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National League for Women's Service Motor Corps Jacket

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#1 cwnorma

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 04:18 PM

Anther scarce WW1 Women's uniform is for a member of the National League for Women's Service (NLWS) Motor Corps.

The NLWS was a strictly voluntary, stateside organization. Despite the organizations voluntary nature, it did enjoy a sort of semi-official status. Although the organization was active nation wide, it really only took root in the major cities of the US like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. The NLWS was divided into two major categories. The NLWS and the NLWS Motor Corps. There was also a junior division of the NLWS made up of high school age girls.

Women of the NLWS Motor Corps drove ambulances, made official deliveries of war materials, and also assisted police and government agencies. Some women of the NLWS Motor Corps were used to interrogate female detainees at Ellis Island.

After a major explosion of an ammunition factory at Perth Amboy New Jersey, the NLWS Motor Corps conducted the lion's share of the evacuations of wounded factory workers. Many members of the Corps were commended by the city of New York for this service.

The Jacket is olive drab whipcord. The cuffs are pointed (similar to USMC cuffs) but they are piped in emerald green. Note: The Sam Browne is a later (WW2) model, but it is a women's size, and fits on my mannequin. WW1 photographs of women in the NLWS Motor Corps always show them wearing Sam Browne belts.

The hat worn by members of the NLWS. This insignia shows that she was an "assistant" as if she were a driver, the hat would have had the NLWS Motor Corps insignia of a winged wheel. Only women who had earned thier chaufeur's license could wear the winged wheel insignia.

NLWS Button

NLWS insignia. In many smaller communities, this was the only uniform item for women in the NLWS. The pin could be worn by any woman in or out of uniform acting under the auspices of the NLWS.


Edited by cwnorma, 09 March 2007 - 04:21 PM.

#2 collectsmedals

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 09:41 AM

Outstanding uniform.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

#3 cwnorma

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for sharing it with us.


Thank you for your kind words. I know that to a lot of militaria collectors women's items just aren't "kewl". But to me its just another part of the history, and the whole reason I collect is to preserve that. In 1917, women simply didn't do things like go off to fight a war. In a sense, these women were true pioneers doing what society felt women shouldn't. It took a lot of courage for them to go...

We have a funny hobby. Pin a medal on some guys chest, and 90 years later we fall all over ourselves to break out our wallets to buy it. It doesn't seem to matter that after the war he became a drunk who beat his children and died on skid row, we only care about that one seminal moment.

But what of the young doughboy who, volunteers for the ambulance corps, and is so moved by the carnage he later goes on to become an M.D. and invent the modern contact lens? How many lives has he touched--for the better? What value do we, as collectors, place on that?

I ask because I have both in my collection. What I can tell you is which would fetch more on ebay.

Heady questions for a Saturday morning I know.

Anyway, thanks again


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