WRAC Association team up with Army Servicewomen’s Network to ‘buddy up’ women currently serving with those who have in the past.
“Knowing that someone who has similar experiences to yours, having served, and who is available to laugh, cry and reminisce with, is hugely important.”
– Penny Muxworthy, WRAC Association Secretary
The Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC) Association has announced that its Members and Branches are operating a new ‘buddy-buddy’ initiative whereby serving personnel will support female veterans. The move will support government guidelines on the coronavirus whilst also preventing the negative psychological impacts that self isolating has on older members who are ‘less connected’. After all, 1 in 3 over 65 have never used the internet.
The Support offered by Members of the charity has been extended to include women who are currently serving in whatever role they serve, and wherever they may be. The Association has reached out to the Army Servicewomen’s Network (ASN) to offer a ‘buddy-buddy’ scheme. The idea comes from the knowledge that shared experiences of serving in the forces, regardless of the details, transcends all hurdles of age and geography.
ESPRIT DE CORPS
The WRAC Association has a Membership of over 3,000 women who served in the British and Commonwealth Armies from the early 20th Century right up to today. Some of these ladies served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) during and after World War II, and many others served in the Women’s Royal Army Corps up to 1992, and beyond – seeing operational service across the world, in an ever-increasing number of ‘trades’ and roles.
Throughout their time in the Army they would have supported each other, through formal ‘buddying’ schemes and friendships. Great emphasis has always been placed on mutual Support and Comradeship – Esprit de Corps. The charity’s motto is Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re – Gentle in manner, resolute in deed. These experiences and support mechanisms are now being drawn on to support both those who are veterans of the Army, and those who are still serving.
Colonel (Retired) Alison Brown, Vice President of the WRAC Association, adds:
“In all times of national emergencies, women who have served in the British Army have bonded together to support each other in whatever ways are required. The current situation, with the social isolation imposed to protect us all from COVID-19, has necessitated new ways of maintaining and delivering this support. Technology is being utilised wherever possible to: ensure the distribution of benevolence grants can continue; hold virtual branch meetings; to ensure regular contact with our elderly members; and enable us to reach out to serving personnel. Thus, this vital support can continue for as long as is required.”
Support is being offered by telephone (chat through issues, concerns, just have a laugh and/or reminisce), and through social media (particularly Facebook, where a variety of groups exist and interact – including ‘virtual’ nights-out). In some cases, the help given may be more practical – helping with online shopping orders, collecting shopping and/or prescriptions, etc.
Penny Muxworthy, the charity’s Secretary, explains,
“The mental health of everyone is extremely important. Knowing that someone who has similar experiences to you (all having ‘served) is available to laugh, cry and reminisce with, is hugely important. Now it’s being offered to both female veterans and those currently ‘on the front line’ in the war against COVID-19.”
BENEVOLENCE FUNDS AVAILABLE
The WRAC Association also administers the ATS & WRAC Benevolent Fund – which in certain circumstances can assist in more practical ways (in line with the Fund’s grant-giving criteria). These funds are open to those who served in the ATS and WRAC who joined up prior to 1992. All requests for consideration should be made through The Armed Forces Charity (also known as the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA)) or the Royal British Legion.
Now is the time for women who serve and have served to demonstrate their Support to each other, especially to those who have been, or are going, through similar tests of character and friendship. Anyone who would like to be part of this unique Support Group please contact the WRAC Association (firstname.lastname@example.org or leave an answerphone message on 0300-400-1992).
ABOUT THE WRAC ASSOCIATION
The WRAC Association is a vibrant, active, charity with two main objectives:
1 Membership: The Association provides comradeship, friendship, esprit de corps and support to over 3,000 members (all female Army Veterans) via a network of branches (local, national and international), events, participation in parades, a membership magazine, Lioness, and the maintenance of historical links. Membership is open to all women from the ATS, WRAC, or modern-day British Army.
2 Benevolence: The WRAC & ATS Benevolent Fund distributes grants to former servicewomen (1917-1992)
in need of financial assistance. In 2019 the charity awarded over £250K in benevolence grants.
Typical benevolent fund requests include:
House repairs and adaptations
EPVs and electric wheelchairs
Care Home fee top-ups
|Travel and transport
TVs and TV Licenses
Rent, deposits and bonds
Women only need to have served for one day or more in the British Army to be eligible to apply for benefits.
- 2019 marked the Centenary of the WRAC Association, and the 70th anniversary of the WRAC’s formation
- 2018 marked the Centenary of the end of World War II, and the 80th anniversary of the ATS’ formation
- 2017 marked the Centenary of Women in the Army represented within the following Corps:
- 1917 – 1921 Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), renamed Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC)
- 1938 – 1949 Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS)
- 1949 – 1992 Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC)
- The first party of 14 WAACs arrived in France on 31 March 1917, and eventually 9,000 women were to serve there. The WAAC was formally established by Army Council Instruction 1069 of July 1917. On 9 April 1918, largely as a result of their sterling conduct during the German March offensive of that year, the service was renamed Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC), with the Queen becoming Commander-in-Chief. The QMAAC Old Comrades Association was formed in 1919, this would later evolve into today’s WRAC Association. The QMAAC ceased to exist on 27 September 1921, but some 57,000 women had served with the Corps, both at home and in France and won 3 Military Medals for gallantry. As part of the mobilisation of the whole country this milestone in the push for equal rights formed the basis for women’s service in the British Army to this day.
The ‘WRAC’ and WRAC Association’ is always referred to in full i.e. W.R.A.C. rather than ‘wrac’ or ‘wracs’. The ‘ATS’ is referred to in full – i.e. as A.T.S. (as in R.A.C.) not as ‘ats’.