Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps

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The WAACs marching in London at the end of World War I, 1918
The winning Queen Mary's Auxiliary Army Corps tug-o-war at the New Zealand Infantry and General Base Depot, Etaples, France, 3 August 1918

The United Kingdom's Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (February 1917– 27 September 1921), later named the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps (9 April 1918), was the women's unit of the British Army during and immediately after the First World War.[1]

It was formally instituted on 7 July, 1917 by Sir Neville Macready, the adjutant-general, who had appointed Dr Mona Chalmers Watson the first Chief Controller and senior officer. [2] Over 57,000 women served between January 1917 and November 1918.

On 31 March 1917, women in the WAAC were first sent to the battlefields in France, just 14 cooks and waitresses.[3] Helen Gwynne-Vaughan was the Senior Officer overseas, and Florence Leach was the controller of the cooks. In 1918 women medical personnel were sent to the front in France; one such was Dr. Phoebe Chapple, who was awarded the Military Medal for her actions during an air raid on the WAAC shelter trench outside Abbeville in May 1918.[4]

The corps was disbanded in September 1921. After a German air raid in September 1940 most of the service records did not survive. Those which did have suffered fire, water and mould damage. The National Archives in Kew, Surrey, digitised these to prevent further damage and they can be searched and viewed online. The last WAAC veteran was Ivy Lillian Campany, who died in 2008.

List of Controllers[edit]

Chief Controllers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pennington, Reina (2003). Amazons to Fighter Pilots - A Biographical Dictionary of Military Women (Volume 2). Westpoint, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 464–465. ISBN 0-313-29197-7. 
  2. ^ Spiers, Edward M., ed. (2011). A Military History of Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780748633357. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Bidwell, Shelford. The Women's Royal Army Corps, p. 1.
  4. ^ "Military Medal: Dr Phoebe Chapple, Royal Army Medical Corps". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Horniblow [married name Dalton], (Emilie) Hilda". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/62131.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Bidwell, Shelford (1997). The Women s Royal Army Corps. Pen & Sword. p. 28. ISBN 9780850520996. Retrieved 1 April 2018. 

External links[edit]