Randlay Primary School and Nursery

Home Page

Randlay Primary School and Nursery

Home Page
Google Translate

Creative Curriculum WB 08.06.20

What did the women do in the war?

This week, you will be learning all about the different jobs and roles women did in the war.

What did the Queen do during the war?

The Queen, who celebrated her 94th birthday on 21 April, is the longest-reigning monarch in history with 67 years under her belt. However, before assuming her regal responsibilities in 1952, the Queen took on another role, joining the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War.‚Äč


Once she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, Princess Elizabeth trained as a driver.

After passing the military driving test, she became a driver for the Second Subaltern Windsor Unit.

The princess also learnt how to repair vehicle engines as a mechanic in her unit. She was later promoted to the rank of honorary junior commander, which at the time would have been the female equivalent of becoming a captain. One day, she received a visit from her mother, Queen Elizabeth, who watched as her daughter explained what her role entailed. In the issue of Life Magazine published in 1945, it explained that while the princess took up service in the armed forces, she “did not sleep at the camp but motored each night to Windsor Castle, showing up the next morning at 9 o’clock”.

Jobs for the women during World War Two

Before the Second World War, women were expected to be 'housewives' or perhaps to do certain 'women's jobs', such as nursing or being a domestic servant or shop assistant. The war changed the world of work for women for ever. When men went to fight, women were called upon to fill their jobs, and this included many jobs that were previously thought of unsuitable for women.

Women were called up for war work from March 1941.

Jobs undertaken by women during the war included:

  • mechanics
  • engineers
  • Tank drivers
  • Building ships
  • Working in factories - making bombs and aircraft parts
  • Air raid wardens
  • Driving fire engines
  • Plumbers
  • Ambulance drivers
  • WRVS volunteers
  • Nurses

Women were required by the government to work.

At first, only single women aged 20-30 were called up, but by mid-1943, almost 90 per cent of single women and 80 per cent of married women were working in factories, on the land or in the armed forces.

Huge numbers of women were involved in the war effort and many joined the armed forces even though they did not have to:

  • 640,000 in the armed forces;
  • 55,000 serving with guns and providing essential air defence;
  • 80,000 thousand in the Land Army;
  • plus many more who flew unarmed aircraft, drove ambulances, worked as nurses and worked behind enemy lines in the European resistance.

The Women's Land Army

What was the Women's Land Army?

As the prospect of war became increasingly likely, the government wanted to increase the amount of food grown within Britain. In order to grow more food, more help was needed on the farms and so the government started the Women's Land Army.


When was it started?

The Women's Land Army was set up in June 1939.


What kind of jobs did the Land Army do?

The girls of the land army looked after animals, ploughed the fields, dug up potatoes, harvested the crops, killed the rats, dug and hoed for 48 hours a week in the winter and 50 hours a week in the summer. The women earned £1,85 for a working week with a minimum of 50 hours. In 1944 the wages were increased to £2.85.


The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS)

The ATS was the women's branch of the British Army during World War Two (see the ATS recruitment poster above). Women between the ages of 17 and 43 could join and, although they were barred from serving in battle, they could take on other roles, such as cooks, storekeepers, orderlies, drivers and postal workers. Later in the war, when there was a shortage of men available to do some jobs, women in the ATS became radar operators and anti-aircraft gun crew members as well.

More Amazing Information

Click on the following link to discover more intriguing information about what other jobs women did during the war.

Writing Task

Once you have researched the impact of what women were involved in during the war, we would like you to create a non-chronological report using your findings. Think about how you will structure your report. We would like to see:

  • A topic title which covers the whole subject
  • A brief introduction paragraph which gives a who/what/where overview
  • Information grouped into paragraphs, which may include a sub-heading.
  • Some information might be contained in fact boxes and bullet-point lists.
  • Individual points supported by extra detail and examples or evidence.
  • Present tense verbs, unless the report is historical.
  • Third person pronouns and a formal tone

You may want to use diagrams and illustrations in your report, in order to add more detail and make your writing stand out.

Take a look at the examples below which will help you with the lay out of your report and the language features you should be using.


School starts at 9am be on time