goes to the wars book cover

Jane goes to the Wars – as told on her typewriter, with sketches by a comrade in the A.T.S. is a little ditty about a well-to-do woman who joins the A.T.S. or Auxiliary Territorial Service. On joining-up Jane proceeds to fancy all her drill Sergeant-Majors and moves quickly up the ranks to Sergeant herself. Via eating very well in the mess (see illustration) and tobogganing on tin trays. Spiffing fun had by all.

I’m not one for collecting items with my name on them. I know what my name is. This booklet snuck in to my collection by virtue of its wartime niceness. Almost in spite of the title containing my name. It was printed by Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd and is set in a typewritery typeface apropos of the title. The illustrations are lovely Vogue-ish things.

Written in the first person, it’s a piece of propaganda. Part of the drive to get women in to war work out of their (in this case) somewhat pampered lives. The A.T.S. was one of several auxiliary services that called up women from December 1941.  And this red volume looks to be part of that particular recruitment drive. The famous Jane cartoon that ran in The Daily Mirror throughout the war must be the Jane reference here. But it doesn’t look like the same cartoonist drew our Jane. She also isn’t half as saucy as their Jane.

My favourite bit of this book is part of the title page illustration. A wrapped parcel is labeled ‘Pre-war glamour’ and Jane steps past it in her uniform – all curls, lipstick, kit bag and attitude.


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