This Remembrance Sunday may be different, however on the 11th November we shall still remember those who have served, and at YSS, we think in particular of those whom we support through our Remember Veterans service. Here, our RV Senior Link Worker, Lisa, who is herself a Veteran, gives a brief history of the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC).

Lisa served in the WRAC, then RCT – Women's Royal Army Corps & Royal Corps of Transport. She was also in the RLC - Royal Logistic Corps,

Brief History of the WRAC

The Post-war years

In 1948 the Secretary of State, Mr Emmanuel Shinwell, made a formal submission to the Crown for permission to raise a Corps of Women for the Regular Army and Territorial Army. This received the Royal Assent on 1 February 1949 and the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC) came into being. For the first time women in the Army became subject to all sections of the Army Act. Dame Mary Tyrwhitt DBE TD was the first Director of the WRAC.

The WRAC was initially organised into battalions and companies, later into independent companies and platoons, and gradually became integrated with their employing military units. The Corps Charter stated that it was ‘to provide replacements for officers and men in such employment as may be specified by the Army Council from time to time’. Women served in over 40 different trades in 20 different Arms and Corps.

Trouble spots worldwide

Since World War II members of the WRAC have played a full part in many of the operations, emergencies, security threats and incidents involving the British Army worldwide such as: Malaya 1948 – 1960, Kenya in 1954, the EOKA campaign in Cyprus from 1955 – 1959, the Singapore riots in 1957, Aden from 1961 – 1968, the Coup d’Etat in Ghana in 1966 and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.  More recently WRAC officers and soldiers have been involved in:

Northern Ireland: Troops were deployed to Northern Ireland during the troubles in 1969 to assist the civilian police to maintain order and continued to serve in theatre until the WRAC disbanded in 1992.

The Falklands Islands: A permanent garrison was re-established in 1982 after the victory in the Falkland Islands. On 1 August 1983 the first draft of 20 WRAC servicewomen arrived in Port Stanley. They traveled by air to Ascension Island and then by sea to the Falkland Islands.

The Gulf 1990-1991: Operation GRANBY was the British Army’s contribution to Operation DESERT SHIELD and Operation DESERT STORM, the multi-national response to the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Officers and servicewomen of the WRAC were employed on Operation GRANBY as members of the Staff of Commanders or as individuals with their units. They worked as staff officers, assistant adjutants, clerks, chefs, communications operators, drivers, intelligence analysts, medical assistants, military police women, and postal and courier operators. In all over 200 members of the WRAC served in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Operation GRANBY.

Iraq 1991: Operation HAVEN’s mission was to provide security and humanitarian support in the move of Kurdish people from refugee camps directly back to their homes. One officer and 3 servicewomen of the WRAC, attached to 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, took part in Operation HAVEN in Northern Iraq.

Disbandment of the Corps

In April 1992, the WRAC was disbanded and the members were transferred into appropriate units in the army.

The mottos and badges

RCT Corps motto: Nil sine labore - Nothing without labour.

WRAC motto: Suaviter in Modo, Fortiter in Re - Gentle in manner, resolute in deed


RAMC motto: In arduis fidelis - Faithful in adversity