The Life and Family of
Louise Mary Holme

 

Background to the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps

 

 

 

Louise M Holme joined Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps as a Worker. By the end of the War she had been promoted to the rank of Forewomen. Unfortunately the majority of the records for QMAAC were destroyed in September 1940 during the London Blitz. Sadly Louise's record was amongst those destroyed, so it is not possible to establish when she joined, where she served, or any detail, other than she was posthumously awarded the OBE for Gallantry and from the information available would have been eligible for the Victory Medal and British War Medal.

The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed following Lieutenant General H.M. Lawson's report of 16th January 1917 which recommended employing women in the army in France. Mrs Charmers Watson became Chief Controller of the new organisation and recruiting began in March 1917, although the Army Council Instruction No. 1069 of the 1917 which formally established the WAAC was not issued until 7th July 1917.

Applicants had to appear before a selection board and they needed to provide two references and would also have to pass a medical examination before they could be accepted. Although it was a uniformed service, there were no military ranks in the WAAC; instead of officers and other ranks, it was made up of 'officials' and 'members';. Officials were divided into 'controllers' and 'administrators', members were 'subordinate officials', 'forewomen' and 'workers'. The WAAC was organised in four sections: Cookery, Mechanical, Clerical and Miscellaneous. In appreciation of its good services, it was announced on 9th April 1918 that the WAAC was to be renamed 'Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps' (QMAAC) with Her Majesty as Commander-in-Chief. Approximately 57,000 women served with the WAAC and QMAAC. Demobilisation commenced following the Armistice in November 1918 and on 1st May 1920 the QMAAC ceased to exist, although a small unit remained with the Graves Registration Commission at St. Poi until September 1921.

The OBE (Order of the British Empire) was created by King George V in 1915 to reward those who made a special contribution to the War effort. In 1918 it divided into civilian and military divisions. It has not been possible to access the Award citation for Louise. The Awards were announced either in the New Years Honours List or Birthday Honours List and published in the London Gazette with no detail other than the name and service.