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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 21:01 GMT 22:01 UK
Memorial marks World War II women
A service taking place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas
Andy DeComyn also sculpted the Shot at Dawn statue
A memorial to the role women played in World War II has been unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The seated figure of a young woman in Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) uniform was unveiled during a service at Alrewas in Staffordshire.

It is the first memorial to the ATS and has come about thanks to the work of two veterans, Margeret Rogers of Kent and Mary Beeston of Wolverhampton.

The pair commissioned sculptor Andy DeComyn after raising 10,000.

DeComyn previously designed the controversial "Shot at Dawn" memorial at the arboretum, which was unveiled in 2001.
I am glad to be able to provide the veterans with a place to remember their comrades
Andy DeComyn

He said: "I am very honoured to have been asked to sculpt the memorial and feel that it is so long overdue.

"I am glad to be able to provide the veterans with a place to remember their comrades."

The Women's ATS was officially launched in 1938 and after the outbreak of war a year later 300 ATS members were sent to France.

As more men were sent to the front lines, the ATS membership rapidly increased and by the end of the war there were 190,000 members.

During this time women, who were not allowed to fight in battle, served as office, mess and telephone orderlies, drivers, postal workers and ammunition inspectors.

Their roles extended to include radar operators, military police, gun crews and many other operational support tasks.

The service on Saturday will be attended by male and female veterans and re-enactors highlighting the roles women played in the war.

There will also be a display of military vehicles, a 90cm searchlight and a military pipes and drum band.


SEE ALSO
'Unique' event for war veterans
29 Apr 06 |  Staffordshire
Memorial honours servicemen
29 Jun 03 |  Staffordshire
Tribute to WWI 'cowards'
21 Jun 01 |  UK News

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