Sent to all District Committees and Sub-Centres, dated 15 October 1941. Entitled: Aims and objects for organising.
WOMENS WAR SERVICE AUXILIARY.
87 The Terrace,
15th October, 1941
CIRCULAR MEMORANDUM No. 19
AIMS AND OBJECTS FOR ORGANISING.
There seems to be some confusion as to the aims and objects of
the Womens War Service Auxiliary. The Womens War Service Auxiliary
is a constituent part of the Emergency Reserve Corps. The functions
of the Auxiliary are: -
(1) To provide a national organisation of women and girls.
(2) To co-ordinate and direct all womens war efforts.
(3) To compile a register of the women-power of the Dominion.
(4) To promote activities and provide training facilities for
women and girls who are, and have not been, able to obtain
such training facilities through other organisations, which will
enable the war effort to reach its maximum effectiveness.
The compilation of a register of the women-power of the Dominion
is a very important function, as it is essential that the Government
should have the fullest possible measure of knowledge of the women-
power that will be available for war purposes.
The register is, of course, founded on the voluntary effort of
the women and girls of the Dominion, and every woman and girl is asked
to register with the Auxiliary, even though they may not be in a
position to undertake immediate training, or perform any service, they
should at least register, so that their qualifications may be known.
By the word co-ordinate is meant that all the activities and
organisations of the Dominion should be registered so that no matter to
what other organisation women may belong, they have a common meeting
ground in the Womens War Service Auxiliary. It was for this reason
that all womens organisations were asked to send representatives to
form committees in each district, and throughout the Dominion a Council,
and from that council in Wellington a central Executive, that would be
able to work and control the organisation with the least possible
delay. It was seen that it was not possible for the different societies
to prepare for emergencies apart from each other, because by doing
this there would necessarily, and undoubtedly, be a lot of overlapping.
Womens War Service Auxiliary Committees have now been formed through-
out the Dominion, and representatives elected from the Red Cross,
Plunket Society, the Order of St. John, Lady Galway Guild, and all
societies in the Dominion. These Committees are now functioning in
sixty-five Districts, together with approximately one hundred and twenty
sub-centres. Their first duty is to see that every woman in the district
is registered, which after all is only taking a census of the woman-
These registrations do not bind the members to do anything.
A registrant is merely asked to state what she is doing, and what she
she [sic] is capable of doing in an emergency. If a woman is on a farm
she merely states doing farm work and on farm and she would not be
asked to do anything further. If, however, a married woman (not a
farmers wife) states that she has been used to factory work, school
teaching, telephone work, or any other work of a like nature, when she
was single, it is deemed necessary to know these things, so that if an
emergency arises she could be approached, and if agreeable, be drafted
back into these occupations, if and when, the need does arise. Besides
ascertaining what women have been trained for in the past, the Womens
War Service Auxiliary is also anxious to know if they are training for
anything at present.
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If they are the fact should also be noted, and if any emergency
should arise, what they are training for now, would be balanced against
what they already know, and they would be asked to do the work that was
considered most urgent.
If all the women and girls in New Zealand had been preparing
for extra work, the duties of the Womens War Service Auxiliary would
merely be a co-ordinating and directing body, but on the compilation
of the register it was [found] that quite a number of women and girls
were not training to do anything, so the Womens War Service Auxiliary
undertook to train them in any activity that appealed to them, which
training was not being undertaken by another organization. There are
quite a number of women who feel that they would not make good V.A.D.s
or nurses, but they feel they could be used to advantage as cooks,
clerical workers, signallers, and other work of that nature, so there
fore the Womens War Service Auxiliary set about and procured the
facilities for training them in those various activities without ask-
ing them to give up their present employment. In the case of
emergency, the Womens War Service Auxiliary felt that it was essential
that every woman in the Dominion should know something about First Aid,
as it was felt, after the terrible bombing that has taken place in the
other countries, the woman or girl, without any knowledge of this
work, would be quite at a loss to know what to do, so the registrants
with the Auxiliary were all asked, if they could possibly do so, to
take a course of First Aid. Then the Womens War Service Auxiliary
desired that every young girl should be training in discipline and
arrangements were made whereby the girls could be trained in military
drill. By drilling together, not as members of separate organisations,
but as a co-operative body, it was thought that all petty jealousies
and friction that unfortunately do sometimes arise between different
groups might be avoided, and their loyalty as New Zealanders, as well
as their loyalty to their own organisation, would be strengthened.
From this it will be seen that it is impossible for the Womens
War Service Auxiliary to work against the interests of any society, and
it is not the aim of the Auxiliary to interfere with any of the work
that is being done with any other society. All the Womens War
Service Auxiliary seeks to do, is to have unity of service and control
and one central point where all war work can be directed from
Perhaps this point can be made clear if we liken the Womens War
Service Auxiliary to a Bureau; they have the records of what everyone
is capable of doing, and if they are already working with any Society.
The Womens War Service Auxiliary, is not, therefore, comparable with
an ordinary Bureau, inasmuch as it trains people for useful service
in the different organisations. Registrants are trained in work
which will help New Zealands war effort to the utmost, and in
consolidating this effort we can, and will, help to the full the
Government and the War Effort.