WW2 AUSTRALIAN WOMENS ARMY SERVICE (AWAS) HAT DATED 1943
The Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) was established on 13 August 1941, to release men from certain military duties for service with fighting units. The Service recruited women between the ages of 18 and 45 and they served in a variety of roles including clerks, typists, cooks and drivers. In 1945 a contingent was sent to Lae and a small group went to Holland. In June 1947, owing to the end of World War II, the AWAS was disbanded.
On 13 August 1941 the War Cabinet of the Australian Government gave approval for the Formation and Control of an Australian Army Women's Service to release men from military duties for employment with fighting units. The name was later changed to Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS).
From the time of the appointment of the Controller AWAS on 29 September 1941, until cessation of hostilities in August 1945, 24,026 women enlisted as volunteers in the Service.
Hitherto there had been no women accepted by the Army except those in the Medical Services and the potentialities of women in other trades and professions had not been utilised. In addition, as the Service expanded women with no particular qualifications, apart from general intelligence were used in various occupations where willingness to serve and general adaptability were the main requirements.
The first 29 officers were a representative selection of Australian women appointed after many women had been interviewed in each State. It was considered essential that those selected for the first officers appointments should have proved themselves as leaders in their own trade or profession or in some form of community service. They were expected to have qualities of enthusiasm and confidence in the contribution which women could take to the Army, balance and dependability in carrying through a task, consideration for the requirements and needs of other women, and most importantly, tact and patience necessary for pioneering a new organisation.
This hat is in exceptional condition for its age showing only minor wear. Government issued label dated 1943 with another tag inside reading the owners name of Molly Reilly and phone number 2954610 good possibility of research. Colour patch to one side of Odnance Corps and a pin on small Rising Sun badge to the front. These hats are rarer than the traditional slouch hats of WW2 and tell an interesting story of the service of females in WW2.