BELGIAN WOMEN IN UNIFORM

ATS & WAAF

ARMY NURSES

1940 - 1946

 

 

SHORT HISTORY

 

Only  a few dozen Belgian women wore a British uniform during WW2.

The number may seem very low, but one has to understand that all Belgian women
who volunteered for War service had to come out of the ranks
of the Belgian refugee community in the United Kingdom.

Belgium had no tradition of women wearing uniform before WW2, so most of the Belgian women,
in the United Kingdom, choosed to work in a factory in stead of joining the Armed Forces.

As no foreigner was allowed to join the WRNS, the women had to volunteer for the ATS or the WAAF.

 
LENAERS Denise as an ATS private.

Those who joined the Auxilary Territorial Service and the Women Auxilary Air Force
were mostly given administrative and logistical functions.

 
BENS Josette as a WAAF Aircraftwoman.

They worked as clerck, driver, wireless operator, equipment assistant, and several other functions.

All of them did their job faithfully and with courage when necessary.

Manchester, Spring 1944. Lance-Corporal LENAERS at the Physical Training Instructor course.

Copy of Pay Book of BENS Josette

They were all demobilised end 1945, beginning 1946.

Until today, 2003, none of the ATS and WAAF women has been recognised
by the Belgian Government as soldier having served during WW2.........

The Belgian Army in the United Kingdom had also a detachment of nurses.

Some of them even served in the 1st World War.

They are the only Belgian women who were officialy incorporated in the Belgian Army.

July 21 1942, Chelsea Barracks, London.
Minister GUTT and undersecretary of  Defence ROLIN inspecting a detachment of Belgian Army nurses.

 

 

 

BADGES AND INSIGNIA

 

ARM TITLE

They all wore a "BELGIUM" arm title.

The ATS wore a greenish curved arm title with "BELGIUM" in red capital letters.

The WAAF wore a RAF blue curved arm title with "BELGIUM" in light blue capital letters.

The Army nurses wore the khaki curved arm title with "BELGIUM" in dark red capital letters.

The arm title was worn on both sleeves by the ATS and WAAF women.

The Army nurses wore the arm title on the left sleeve.

On the right sleeve they wore the Belgian National colours.

BELGIUM arm title worn by the ATS.
BELGIUM arm title worn by the WAAF.
BELGIUM arm title worn by the Army nurses.

 

Private LENAERS Denise wearing the "BELGIUM" arm title.

 

Aircraftwoman BENS Josette wearing the "BELGIUM" arm title.

 

CAP BADGES

The Belgian ATS women wore the ATS cap badge.

The Belgian RAF women wore the RAF cap badge.

The Belgian Army nurses wore a cap badge of their own.

It was the collar badge of the Royal Army Medical Corps without the King's crown.

 

ATS Cap Badge WAAF Cap Badge
Belgian Army nurses Cap Badge
 

 

SHOULDER AND COLLAR BADGES

Only the ATS wore shoulder badges.

The Belgian Army nurses wore the same badge as the cap badge on their collars.

 

ATS Shoulder insignia.

 

Nurse BLOCH-ERRERA wearing the badge on her field cap and collars.

 

ARM BADGE

The Belgian Army nurses wore an arm badge of their own.

A three pointed white shield with a red cross.

It was worn on the left arm sleeve.

Belgian Army nurses Arm Badge.

 

RANK INSIGNIA

All the Belgian women wore ATS and WAAF Rank Insignia.

Some of them became lance-corporal or corporal, only 3 or 4 obtained the rank of sergeant.

As far as known Belgian Army nurses had no rank.

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