Investigating the reality -- why some women did join

Look at this selection of reasons why women did join the WAAAF.

  1. List the variety of reasons given by these women for enlistment in the WAAAF.
  2. Judging from this, do you think the advertisements referred to in the first component of this activity might have been successful?
  3. What other influences might have been at work?

Some reasons 'Why I joined the WAAAF'.

  • Being patriotic and wanting to serve my country.
  • I was young and healthy with an unbending sense of 'my country needs me'.
  • I'm not sure but perhaps it was my dad's 1st AIF background, seeing friends and families affected in various ways, the lure of enlisting campaigns or the air of mystery and appeal as women began appearing in uniform in our town.
  • First and foremost I wished to serve my country.
  • Seeing my four brothers in uniform made me very determined to want to do my bit too.
  • I joined up because I loved marching, music, excitement, pageantry and the colour blue! I also joined because I loved and still love England.
  • I joined the WAAAF because I was born Patricia instead of Peter.
  • I knew that somehow I must be part of the challenge to the German fallacy that 'might is right'.
  • Many, like myself, found 'joining up' an escape from an intolerably dead-end employment situation, as well as a patriotic response.
  • Apart from financial reasons, I was better off financially.
  • Walking along St George's Terrace, Perth, with a crowd of girls one evening in 1942, I pointed to an Air Force House and said, 'I think I'll join'. One of the girls said, 'Well, go and do it', and pushed me in the door.
  • I joined up from a war-embattled home to help protect 40 Marine Parade, Maroubra.

(Based on Clare Stevenson and Honor Darling (eds), The WAAAF Book, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1984 pp 80 - 87)