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Homepage. This page: Members of the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) working on Humber staff cars in WW2.

ATS Ladies in WW2.

A close look at the first of this page's photographs, reveals an ATS badge on the lady's cap, confirming that she was a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, or ATS. During WW2, each of the armed forces had a division specifically for ladies to join up to. The ATS was the Army's wing for female enrolment, and many wives and girlfriends signed up while their men were away on active service, often expecting a life more glamorous than usually turned out to be the case. Women who joined the RAF would form a part of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), and those successfully applying to the Royal Navy would be assigned to the Women's Royal Naval Service (Wrens). This page though focuses on a few of the women who signed up to the ATS, and shows them working on various military cars, mainly Humbers.
The woman shown here is wearing a very grubby set of overalls, and looks to be polishing up one of the officers' cars, possibly a Humber Pullman similar to the example parked in the background.
A female ATS mechanic works on a military vehicle
The same lady, by now drawing thoughtfully on a Woodbine, is seen with a different pair of cars. The car on the left - probably another Humber - looks like it has been parked underneath a branch frequented by pigeons, so she'll have her work cut out restoring a shine to that car's paintwork.
An ATS girl smoking a Woodbine while working on a Humber
The final two ATS photographs I have show different ladies working on army vehicles. The lefthand shot shows two ATS girls cleaning up a pre-war saloon. Does anyone recognise the make of car, or the sign affixed to the wall in the background? A different ATS mechanic is seen working at the front corner of a Humber staff car, fitted with a "Shuttle Car" (20 COY) sign on the car's front bumper.
WW2 Humber staff car and ATS mechanics
The ATS' lot was short on glamour, despite the impression given by some of the recruiting posters printed at the time. Many women found themselves working on army cars or lorries, and were regularly tasked with driving these vehicles in all conditions. Some would pick up skills that they'd later apply to post-war jobs. This page, which looks at collecting petrol & oil company memorabilia, includes two photos of ladies stood with garage petrol pumps of the 1950s. Those photos were found with the ATS images shown above, and could well feature a couple of the same ladies both during, and after, the war.
Return to Old Car Photos section, Page No. 10.

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