[ Auxiliary Territorial Service in the Second World War. ] Album of Junior Commander Kathleen Wynne-Edwards, commander of 'five Platoons, on the average 220 strong' at Prestatyn, containing original photographs, letters, circulars, cuttings, ephemera

Kathleen Violet M. Wynne-Edwards [ née Touzel ] (1895-1978) of the ATS [ Auxiliary Territorial Service ], wife of Lieut-Col. John Copner Wynne-Edwards (1891-1967)
Publication details: 
2nd Signal Training Centre, Prestatyn, North Wales. Between 1939 and 1942.
SKU: 17539

The material is laid down and loosely inserted on 39pp. of a folio album with paper covers (the ATS badge drawn on the front). The album itself is aged and worn, but the material inside is in good condition, with light aging.Biographical information on Wynne-Edwards is given in a loosely-inserted copy of an autograph letter to 'Mrs. Whately', on the Prestatyn letterhead, dated 8 February 1942, in which she states that she has been at work at Prestatyn 'for the last fifteen months', and has 'commanded a Company of five Platoons, on the average 220 strong, under the direct administration of Headquarters, Western Command'. While she is looking forward to the increased responsibility resulting from the 'coming A.T.S. expansion', which will increase the company's strength to 500, she asks not to be moved away from Prestatyn, as it is near her home. More biographical information is to be gleaned from a TLS to Wynne-Edwards from Company Commander Clare T. , Chester, 23 March 1941. This refers to 'accidents' which have meant that Wynne-Edwards has not been allowed 'back onto the Staff Cars here. I therefore felt that it would be better for you to be at an outstation than driving the van at Chester. You were sent to Alton Towers as a relief driver as Schwabe was in the Isolation Hospital and afterwards on sick leave. Then a relief driver was required at Blackpool, so I arranged with England that you should go there as you were accustomed to the largest ambulances. | You are in no way in disgrace.' Included in the volume are 94 original photographs, most of them captioned, beginning with the 'Arrival of Troops. 4.6.39' at 'Blackmore Park Camp, Malvern', and including portraits of the women and their officers, as well as views of the training centre. Of particular interest are a series of pictures of a visit by 'H.R.H. Princess Royal' [ Mary, Countess of Harewood ], on 6 November 1940, and including one of her inspecting a guard of honour. The photographs are accompanied by a typed copy of a letter to 'Mrs Collie' from Sybil Carrington, expressing the Princess's pleasure at the visit. The programme of a subsequent visit features as a typed circular, and there is also a letterhead from the same visit, bearing the Princess's autograph ('Mary | June 29th to July 1st 1942'), as well as table plans and other material. There is also a letter written to Wynne-Edwards on the Princess's behalf by her lady-in-waiting Sybil Kenyon-Slaney, 2 July 1942. Among the 28 items of correspondence are letters from different individuals relating to the prosecution of five members of the platoon following what an accompanying cutting from the Rhyl Journal, 28 June 1941, describes as 'Wholesale Shoplifting by A.T.S. Girls. Ringleader admits coaching others.' The letters include one from Stella Maris of Barnstaple, regarding her stepdaughter Violet Wheeler: 'I have had her since she was 9 months old when she was five I lost my husband and have had to work hard for her; she was a last war baby nobody wanted her that was the reason I took her. I have one son who is now a Capt. in the army: I hope when she is posted she will make up for what she as [sic] done'. Also present is a humorous poem typed in red and black, titled 'Short Prayer for the A.T.S.' and beginning: 'Lord, haste to save the A.T.S. | Not from the bomb that | Hitler sends, | Not from the turmoil or the stress, | But from their friends.' There is also a typed 'Certified true copy', on government paper of 'Remarks' following the '16th A.T.S. Officers Course, School of Military Adn.', in which the unnamed subject is referred to as 'possibly suffering from an inferiority complex'. On the same paper are two typed pages headed 'Extract from S.T.C. diary [3 September to 27 October 1940]. Prestatyn.' The account begins: 'The problem of feeding approx. 3500 in one Dining room from one kitchen appeared to be insuperable. Major Salmon was appointed Catering Advisor. Meals were staggered. Gibbs succeeded Major Salmon 25th Oct, 1939. | The staffing of a cookhouse of this size by women alone is not practical, with the numbers to be fed, women cannot stand up to the pressure day after day or handle the heavier class of goods.' Circulars include a 'Special Notice' from Blackmore Park Camp, June 1939, relating to an inspection, a similar notice concerning a camp, a table of 'Units' Programme of Duties', another of 'Orderlies Duties', a 'Camp Time Table', 'Training Programme', 'Camp Fire Orders', a souvenir of a 'Grand Charity Ball', material relating to examinations. Also present, in addition to numerous newspaper and magazine cuttings relating to the base, are Wynne-Edwards's '1942-43 Clothing Book', her 'War Office Temporary Pass', and invitations cards. Also a Ministry of Information booklet titled 'Enemy Uniforms at a Glance'. Inserted in the volume is an attractive and capable embroidery (presumably by Wynne-Edwards) of the ATS badge, in pink, red, green, blue, yellow and cream thread, on a yello silk handkerchief.?>