The Auxiliary Territorial Service was a female branch of the British Army that served during the Second World War. In September 1938, it was formed as voluntary service for women.
The ATS had roots dating back to 1917 during the First World War when the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) was set up as a voluntary service for women. Female employees undertook positions such as clerks, cooks, telephonists and waitresses. The WAAC was disbanded in 1921.
Before the Second World War, an advisory council was set up after the government decided to introduce an official corps for women in the British Army. They decided that the ATS would be attached to the Territorial Army and that women would recieve two-thirds of the pay awarded to male soldiers.
All women in the army joined the ATS, except for those who worked in medical professions.
In 1949, the organisation disbanded and the Women’s Royal Army Corps was formed.