Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps Mechanics in the Engine Repair Shop, Rouen Area - worker Weston in foreground by Beatrice Ethel Lithiby
A Return to Service
As the Second World War loomed, in September 1938 Gwynne-Vaughan was appointed as Director of the newly formed Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army, a position she held until her retirement from military service in 1941.
At the outbreak of war around 300 ATS members were billeted to France, and at the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940 some ATS telephonists were among the last British personnel to leave the country. By September 1941 Gwynne-Jones oversaw an organisation of 65,000 women aged between 17-43, performing duties ranging from post workers and drivers to ammunition inspectors.
After 1941, Gwynne-Jones returned to Birkbeck, where she taught until her retirement in 1944. She passed away in 1967 at the age of 88, recognised as a leading light in the realms of academia and military service.
Her blue plaque, part of a scheme celebrating notable figures from history through the architecture linked to their lives, is placed on the building on Bedford Avenue in Bloomsbury in which she lived for nearly 50 years. In that home, she was appointed to her high-standing military posts, as well as being awarded her professorial chair at Birkbeck College.
In order to increase the representation of women in blue plaques, English Heritage are looking for further nominations. You can find more information here.