National Association of Training Corps for Girls

The National Association of Training Corps for Girls (initially the National Association of Girls' Training Corps)[1] was formed in the United Kingdom in 1942 by the then Board of Education.[2][3] It was the umbrella organisation for the Girls Training Corps (GTC), the Girls' Nautical Training Corps (GNTC), and the Women's Junior Air Corps (WJAC),[4][5] which had all formed in the years prior.[6][7]

Members of the WJAC, GNTC and GTC during the 1940s

Girls Training CorpsEdit

The first Girls Training Corps units were formed in 1941.[8] The GTC's purpose, as with other cadet organisations at the time, was to prepare young people for service to their community and to support in the war effort upon reaching adulthood.[7][9] For the Girls Training Corps this meant training in military drill[10] in preparation for potentially serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.[11][12] The GTC was open to girls aged 14 to 20, and its motto was "To serve and Train for Service".[13]

 
The Farnborough Girls Training Corps in 1944

Activities included learning to act as bicycle couriers, learning morse code, aircraft recognition, gymnastics, homemaking, craft-work, public affairs, land navigation, learning first aid, marksmanship, firefighting, and assisting with air warden duties.[3][14][15][16][17] During the war and after GTC companies and members were active in volunteering in the community, such as volunteering as "sitter-ins" in hospitals.[13][18]

The GTC were organised into local units called companies lead by an adult Commandant,[15] these companies would sometimes join other cadet units for joint training. Companies were then grouped into areas lead by an Area Commandant. Within a year of forming, over 120,000 girls had joined a GTC company. Unlike their male counterparts, members of the GTC had to provide their own uniforms using clothing coupons.[4][9][15][19] The uniform consisted of black shoes, navy blue skirt, white blouse, navy blue tie, GTC badge, and a navy blue forage hat.[7][20]

It was planned that after the War the GTC would be wound down and disbanded, and whilst there was a significant drop in the number of members, there were enough to change the decision to disband the GTC.[2] After the war, following advice from the Youth Advisory Council, there was greater emphasis in the GTC training programme to recognise the girls as "a potential wife and mother".[21] Over 3,000 members of the GTC took part in a parade at the Royal Tournament in 1951.[22] In 1955 Princess Alexandra became patron of the National Association of Training Corps for Girls.[2] In 1964 the GTC and WJAC amalgamated to become the Girls Venture Corps.[7][23]

Girls' Nautical Training CorpsEdit

 
GNTC Officers Cap Badge

The Girls' Nautical Training Corps was formed in 1942, for girls aged 14 to 20, with the majority of units formed in Southern England.[24][25] It providing training in Royal Navy drill and seamanship, preparing girls for service in the Women's Royal Naval Service, similar to the training and aims of the Sea Cadet Corps.

 
Badge of the Girls' Nautical Training Corps

The Girls' Naval Training Corps numbered 50 Units in 1952, and in the late 1950s changed their name to the Girls' Nautical Training Corps. Lady Pamela Mountbatten was Corps Commandant of the GNTC from around 1952 to around 1959.[26][27][28][29]

The GNTC became a colleague organisation with the Sea Cadet Corps in 1963,[23] often sharing facilities such as Raven's Ait (then also known as TS Neptune). The GNTC became a full member of the Sea Cadet Organisation in March 1980, when the Ministry of Defence approved the admission of girls into the Sea Cadets,[25] this led to a name change to Girls Nautical Training Contingent. This continued until 1992[24] when the organisation was absorbed, and all girls became members of the Sea Cadet Corps.[30]

