11 July 2017

WVS Diaries 1939 - 1942 and Bulletin Free Online

31,401 pages of diaries from 1938-1942 from more than 1,300 different cities, towns and villages across Great Britain, previously unseen diaries from the Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS) during the Second World War, are newly available online.

The diaries record the work of the WVS to help win the war. "As well as sewing, cooking, knitting and helping their communities recover after raids, they learnt new skills such as extinguishing incendiary bombs, driving in the black-out and garnishing tens of thousands of camouflage nets; helping transform the way in which women were viewed by society."

The diaries are hand-written so not full-text searchable. Searching is by place name. Individuals are rarely mentioned.

Find a press release at https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/news-and-events/news/royal-voluntary-service-diaries-of-wartime-women-go-online.

Also available, fully digitized, is the WVS Bulletin and WRVS Magazine, a subscription publication produced monthly for 36 years. Over 419 issues were published between November 1939 to December 1974.  They "offer a very clear and accessible view of the activities and work that was undertaken". Some names are mentioned including those receiving long-service awards.

If you only want to search the Bulletins click 'Advanced search' and type your word of phrase into the Bulletin Text field.

1 comment:

Judy Lynn in Ontario said...

In light of this new posting of the diaries of women volunteers during the war years and beyond in England, I thought it might be a good time to remind researchers of the incredible value that lies (sometimes hidden away) in the Tweedsmuir Histories created by women's institutes across Canada. Every little community with a church and an active Women's Institute had been encouraged by Lady Tweedsmuir to undertake a local history and very many of them did. These are often found in local archives, local libraries, local history collections or in churches themselves and well worth the hunt. The ones in our archives (Gravenhurst Archives)are handwritten scrapbooks with photographs, newspaper clippings, family trees, maps -- everything to make a genealogist's heart (or an archivist's heart) sing! We find items in the five or six that we have here that do not turn up anywhere else. Since they were often written by the local newspaper columnist for the little community, they were often well written.