Main content

Women's Auxiliary Corps (India) World War II photograph album


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Women's Auxiliary Corps (India) or WAC(I) was formed in April 1942 with the aim of giving women of British and Indian nationality duties with the British Army, of which they were an integral part with full military status. Entry was restricted to women between the ages of 17 and 50, but was open to any race, caste or creed, recruiting from British and Indian women living in British India or the Indian states. There was no segregation in the corps and Indian, British, Anglo-Burman, Anglo-Indian and others lived and worked together. However, given the restrictions of gender and caste in Indian society, in practice most volunteers came from the Anglo-Indian (mixed race) and Indian Christian communities. By 1945 the WAC(I) had some 1,160 officers and 8,900 other ranks, employed mostly in clerical, administrative, cipher and signals duties in rear areas. The WAC(I) was the only women's military service in India and provided personnel to serve with the air force and navy, the latter being renamed the Women's Royal Indian Naval Service in March 1945 but remaining a part of the WAC(I). The WAC(I) cap badge consisted of a laurel wreath enclosing the letters "WAC" over "INDIA".

The creator of this volume may have been a member of the permanent staff of the WAC(I) Officer's School in New Delhi.

From: Deefholts, Margaret and Susan Deefholts, editors. Women of Anglo-India: Tales and Memoirs. New Jersey : CTR Publishing, Inc., 2010.

This collection is composed of one volume of photos taken in India by a member of the Women's Auxiliary Corps (India), WAC(I), in 1945. A majority of the photographs capture local sights, mostly in Dagshai, Delhi, and New Dehli. The volume also contains some hand drawn maps, post cards and newspaper clippings. The balance of the photographs are of women in the WAC(I) both in uniform and while touring various sights. The creator of the collection included many historical and contextual descriptions to accompany the photographs of temples, palaces and other subjects in her photos.

Some of the sights captured include The Red Fort in Dehli along with the Pearl Mosque, Pavillion of Justice and the Jama Masjid. In New Dehli, the creator photographed the Gateway to India and Qutab Minar. There are also photographs of the Gwalior Fort, including the slave girls' garden, Man Mandir palace and Saas-bahu temple. Photographs also chronicle a trip to Udaipur with the Jagannath Temple, Jag Mandir Palace and Lake Pichola.

Women Auxiliary Corps (India) members legibly named in the volume include: Rosemary Brooke, Molly Duncan, Valerie Eacott, Freni Irani, Betty Lister, Betty Ogilvy, and Sheila Stoner. Several photographs are labeled, "My Fanny." The creator of the volume is always referred to as "Self."

Researchers will find that the spelling of various towns and sights mentioned in the finding aid are the modern spelling and are not consistent with the spelling used in the actual volume of photographs.

Purchased, 2010.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Clémence Scouten
Finding Aid Date
2015 November 24
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
Photograph album, 1945.
Volume 1

Print, Suggest