K.D.) was also issued for use in warm countries such as Malta. A.T.S.
members used a K.D. skirt - the same pattern as the S.D. skirt, but made of
khaki drill material - with an aertex A.T.S. shirt, no tie, the usual soft
cap, shoes and short khaki socks. This was not the issue used for tropical
areas, as too much skin was exposed to the voracious appetite of the mosquito!
kit was also made available to members posted
to warm countries, such as South Africa, Egypt etc.
evolved over the war years and, as with many things during the WW2 period, members
made do with what they could get. There seemed to often be a mixing of cap/bonnet
styles and differing patterns of uniform even within groups.
some good books with information about uniform and I would recommend:
- World War II, British
Women's Uniforms, Martin Brayley & Richard Ingram (Crowood Press)
- World War II Allied
Women's Services, Martin Brayley & Ramiro Bujeiro (Osprey Publishing)
- British Army Handbook,
George Forty (Chancellor Press)