Our Editor has asked me to write something about the Women’s Volunteer Reserve for the Magazine, so I shall endeavour to give a few facts.
“The W.V.R. is an organisation of trained disciplined women ready to assist the State in any capacity.”
The Reserve, including the various branches throughout the country, numbers approximately 8000 strong. It is run on the lines of a military institution, having Mrs. W. M. Charlesworth, Colonel of the W.V.R., as its Commanding Officer. Under her come Majors, Captains and so on, down to the rank and file.
A recognised uniform is worn-khaki Norfolk coat and skirt, felt hat, bronze hat badge, and shoulder straps with W.V.R. in bronze lettering.
Anyone may become a recruit, provided she is between the ages of 18 and 50. Cadet Corps are formed in connection with the Reserve, the age limit being from 14 to 18.
All promotion is strictly through the ranks, with examination for commissions. A private who has done good work and has a good influence is made an N.C.O., but after getting her stripe, she has to prove her capability for authority, and if she fails to do so, she will undoubtedly lose it again. Commissioned officers have to pass examinations, and train in the O.T.C.
N.C.O. appointments are made by the Company Commander with the C.O.’s sanction. These appointments cannot be of the same interest or importance to the whole W.V.R. as are those of officers, for no one can become a full officer until a warrant has been received from the highest authority of the Reserve, Colonel Charlesworth.
I, personally, belong to the London Battalion, which is divided into Companies A, B, C, &c., mine being “H” Company.
We drill twice a week oil the lines of the Infantry Drill Book, and volunteer for canteen work, orderly work at hospitals, air raid duty and stewarding at public functions.
There is a Captain and a Lieutenant to each Company, with a Sergeant Major and N.C.O.’s.
On alternate Saturday afternoons we drill as a Battalion, the several companies forming platoons. There are about 500 girls in the London Battalion. Sometimes we vary the drills by going route marches through London and Hyde Park.
A short time ago, we had the pleasure of being photographed for the cinema whilst marching past the South Kensington Museum.
Now winter is upon us, we are no longer able to drill in Hyde Park, where crowds of all description used to watch us, and we have to drill in Halls instead. Both have advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage, if it may be so called, of having to drill indoors is that we have to hire the Halls. The W.V.R. is greatly in need of help for such expenses as this. It is also in great need of more Motor Ambulances, as so much of its work is ambulance work.
Daily, we meet the Red Cross trains, and convey the wounded to their respective hospitals. After raids, our Stretcher Squads go out and bring in the wounded and dead. I wonder if the Godolphin School of the past and present would help by giving the W.V.R. a Motor Ambulance. I have not words to tell you how much it would be welcomed. I know what a lot you are always doing for war work, but can’t you make just another mighty effort and help us by subscriptions? Even if you can only manage to help in a small way, we shall be grateful, for “every little helps”, and you would have our deepest gratitude.