Women's Junior Air CorpsEdit

 
Women's Junior Air Corps in the Second World War

The WJAC did not, initially, receive official support from the Air Ministry, but the Air Ministry did give guidance on ranks, badges, and uniform.[31] The uniform was modelled on that of the RAF and WAAF[32] and consisted of: black shoes, Air Force blue skirt, grey shirt, black tie, WJAC badge, and a grey forage hat.[2] The WJAC was formed in 1939,[6] with larger towns and cities often hosting multiple units.[33] The WJAC provided training and activities in similar areas as the GTC and GNTC, including drill, morse code, marksmanship, physical training, first aid, motor maintenance, and aircraft recognition.[8][34][35] Optional training courses included anti-aircraft operational duties, radio location, signals, engineering and electrical work, and clerical and office duties. The core and optional training available were used to prepare girls for service in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force and the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). Both WJAC and the GTC were also active in supporting local governments in areas such as health initiatives, an example being providing vitamins to school children.[2] Many Units also formed bands who would perform in parades and services.[33][2][36] They were also provided with a limited number of aircraft, such as the Fairchild Argus II, to provide pleasure flights and basic flight instruction.[2][37][38][39]

 
Edinburgh based WJAC members in the 1950s.

After the War, WJAC continued with many of the same activities including supporting the community in health initiatives.[40] In 1956 the WJAC expanded its activities to include riding, gliding, and driving lessons.[41] Even into the 1960s the WJAC still had to purchase their own uniforms.[42] In 1964 The GTC and WJAC amalgamated to become the Girls Venture Corps, with the addition of "Air Cadets" added to the title in 1987.

 
Diana Barnato Walker serving with the Air Transport Auxiliary

Many famous female pilots were officers in the WJAC, including:

RanksEdit

WJAC Cadet Ranks and Insignia[48]
UK
Cadets
Officers Cadet Senior NCOs Cadet Junior NCOs Cadets Recruits
CDT 8 CDT 7 CDT 6 CDT 5 CDT 4 CDT 3 CDT 2 CDT 1 CDT (R)

Women's Junior
Air Corps


No equivalent
      No insignia
Cadet Unit
Sergeant
Cadet
Sergeant
Cadet
Corporal
Cadet Lance
Corporal
Cadet
CDTUSGT CDTSGT CDTCPL CDTLCPL CDT


