Australian Women's Army Service

Australian Women's Army Service

Australian Women's Army Service

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"AWAS" redirects here. For Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services, see Ansett Australia.

The Australian Women's Army Service or "AWAS" was a (non medical) women's service established on 13 August 1941 to "release men from certain military duties for employment in fighting units".

Formation / Structure

The Service recruited women between the ages of 18 and 45 and it was initially envisaged they would serve in a variety of roles including clerks, typists, cooks and drivers.

During the war a total of 24,026 women enlisted (with a maximum strength of 20,051 in January 1944). The AWAS had 71 barracks around the country.

They were paid wages equal to two-thirds that of their male equivalents.

The AWAS had their own rank and administrative arrangements and they reported to the Chief of General Staff (CGS). The Commanding Officer or "Controller" of the AWAS was equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel.

The Controller of the AWAS (until the end of 1946) was Sybil Howy Irving MBE, who in October 1941 set about selecting twenty-eight women as officers to form the nucleus of the AWAS. By 23 November 1941,...
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