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05/08/2021 02:45am

Woman’s Royal Voluntary Service Medal

The Women’s Royal Voluntary Service Long Service Medal was instituted in 1961 to recognise 15 years’ service undertaken by women and men on behalf of the Women Voluntary Service organisation between 1938 and 1966.
In 1966 it changed its name to Women’s Royal Voluntary Service and since 2005 has been known simply as the WRVS.
The medal is circular, 36mm in diameter and was struck in silver. The obverse of this medal depicts the interlocking initials; ‘WVS’ within an ivy wreath.
The reverse can be found images of three flowers and is inscribed; ‘SERVICE BEYOND SELF’ around the circumference.
The ribbon suspender is of the plain, straight and non-swivelling style attached by a fastening that surmounts the medal.
The medal was issued un-named.
Women's Royal Voluntary Service Medal.png
The ribbon is 32mm wide and green in colour with a red and white stripe along each either edge.
None were authorised for this medal.
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
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Woman’s Royal Voluntary Service Medal
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Further Historical Context
This section contains information on the following:-
- The Women’s Voluntary Service Organisation
The Women’s Voluntary Service Organisation - The Women’s Voluntary Service Organisation began life as the Royal Voluntary Service, but became known as the Women's Voluntary Service in 1938 when its objectives changed more towards aiding the civilian populations. In World War II, it played a key part in the evacuation of civilians from urban areas. The Women's Voluntary Service had been asked to pinpoint areas of safety and billeting for evacuated children. Moving children out of the cities proved reasonably easy, however, getting them to a known area of safety proved a lot more difficult as trains did not always arrive at an expected destination or would turn up at a reception point unexpectedly.
The WVS is credited with helping to move 1.5 million people (the majority were children) out of cities in the early days of September 1939.
By the time of the Blitz, women in the Women's Voluntary Service were adept at providing food and drink around the clock. While ARP wardens and firemen fought the fires, women in the Women's Voluntary Service set up mobile canteens to keep them refreshed, thus placing themselves in serious physical danger with collapsing buildings a constant threat. When the raids ended, the Women's Voluntary Service also played a part in looking after those who were injured and had lost their homes. Records indicate that the Women's Voluntary Service dealt with and helped over 10,000 people every night of the Blitz.
As the Blitz lasted for 57 nights, the Women's Voluntary Service helped in total a vast number of people who went to their rest centres. Some people stayed just for a night—many stayed for much longer and stretched the resources of the Women's Voluntary Service to the limit. In Barnes, one WVS member fed 1,200 bomb victims in just one day, cooking in her own kitchen.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the work done by the WVS during the Blitz: the rest centres provided a roof, food and, importantly, sanitation. However, working so near to the centre of the bombing inevitably led to casualties, 241 members of the WVS were killed during the Blitz and many more were wounded. 25 Women's Voluntary Service offices were also destroyed.
The Women's Voluntary Service began running Incident Inquiry Points, places where people came to find out about their loved ones who were in an area that had been bombed in order to free the ARP to work with the fire brigade. The WVS also helped with the Queen's Messenger Food Convoys which took food to areas in need after a bombing raid. The people who survived the bombing of Coventry received help from one of the convoys with 14,000 meals being served.
By 1941, one million women belonged to the WVS. Their work did not slacken after the end of the Luftwaffe's bombing raids. The Battle of the Atlantic and the devastating toll of merchant ships sunk by U-boats led to shortages in Great Britain. The WVS did all that it could to assist in the collection of required material for the war effort and also to educate people not to waste what they had.
In the build up to D-Day, the expertise the Women's Voluntary Service had in catering was put to use again. The skills learned during the Blitz were again put to good use when the V1 and V2 rockets fell on London. Once again, the Women's Voluntary Service played a key role in evacuation. With the success of D-Day, the Women's Voluntary Service moved into Europe to support troops there. The first Women's Voluntary Service abroad had landed in Italy with the success of the invasion there.
In 1966 it changed its name to Women’s Royal Voluntary Service and since 2005 has been known simply as the WRVS.
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.