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They were also forced to wear different insignia on their uniforms, further distinguishing them from their male counterparts.60 Discipline also differed, a woman was not allowed to be courted. Women in service were under the authority of female ATS officers, rather than the male officers they served directly. This meant that any disciplinary action was entirely in the hands of the ATS, eliminating the male presence in the process.60

Despite their obvious differences from men, the women were eager to volunteer. Many of the military women came from restricted backgrounds; thus, they were the liberating army.60 Other reasons women volunteered included escaping from unhappy homes or marriages, or having a more challenging job. The most overwhelming reason for enlisting in the military, however, was patriotism. As in World War I, Britain simmered in patriotic fervor throughout World War II to protect itself from foreign invasion.62

Women, for the first time, were given the opportunity to help defend their homeland, which explains the high number of female volunteers at the beginning of the war. Even Princess Elizabeth led the Windsor Unit as Second Junior, having joined the effort to protect the country.62 Despite the overwhelming response to the call for women volunteers, some women refused to join the forces; many were unwilling to give up the civilian job they had, and others had male counterparts who were unwilling to let them go (Crang 384). Others viewed war as still a man’s job, and not something in which women should participate.62

Like men’s forces, women’s forces volunteer throughout the war.62 When women’s compulsory military service came into effect, however, it was very limited. For example, married women were exempt from the obligation to serve unless they chose to do so, and those who were called could choose to serve in the civil defense (the home front). During the war, approximately 487,000 women volunteered for women’s services; 80,000 for WRNS, 185,000 for WAAF, and 222,000 for ATS. 54

In 1941 the demands of the war industry called for the service of women to relieve men of their former positions and take a more active role on the battlefield.

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