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 Post subject: ATS women wearing saris
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 16:19 pm 
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Location: St. Paul, MN, USA
I recently attended an event in the US and one of the woman turned up wearing a sari (or saree if you prefer). She claimed that she was a member of the ATS in the Far Eastern kit. Now I know that it wasn't the usual KD that was issued to the ATS. SHe calimed that it was issued to native female troops and adopted by English staff serving in India.

Now knowing the segregation in the Raj it struck me as particularly bogus. The British didn't aprove to people going native and to quote fuller I can't see "one of the two most conservative organisations in the world" allowing this.

If any one has evidence that white women wore saris in the Far East I would like to see this as I know that it is going to become an authenticity issue next year.

Regretfully I didn't have a camera handy that day and so I can't show you what she wore .

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 16:23 pm 
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As far as I'm aware (and this goes for the WVS also) Only colonial women wore the sari-not English women in Asia.
Kate

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Be very careful about loaning original items...also, please keep an eye out for :
*Still missing* Because some folks are devoid of an ounce of honesty or integrity.
Women's Navy Great Coat
Green floor length 1930s evening dress with sleeves set on net.
Blue and white rayon dress with peplum
Black velvet halter necked dress with silver shot thread skirt (may still have Harrods label in it) I have photos of all of these items and I know where they are in Scunthorpe, but would appreciate a nod if they come up for sale. [/color]


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 16:42 pm 
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Location: Surrey, ex patria Northamptonshire
I have a lovely colour photo of some ATS (far east)all are in KDs, but some are in KD tops and Saris. They are all wearing tunics. I think most of them are colonial, but at least one of them is a Vivien Leigh/ Anglo Indian type. She has a very pale skin and caucasian facial features. She is wearing a Sari

The ones in the Sari are also not wearing headdress!

As for segregation...it is definately a mixed unit, Europeans and Indians

They are doing drill, slow march and the detail is exquisite for a pic of its age!!

I'll try and upload it...but no promises!!!

Yours aye

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 17:49 pm 
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I know it is a bit by the by..but the WRINS wore them

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 18:14 pm 
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Did they have seperate British and Indian commisioned and non-com officers like the male army troops? Might have been different uniform regs for them?
Regards
Matt Gibbs


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 19:21 pm 
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Crash Bang is a mine of info on this.

A white person could be poraying a "Brahma" Hindu. This highest Castes were sometimes EXCEPTIONALLY european looking.

Hey... there was a guy who used to do Engineers as a Sikh, but was white (though had a suntan form a bottle, and a long black beard)

Its an interesting portrayal. I woudl not have said that a regular ATS girl would have adopted it officially. It would be against ACIs.. But then again, ATS were renowned for not sticking to regs.

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Portraying Column 44, 3rd (CHINDIT) Indian Inf. Div.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 19:38 pm 
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I believe the Indian ATS was called the Women's Auxiliary Service (WAS); and that Sari's sometimes formed part of the uniform (probably depending on religion), but I don't know the details.

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BRITISH OFFICER: Awesome. I'll put my mansion right here sorta where you're standing. Hey, what's with the triangle things?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 19:45 pm 
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Not all Indians are dark skinned and Anglo Indians are even more caucasian looking. I would expect saris only to be worn by locals rather than Europeans, although for the purposes of re-enactment who could tell the difference.
Certainly In 1947 Indians in the WAAF wore saris in Singapore and Malays in the Royal Corp of Signals there adopted songkoks ( a kind of hat) and sarongs as part of standard issue British uniform.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 21:00 pm 
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looks pretty good whatever, I love the afro carribean WW2 ATS girls you see in photos, never seen a black WAAF though ??


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 21:49 pm 
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SteveCobden wrote:
I believe the Indian ATS was called the Women's Auxiliary Service (WAS); and that Sari's sometimes formed part of the uniform (probably depending on religion), but I don't know the details.


It was WAC(I). Women's Auxiliary Corps (India).

