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Brian Keith

WW II Australian Women's Army Service Coat

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The AWAS was established in 1941 to, release men from certain military duties for employment in fighting units." Pretty much the same reason the US military had women in the service during WW II (nurses excepted). It was disbanded in 1947; approximately 24,000 women had served in that time.

I picked up this coat at a military show last year. It caught my eye early in the show, but I just couldnt pull the trigger on it at the time and walked away. I was secretly hoping someone else would buy it as it really doesnt fit my normal collecting habits. But, alas, towards the end of the two day show it was still there and the vendor accepted my offer. Not a huge discount, but OK as I had sold some of my excess during the show. As I am in the US, I suspect not a lot of these AWAS uniforms are in the states. Of course internet sales and international shipping is easy these days.

The only insignia on it when I bought it is the red cross patch on the upper right sleeve. It appears to be Australian made, but according to what I have found, the AWAS had no medical role to play. As such, it may not have been there when worn by the AWAS member. Further research will need to be done. The patch is not fully sewn on, just tacked on a bit, a further indication it is not as worn original.

Im in the market for the collar insignia and the AWAS shoulder titles, I hope to find them at the Show of Shows in February.

Thanks for looking!




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