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Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC)

Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC)

The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed following Lieutenant General H M Lawson's report of 16 January 1917 which recommended employing women in the army in France. Recruiting began in March 1917, although the Army Council Instruction no 1069 of 1917 which formally established the WAAC was not issued until 7 July 1917.

Although it was a uniformed service, there were no military ranks in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps; instead of officers and other ranks, it was made up of 'officials' and 'members'. Officials were divided into 'controllers' and 'administrators', members were 'subordinate officials', 'forewomen' and 'workers'. The WAAC was organised in four sections: Cookery, Mechanical, Clerical and Miscellaneous; nursing services were discharged by the separate Voluntary Aid Detachments, although eventually an auxiliary corps of the Royal Army Medical Corps was set up to provide medical services for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.

In appreciation of its good services, it was announced on 9 April 1918 that the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was to be re-named 'Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps' (QMAAC). At its height in November 1918, the strength of the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps was more than 40,000 women, although nearly 10,000 women employed on Royal Flying Corps air stations had transferred to the Women's Royal Air Force on its formation in April 1918. Approximately, a total of 57,000 women served with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps during the First World War. Demobilisation commenced following the Armistice in November 1918 and on 1 May 1920 Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corp ceased to exist, although a small unit remained with the Graves Registrations Commission at St Pol until September 1921.

The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps provided the foundation for the Auxiliary Territorial Service of the Second World War.


Title: Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC)
Record Type: Organisations
Type: Military
Date Established: 1917
Record Maintained By: HC
Subject Id: 41011