Royal Voluntary Service to Place World War II Diaries Online

The Hidden Histories of A Million Wartime Women project has now been funded by the public by means of a KickStarter campaign. The on-line campaign that will allow 28,000 pages of wartime diaries written by female volunteers to be freely available on the web.


The Kickstarter initiative to have the war time diaries digitised was led by Matthew McMurray, the Royal Voluntary Service archivist. His collection has been awarded UNESCO UK Memory of the World status and the documents are recognised as some of the most important in 20th century British history. The stories include everything from how young evacuees were organised to salvaging dog hair for knitting.

Quoting from the Hidden Histories of A Million Wartime Women project page on KickStarter:

“Within two years of the outbreak of the Second World War, 1-in-10 women had set aside their own lives to volunteer and help others as members of the Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS). They held the country together working tirelessly on the Home Front, but now they have been forgotten. They modestly refused recognition in their own time and their voices, those of ordinary women from our shared past, have now fallen silent; but you can help us to re-tell their stories of everyday heroism.”

The Hidden Histories of A Million Wartime Women project went live on Kickstarter throughout May with the target of £25,000 to digitise the first 28,000 pages of diaries from 1938 to 1941. In fact, that target was met and then surpassed when 705 backers donated raised £27,724. Donations are still being accepted at

You can read more in an article by Joanne Moore in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald at

Meg Moorat, a WVS motorcycle messenger in London during the war, riding a Triumph Twin in the streets of Whitehall.

One Comment

Keith Greenhalgh July 5, 2016 at 3:57 am

As a young boy soldier at the age of 15 1/2, I joined my regiment in south Devon. We always had a member of the WVS who had their own room in the barracks (I think she messed in the Officers mess and had a room there), where she supplied games and things for us young lads. We didn’t have one in Bahrain, nor do I remember one in Aden (now called the peoples republic of Yemen) although the Arabs do miss the Brits, especially our money as we always got paid in the local currency – then was the East African shilling. Aden holds memories, met my wife there, her dad was in the RAF, blimey 53 years ago, been married now just over 51 yrs.
The WVS were a good bunch of ladies.


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