up in whirlwind romances during the war.
She said: “Everyone seemed to be living in the moment and a decision was made very quickly. I can remember one of our girls going to meet her husband coming back from India after being away for two years. She was in a panic because she just couldn’t remember what he looked like and she had to meet him at Euston Station.”
In August 1943, the band embarked on their first tour to Northern Ireland, performing concerts from Belfast to Lisburn to troops in the evening and in public parades throughout the day.
Sometimes they treated neighbourhoods to impromptu performances in their free evenings and to workers in munitions factories.
The women were given a welcome wherever they went. They toured the country, usually in three-week blocks, once performing in a parade at Windsor Castle with a salute from King George VI. They played at displays in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool, where they stayed with local families or were billeted in a large hall.
Members of the Women’s Voluntary Service would do their cooking and laundry.
The band travelled to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Elgin, Perth and Inverness.
Dorothy has kept the most incredible scrapbook of her time in the ATS and some of the photos were lovingly restored for the exhibition by Rutherglen historian Carol Foreman.
The exhibition at Rutherglen Library, pulled together by heritage librarian, Zen Boyd, is a remarkable insight into one aspect of women’s tireless contribution to the war effort.
Wherever the women went, they created a wonderful spectacle. They were greeted with rapturous cheers when, in October 1944, they played to a crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium.
In May 1945, the war was over in Europe, but the band carried on and in June 1946, performed at the British Army Exhibition in Grand Palais, Paris.
One French reader wrote a tribute to the women which was published in a newspaper.
Comparing them to “Pied Pipers”, he wrote: “Not a person in the crowd is anything other than captivated by this music. Its brightness, its lightness, its rhythm, as well as the proud bearing of the pipers in their charming Scottish dress.”