Girls Venture CorpsEdit

In 1964 the GTC and WJAC amalgamated to become the Girls Venture Corps,[6] which had two wings corresponding to the former GTC (Ground Wing) and WJAC (Air Wing);[2] it was common at this time for former GTC units to share premises with Army Cadet Force units and for former WJAC units to share premises with Air Training Corps units. At this time a new uniform was designed by Norman Hartnell with a variant for each wing. From 1983 girls were accepted into the ACF and ATC, which caused many GVC cadets to transfer to their respective counterparts.[49] It was decided that the GVC would focus on air activities and in 1987 at the request of its membership the organisation was renamed the Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets.[6]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The National Archives. "ED 124/90". Retrieved 26 June 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Kidd, H R (2014). Horizons: The History of the Air Cadets. Pen and Sword Books. pp. 63–70. ISBN 978-1848846548.
  3. ^ a b "Memories of the Girls Training Corps". Watford Observer. 9 March 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Herbert-Davies, Amanda (2017). Children in the Second World War: Memories from the Home Front. Pen & Sword History. pp. 139–140. ISBN 978-1473893566.
  5. ^ Goetschius, George; Tash, Joan (1998). Working With Unattached Youth Ils 148: 146. Routledge. p. 344. ISBN 978-0415176712.
  6. ^ a b c d GVCAC HQ website. "The Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets". Retrieved 28 September 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b c d Somercotes Local History Society (21 April 2016). "Girls Training Corps, Company 646, Somercotes Infants School, 1942". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b Berwick Sayers, W C (1949). Croydon And The Second World War. The Croydon Corporation. pp. 367–370. ASIN B000GGBCX2.
  9. ^ a b Keighley News (2 October 2014). "Keighley Girls' Training Corps on parade". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "The Girls Training Corps by parwills". BBC. 1 November 2003. Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Marines instructor gets to grips with wartime girls in Portsmouth". The News. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ HANSARD 1803–2005 (28 December 1943). "MILITARY SERVICE (GIRLS' TRAINING CORPS)". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ a b Internet Archive. "1949 The Girls Training Corps Centre & Club". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Girls Training Corps by cdeane". BBC. 25 November 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ a b c Rushden Research. "Girls' Training Corps - No. 698". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Merton Memories Photographic Archive. "Girls Training Corps". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ The Wathonian (PDF). Times Printing Company. March 1943. p. 18.
  18. ^ Rumble Museum (23 February 2019). "World War Two Girls Training Corps 5 Year Long Service Enamel Badge". Retrieved 26 June 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ They Work For You. "Girls' Training Corps". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ "Life in the Minsterworth Girls Training Corps". BBC. 10 September 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ Duchen, Claire; Bandhauer-Schoffmann, Irene (2001). When the War Was Over: Women, War, and Peace in Europe, 1940-1956. Continuum. p. 65. ISBN 978-0718501808.
  22. ^ "Great days in the GTC". Sunderland Echo. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 23 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ a b "The Girls Training Corps". BBC. Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ a b "A Brief History the Sea Cadets". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Dover Sea Cadets – A proud contribution to Dover's maritime history". 15 March 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  26. ^ "Girl's Nautical Training Corps Commandant Lady Mountbatten (bottom row, 4th right) at Surbiton, Surrey training course, 18th August 1959". Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  27. ^ "1952 - Lady Pamela Mountbatten visits members of Girls Nautical training corps.: The annual training course of the Girls' Nautical Training Corps - a voluntary". Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  28. ^ "Aug. 08, 1959 - Lady Pamela Mountbatten visits girl's nautical training corps". Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  29. ^ "Lady Pamela Mountbatten visits members of the Girls Nautical Training Corps". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  30. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 27 April 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  31. ^ HANSARD 1803–2005. "WOMEN'S JUNIOR AIR CORPS". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  32. ^ Glozier, Matthew (2016). 75 Years Aloft: Royal Australian Air Force Air Training Corps: Australian Air Force Cadets, 1941-2016. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-326-51983-4.
  33. ^ a b Sheffield Fire Brigade History. "The Women's Junior Air Corps". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  34. ^ "Killer schoolgirls awaited Nazis". The Times. 24 April 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  35. ^ My Brighton and Hove (30 June 2017). "Women on the Home Front". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  36. ^ London Borough of Lambeth. "Women's Junior Air Corps, 6th Squadron (Streatham) taking part in the 'Salute the Soldier Week'". Retrieved 23 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  37. ^ Southend Airport Aviation Database. "Women's Junior Air Corps". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  38. ^ de Courcy, Anne (2006). Debs at War: 1939-1945: 1939-45. W&N. ISBN 978-0753820780.
  39. ^ Goldman, Lawrence (2013). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2005-2008. Oxford University Press. p. 1151. ISBN 978-0199671540.
  40. ^ "Serious message behind smiles". Evening Times. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  41. ^ Rushden Research. "Women's Junior Air Corps". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  42. ^ They Work For You. "Women's Junior Air Corps (Uniforms)". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  43. ^ Burns, John F. (12 May 2008). "Diana Barnato Walker, Acclaimed Pilot, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  44. ^ British Women Pilots’ Association (3 June 2014). "BWPA pays tribute to Freydis Sharland who died at the age of 94 on 24 May". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  45. ^ Candis. "Ordinary People Extraordinary Lives" (PDF). Retrieved 22 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  46. ^ Kenley Revival. "Gabrielle Patterson - Ladies of the ATA". Retrieved 20 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  47. ^ "To the memory of a flying pioneer". Alton Herald. 12 August 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  48. ^ "Fascinating, really old and never-seen-before photos of Croydon are released". Croydon Advertiser. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  49. ^ "History of the ATC". Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2018.

External linksEdit