Women In Green (1948)

Charles Graves

Women In Green The Story of the W V S in Wartime

Published: London, Heinemann, 1948

Date: 1948

William Heinemann, Melbourne, et al, 1948. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good+. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Green cloth; dust jacket; 12mo; pp. ix, 284, with b/w illustrated plates. Spine a little sunned, and gently rubbed at tips; small bump at bottom edge of front board. Dust lightly rubbed and dust-soiled; lightly chipped at spine tips and corners; and a little wrinkled along the edges. Some minor loss. A history of the Women's Voluntary Service.

On 16 May 1938, the British government set out the objectives of the Women's Voluntary Service for Civil Defence: It was seen “as the enrolment of women for Air Raid Precaution Services of Local Authorities, to help to bring home to every household what air attack may mean, and to make known to every household [in the country] what it can do to protect itself and the community.” In the words of the then Home Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, "as regards their civil defence functions, the Minister regards the Women's Voluntary Service as occupying ... much the same relationship as that of the women's auxiliary services for the armed forces of the Crown." The WVS played a key part in the evacuation of civilians from urban areas. The WVS had been asked to pinpoint areas of safety and billeting for evacuated children. Moving children out of the cities proved reasonably easy. Getting them to a known area of safety proved a lot more difficult as trains did not always arrive at an expected destination or would turn up at a reception point unexpectedly. The WVS is credited with helping to move 1.5 million people (the majority were children) out of cities in the early days of September 1939. The WVS also played a major role in the collection of clothing required for the needy. In October 1939, Lady Reading broadcast to the United States about the need for clothing in the UK. The broadcast led to large quantities of clothing (known as "Bundles for Britain") being sent over to the United Kingdom by the American Red Cross. These were distributed from WVS Emergency Clothing Stores. When troops returned to ports after the evacuation at Dunkirk, members of the WVS were there to greet them and hand out food, drink and warm clothing. The WVS base at the railway station in Headcorn, Kent was an especially busy place for feeding returning soldiers before they dispersed—a spit was installed so that meat could be roasted there and then. The WVS also played a vital part during the Blitz of London and other cities.

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