Women’s Voluntary Service Wartime Memorabilia

This month sees the 80th anniversary of the WVS’s formation and Austin J Ruddy looks at the wartime memorabilia of this sometimes overlooked and undervalued benevolent organisation. Falling into the ‘Home Front’ genre of militaria collecting, these collectables have become increasingly popular and reflect an important part of Britain’s wartime story.


This group photo of Rotherham WVS, taken towards the war’s end, shows a broad range of the dresses, suits, headgear, insignia and badges worn by WVS members, as described in this article.
In November 1938, this white metal brooch badge, made by Birmingham’s Marples and Beasley, was issued to trained WVS volunteers. £10-£15.

On the face of it, their work may have seemed relatively menial: washing thousands of tea cups at forces’ canteens, sorting clothing at depots or organising salvage collections - but this was only a fraction of the many tasks the hard-working ladies of the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) performed in wartime. Indeed, the WVS were the oil that kept the cogs of the Home Front turning.

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