July 7th 2017 marks 100 years since the forming of the WAAC – the first time that women were formally enrolled in the UK Armed Forces. Roles at the time included administration and clerical tasks, mechanical work and catering duties. Today, however, following the ground-breaking ruling last July to lift the ban on women serving in ground close combat roles, women are able to serve their Nation on the same terms as their male counterparts.
- 1917: WAAC was established
- 1919: WAAC disbanded, however, was reconstituted as the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1938
- 1944: ATS was posted to Europe
- 1949: After the War, the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC) replaced ATS as a permanent part of the Army
- 1992: WRAC disbanded and women were fully integrated in the Army
- 2006: In Iraq, 19-year-old Lance Corporal Michelle Norris of the Royal Army Medical Corps was the first woman to be awarded the Military Cross for Bravery
- Present day: Roles in the Royal Armoured Corps and Infantry Regiments are open to both male and female applicants, giving women the chance to serve on the frontline
More information on this fantastic 100-year anniversary can be found in our bi-annual FrontLine magazine – the ‘Women in War’ Issue. This issue takes a closer look at the history of women in our Armed Forces, as well as featuring a number of interviews with some of today’s leading lights among the female serving community, including: Lt Col Lucy Anderson MBE – awarded an MBE for her services during the drawdown of operations in Afghanistan; veteran Charmaine Coleman – an In-Pensioner at the famous Royal Hospital Chelsea; and Double Olympic Champion Major Heather Stanning OBE. Read more here.