Picture Post 1943_Auxiliary Territorial Service

It’s always fun to find something history related that you don’t know anything or much about-at least it is for me!

Such was the case when my wife and visited an antique mall in Tomah, Wisconsin.

One vendor had a massive amount of paper products, mostly old magazines and ads. One bin was marked “military” so I headed for it right away.

It was shallow bin with not much of interest except for the item on the bottom. It was the December 4th, 1943 edition of a magazine called Picture Post, a magazine I’d never heard of.

The reason I’d never heard of it is because it was a UK magazine that ran from 1938-57. It was compared favorably to America’s Life Magazine.

The beat up copy I obtained caught my eye because the cover featured a woman in a military uniform saluting. As it turns out the feature article is about the A.T.S. another term I did not have a clue about.

Not my issue but a good example of a wartime Picture Post cover. This gal may be a R.A.F. pilot.

A.T.S stands for Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British (and Commonwealth) armies of WW2. The feature article was a three-page picture spread titled, West Indian Girls Join the A.T.S. West Indian refers to Britain’s possessions in the South Caribbean area, notably the Island of Trinidad. The article makes much of the fact that the A.T.S did not have a “color bar” and the West Indian girls were not to be segregated but would enjoy full equality with the whites.

This picture was not in my issue of Picture Post but it sure could have been since the caption read West Indian girls of the A.T.S.

This picture was not in my issue of Picture Post but it sure could have been since the caption read West Indian girls of the A.T.S.

The photographs show the girls enjoying their new jobs (mostly clerical) and sight-seeing in London. The magazine is an interesting glimpse into wartime Britain and has a number of interesting articles and advertisements. I will, no doubt post a follow-up with details. The magazine was a great find and cost me only a $1.06!

Not all the A.T.S jobs for women were clerical. Here A.T.S women "man" an anti-aircraft battery.

Not all the A.T.S jobs for women were clerical. Here A.T.S women “man” an anti-aircraft battery.

Auxiliary Territorial Service war memorial, no...

Auxiliary Territorial Service war memorial, now relocated to the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3 comments on “Picture Post 1943_Auxiliary Territorial Service

  1. The woman on the cover of the Picture Post featured is a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary, which flew RAF and Fleet Air Arm aircraft between factories, maintenance units and airfields in the UK.
    Its original pilots were men who were too old or not fit enough for operational flying, but women were recruited from quite early in the war.
    They flew most RAF types, including four engine bombers. I think that they generally flew on their own, without the flight engineer, navigator, radio operator, bomb aimer and gunners that comprised an operational bomber crew.
    The BBC broadcast a TV documentary about them a year or two ago, which included interviews with several surviving members. I’m sure that the woman from the Picture Post cover was one of them.
    The USA had a similar organisation, which was called the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

    • Thanks Martin for stopping by and leaving the comments. They are helpful! I knew the US used female pilots for ferry work but didn’t realize Britain did too until I read a book about an ex-RAF pilot who rose to high rank in the early Israeli AF. At one point he and some other pilots including one female ex-RAF flew some Spitfires from Israel all the way to Burma. The gal had been in the service you mentioned. Very interesting stuff and one of those little known facts I do enjoy. Thanks again for the thoughtful comments.

  2. […] Picture Post 1943_Auxiliary Territorial Service (broeder10.wordpress.com) […]

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