Women’s Lives and Clothes in WW2, Ready For Action

This delightful book sheds light on the impact of war on women. The lives of most women in Britain changed significantly during WWII, but there are very few books that are dedicated to the lives and clothes. – Most Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Women's Lives and Clothes in WW2, Ready For Action
FILE: R3094
AUTHOR: Lucy Adlington
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £30.00                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: World War II, WWII, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War, 
Home Front, military service, Land Army, war work, dress design, rationing, ARP, 
nursing, intelligence, costumes, medical

ISBN: 1-52671-234-2

PAGES: 296
IMAGE: B3094.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y55guwys

DESCRIPTION: This delightful book sheds light on the impact of war on women. 
The lives of most women in Britain changed significantly during WWII, but 
there are very few books that are dedicated to the lives and clothes. – Most 
Highly Recommended.

The Great War had introduced many major changes in the lives of British women. It 
was a revolution but one which began to rapidly fade in the 1920s. WWII was 
different because it became an enduring revolution. It was also organized much more 
directly, based on the lessons of WWI.

The Germans had already demonstrated their disregard for civilian populations with 
the terror bombing of Spanish towns during the Spanish Civil War. As a result, 
Britain already had a range of formal plans in place for putting the entire nation on a 
war footing. The Royal Navy, mobilised early in 1939 for exercises, was not 
demobilized, so that its ships were already on station and all stocks of fuel and 
supplies were fully stocked at the many bases around the world, ready to go 
immediately onto full war footing. Across the nation, individuals were buying and 
installing air raid shelters to protect their families and building their own stocks of 
supplies, For many, the declaration of war was a relief from the tension of expecting 
it for months.

The Armed Forces were busy recruiting and preparing for conscription and, in this 
war, women would be welcomed into the services, if under their own single-sex 
sub-organizations. No one is really sure how far the mobilization of women was 
effected. Unmarried women were soon subject to conscription into the Armed Forces 
or into the numerous war work organizations that stepped up to fill the jobs left by 
men who had left for military service. Women who married became exempt from 
conscription but that did not mean they were not actively engaged. Many married 
women served as Wardens in the ARP, often alongside husbands who were exempted 
from military service by age or reserved occupation. 

There were also many who worked in essential areas that were not necessarily 
regarded as war work. Kruschev, on  a visit to the US where the embargo on strategic 
materials by the US to the Soviet Union was causing the Russians many problems, 
grabbed a handful of buttons from an exhibition stand. He pointed out that buttons 
were strategic material because an army would not go to war without buttons for their 
tunics and trousers. In the same way there were women working in shops, designing 
and making dresses and entertaining, all contributing to the welfare and morale of 
the population and providing services that were as important as filling shells in a 
munitions factory.

For many women, WW2 gave them a new freedom and confidence. It was exciting 
and terrifying and rewarding. There is no record of how many women knitted clothing 
to send to the troops in distant locations, baked cakes and sent them with other gifts 
to the men on the front or held in POW camps.

For a great many, WWII put them in uniform. Air Raid Wardens, Land Girls and 
nurses all wore the uniforms of their trade. Rationing caused many shortages but there 
was still a need for clothes to go to parties and dances in, wedding dresses and leisure 
clothing. Women in military uniforms became a norm. They worked in many varied 
areas of the war. Some manned anti-aircraft guns, others were naval communicators,
 some flew virtually every type of aircraft in service, flying new aircraft from 
factories to squadrons and older aircraft from squadrons to repair facilities. A high 
proportion of the code breakers were women who kept their secrets and were only 
acknowledged in recent years. This included those women who worked on the design 
and construction of the first electronic programmable computers at Bletchley Park to 
break enemy codes faster. A few became intelligence operatives being dropped into 
France and other Occupied Countries. There was also a small group of nurses who 
were dropped behind Japanese lines to man mobile hospital facilities for the Chindits 
during the second Chindit incursion behind Japanese lines. On this campaign much 
use was made of aircraft landing on makeshift airstrips in the jungle and even an 
evacuation of one Chindit by helicopter as the first helo casevac of military history, 
but the handful of nurses first sent in parachuted because the Chindits were still 
preparing bases with airstrips.

The author has made an impressively good job of covering all of these amazing new 
activities for women at war and those keeping the home fires burning, raising children 
and caring for the elderly. There is an excellent selection of images, many in full 
colour, including fabulous 1940s costumes from the author's collection. This is a 
book that should be in every enthusiasts collection because it fills a gap in the picture 
of WW2 and the influence that these experiences had on life since 1945.