It was open to any race, caste or creed aged between 17 & 50. It recruited from British and Indian women living in British India or the Indian States. There was no segregation and all lived and worked together. But because of the restrictions of gender and caste in Indian society, most volunteers came from the Anglo-Indian and Indian Christian communities.

It was the only women's military service in India. The naval section was renamed the Women's Royal Indian Naval Service in March 1945.
The sari was an optional alternative to the KD tunic and skirt.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 23:25 pm 
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jonheyworth wrote:
looks pretty good whatever, I love the afro carribean WW2 ATS girls you see in photos, never seen a black WAAF though ??


Here you are Jon!!! :)
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Wesley: Judas Iscariot.
Lilah: Right. The worst spot in hell is reserved for those who betray.
.....
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 6:13 am 
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There used to be a malaysian couple doing RAF and WAAF, he was a sikh and wore the turban and she wore standard WAAF kit with shoulder titles.
Sadly, they got sick of the narrow mindedness/racism of some 'reenactors' from Manchester way and stopped reenacting which is a big shame.
K

_________________
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Memorial ... 1996034455
https://www.facebook.com/edwardsshed

Be very careful about loaning original items...also, please keep an eye out for :
*Still missing* Because some folks are devoid of an ounce of honesty or integrity.
Women's Navy Great Coat
Green floor length 1930s evening dress with sleeves set on net.
Blue and white rayon dress with peplum
Black velvet halter necked dress with silver shot thread skirt (may still have Harrods label in it) I have photos of all of these items and I know where they are in Scunthorpe, but would appreciate a nod if they come up for sale. [/color]


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 22:13 pm 
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- they have a khaki belt holding the sari.
http://www.wewerethere.mod.uk/wewerethe ... _05-03.jpg
- Private Begum Pasha Shah of the WAC(I) on duty in the
Orderly Room of an RAF station in India, Aug 1943.

Two rather nice photographs of girls in the WAC(i). The sari was optional for Indian women as well. As it was traditional dress, they weren't expected to have to wear it all the time.

Here for example where the women laborers are wearing something completely different!
http://www.wewerethere.mod.uk/ww2/images/i_women_lg.jpg

and a wonderful one of Chief Officer Margaret L Cooper, Deputy Director of the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS), with Second Officer Kalyani Sen, WRINS. In Britain in 1945.
http://www.wewerethere.mod.uk/ww2/image ... per_lg.jpg

The interest document concerning those in British Commonwealth and Empire Dominions but were not British Caucasian is the Colour Bar. It was the Secretary of State for the Colonies in October 1939 whom allowed those 'not of pure European decent' to enter the armed forces. Though this effected Caribbeans and West Indians more than Indians. Considering that the 2 1/2 million male indian volunteers, made this the largest volunteer army in history, I belief...!

It seems that many of the Indian women who wished to serve were attached to the ATS at first, but many of them ended up in the WAC (i) and also WAS (B), or 'Wasbies'.

Also another interesting fact, it was not until 1943 that the consideration of allowing black west african women in the armded forces and then it took the war office a year to agree to it.

This is an interesting portrait...http://www.wewerethere.mod.uk/ww2/images/ats_lg.jpg
- a painting by Leslie Cole; Company Quartermaster Sergeant van Omoheusen of the ATS, Ceylon.

One thing about that, that chest badge looks like a regt of some sort...it reminds me of a SAWANS picture I have in a book somewhere (I have looked for it to scan in but I can''t find it). They are wearing the same uniform and the officer leading the parade seems to be wearing either the same or similar badge...

Anyway (realising the length of the post
:oops: )

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:20 am 
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excellent stuff Sophie, well done.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 18:30 pm 
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The Indian girl's uniform looks lighter. Was there a colour difference by design or was it just random variation in shade? (WRNS uniforms were black, I believe.)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 18:48 pm 
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Thanks RAF Erk, it is a very interesting avenue of the Indian Army and indeed for TFSS, it is important that it be researched to enable more portrayals to be developed :D

Concerning the uniform shade, I see what you mean, though I think that is down to the shading effects of the photograph.
If anything, the length of the tunic is interesting, almost like a frock coat.

And the pocket square is just class... 8)

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