Olive Wood (1883-1973):
Self Portrait as a chauffeuse, serving with the WAAC, circa 1917
Framed (ref: 9882)
Oil on canvas
Provenance: Private Collection
It has been suggested that this is a self portrait - the artist would have been in her early 30's at the time of this painting.
One of the areas of employment where new opportunities opened up for women during WW1 was in transport. Women began working as drivers, bus conductresses, ticket collectors, porters, carriage cleaners and bus drivers.
Pressure from women for their own uniformed service to assist the war effort began in August 1914. After a War Office investigation which showed that many jobs being done by soldiers in France could instead be done by women, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established in December 1916. In April 1918, the WAAC was renamed Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. The Women's Royal Naval Service was formed in November 1917 and the Women's Royal Air Force was set up on 1 April 1918. In total, over 100,000 women joined Britain's armed forces during the war.
We are grateful to Ablett Lester for assistance.