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WAAF and ATS handbags
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Author:  mietek [ Sun May 18, 2008 21:35 pm ]
Post subject:  WAAF and ATS handbags

In the Royal Air Force Journal (ww2 publication) are published drawings and other data to make WAAF handbags (they could be made even from old skirts).
Was similar practice in ATS? Or ATS bags were issued only?
Do you have WAAF handbags in your collection? Could you post pictures? I would like to see how they looked.

Author:  JimmyE [ Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

Although an older topic. I would like to anwser this best to my knowledge.

According to the information I have WAAF's were not issued with handbags until late 1944.
For a while corresponded with a former WAAF who joined in late 1940. When I asked if she was issued with a handbag in 1944. She wrote that she was still waiting for hers! She never had seen an official issue handbag, did not even knew there were handbags for WAAFS.
She and her colleagues all transported their things in the gasmask bags. (strictly forbidden!)
(But what was a girl supossed to do? Her reaction )

She also wrote an funny story about transporting other goods.
One of her friend had put her pyjama in de gasmask bag as she would be out on leave and stay somewhere else. But she did not noticed that one of the pyjama legs was hanging out of the bag. Somehow she managed to pass the gates and only much later she found out. If she had been seen by a NCO or officer her pass would be revoked. (And probably peeling patatoes or scrubbing the floors as an extra punishmend.)

WAAF handbags are quite rare. So a gasmaskbag would do.

Author:  q.ship [ Thu Aug 06, 2009 20:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

Same for an ATS freind of mine,they used the Gas Mask bag and never saw an issue Handbag!

Author:  Miss Spitfire [ Thu Aug 06, 2009 20:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

Although, it is noted in several WAAF journals that a small RAF blue wool purse could be carried, in the left hand whilst in uniform, leaving the right free to salute.

This was not official, but the girls were encouraged to make their own.

Author:  dropshort1 [ Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

I remember going to a WAAF reunion with some kit to show them. A lot of them kept asking me if I had the handbag, which I didn't. A lot of them certainly had wartime pictures with them. However, most were from the same station so I do not think that gives an overall view of scale of issue.

The WAAF also had the holdall, the same as the ATS just in Blue. I believe that was first issued 43/44.

Kindest Regards


Author:  Miss Spitfire [ Sun Aug 09, 2009 22:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

I have a WRAF holdall, issued to my mother in 53. She says that it was a new item to them, but recently a few have surfaced saying 'wartime WAF holdall' as I understand the majority of WAAFs didn't see them until after the war, nearly all being issued with the white kitbag.

Author:  dropshort1 [ Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

Yes I think that is very true Kate. The one we have is dated 44 however does have WRAF names and stencils on it.

Kindest Regards


Author:  unionjack [ Tue Jan 19, 2010 19:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags


Author:  Miss Spitfire [ Tue Jan 19, 2010 20:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

unionjack wrote:
A point to remember is they appear to have been made in a sectional manner from serge, similar to the army's GS cap, they're not true shaped beret's.
Have seen the same 'beret' in RAF blue and dark blue. I assume they are the early type male RAF beret's and early ARP/CD berets. One of these could be dyed black for your purposes.

Some good pics about of WAAFs wearing berets in a gravity-defying manner stuck on the back of the head! Also lot's of pics showing WAAFs in overalls with 'turbans' on in a matching cloth.

was this posted in error?


Author:  unionjack [ Tue Jan 19, 2010 22:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

ahem, er, yes.
wrong topic!

Author:  Miss Spitfire [ Tue Jan 19, 2010 23:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

I kept having to scroll up thinking 'did I miss something?' :lol:

Author:  unionjack [ Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

That's from having several tabs open at once on the browser :)

While i'm on this one then I may as well say something relevant!
Debbie has her Mum's WRAF 'holdall' she was issued in the early 60's. Blue, handles etc. but with a zip.

An ex-WAAF we know says all her 'lot' used to use a small RAF blue bag with brass buckles and a shoulder strap as a handbag. That's a '37 small pack.

Author:  alzamina [ Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: WAAF and ATS handbags

i know this is a very old topic but does anyone know which number and date journal this information is in?


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