New Zealanders in World War 2 – Women in the Services

A guide to information on New Zealand women’s service in World War Two. All the sources listed are located in the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre, although there is borrowing copies of some of the below items.

Book: Doing our bitDoing our bit: New Zealand women tell their stories of World War Two
Most of those interviewed were nurses or served in the women’s forces. Some wives and mothers are included. Audrea Beddie, Joyce Bennett, Gwenda Birnie, Mavis Bracegirdle, Margaret Buchanan, Elsie Carter, Olivia Dickinson, June Fear, Nora Finn, Lorna Gayton, June Gummer, Joan Beckett, Joy Belcher, Olive Bennett, Noel Gard, Barbara Grierson, Norma Haggett, Dorothy Hardy, Joanna Harrington, Winifred Kinnis, Marjorie Lee, Bunty Languet, Joan Matthews, Jean McKegney, Sheila McKellar, Kit McKinnon, Jessie McClunie, Mary Michaels, Kate Milligan, Joan Niblock, Margaret Northcott, Margaret Parata, Mimi Reid, Winifred Rodenburg, Bette Selwood, Mona Stanton, Paddy Tait, Joy Thornton, Eileen Velleman, Thurza Williams, Colleen Wilson, Peggy Woods, Belle Wright.
Last line of defence : New Zealanders remember the war at home, 2007
Introduction includes discussion of women’s services. Oral histories of men and women who worked in the home forces in New Zealand during the war, including: Jane McIntyre (Bristow), WWSA; Betty van Praag (Hoskin), WRNZNS; Ngaire Gibbons (Lawrence), WAAC; Hazel Rowe (Davis), WAAC; Katherine Dyall (Martin), WAAC; Gwen Stevens (Pollard), WAAF; Maisie Takle (Younger), VAD and nurse aide with WAAF; Heather Crispe (Jerram), WRNZNS.
W.W.S.A.: a review of the war years
This pamphlet looks at the work of the Women’s War Service Auxiliary. Its activities included signals, a Transport Division, fire fighting, canteen work, clerical work, an orchard and gardening section, knitting and sewing, camouflage netting, land girls, recruiting for women’s armed services, entertaining troops, patriotic efforts, and St. John Ambulance work.


Book: Spreading their wingsDawson, B. Spreading their wings: New Zealand WAAFs in wartime
Interviews with Alison Elder, equipment assistant; Betty Norman, radium dial painter; Joan Bullock, instrument repairer; Alison Braithwaite, wireless operator; Nel Bethwaite, cipher officer; Rosemary Greene, driver; Jimmy Clark-Hall, instrument repairer; Iris Jeyes, parachute packer; Joan McVicar, meteorologist; June Gummer, pilot; Josie Miller, driver; Dorothy Davies, mechanic; June Stanton, armoury instructor; Judy Fraei, nurse; Roma Foley, nurse; Pip Tie, clerk; Pat Crerar, photographer; Lola Elliott, tailoress; Jo Aickin, telephone operator; Mary Blackwell, mess steward; Joan Fazackerly, librarian; Jan Gerard, officer; Athalie Watts, driver; Joan Wiffen, radar plotter; Evelyn Hutchins, driver; Patience Gould and Bish Allender, motorboat crew; Trevar McDonald, cook; Kathleen Johnston, dental assistant; Lilian Hassett and Trudy Kempster, researchers. Also includes biographical notes on Mrs Elsie N. Carlyon, Mrs Frances Ida (Kitty) Kain, and “Middy” Middleton.
Morris, K. & N. Wartime memories of the RNZAF
Nona Morris served in the WAAFs as a telephonist at various stations around New Zealand during the war.

Women of the Air Force Auxiliary, Harewood, Christchurch 1941

Petrie, N. From kiwi land to tropical island: Noeline’s story, 1940-45
Noeline and Daphne Petrie served as land girls, then joined the WAAFs. They were stationed at Wigram, then Noeline continued her service at Woodbourne and in Fiji.
The WAAF book: a scrapbook of wartime memories
Illustrated account of the work of the WAAFs; history in New Zealand; off-duty activities, ranks, pay and uniform. Contains notes on some individuals (pp. 65-87), with longer articles on June Howden, Lassie Hume, Bettie Loe, Irene Marriott, Frances Byers, Esther Cochran, Jean Price.


Latham, I. The WAAC story
Ch. 1: establishment; Ch. 2: Forces Clubs; Ch. 3: hospitals and hospital ships; Ch. 4-6: New Zealand; Ch. 7: Pacific; Ch. 8: Clerical Division; Ch. 9: J Force; Ch. 10: The Corps.
McKenna, N. Angel in God’s office: my wartime diaries
Neva Clarke McKenna served with the WAACs in Italy.

Land girls

Bardsley, D. The land girls: in a man’s world, 1939-1946, 2000
Draws on letters, diaries and interviews with 220 women about their lives as land girls during the war. Chronology, p. vi; biographies of women interviewed in person, pp. 147-161.
NZ Women’s Land Service, 1940-1946
Recollections of land girls: Jean Hayward, Joyce Greeve, Rosie Blomfield, Kathleen Evans, Joan Wright, Pat Warnock, Gwen Dorward, Ngaio Stead, Jeune McCormick, Jill Stuart Menteith, Wyn Wheeler, Joan Butland, Peggy Morris, Edna Ottoway, Daphne Attfield, Elsie Davison, Margaret Rolf, Jessie Littin, Joan Fowler, Joan Maul, Pani Hawkins, Hazel Hammond, Y.M. Grainger, Jessie Welch. Also includes summary of rules and procedures: eligibility, age, period of service, placement, wages and allowances, transport and travel concessions, accommodation, uniform, duties, hours of work and holidays, welfare.

See also

For further information, search the catalogue:

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