The ATS within the Garrison make up the main part of the Ack-Ack Section of the Garrison Living History Group. They are a group of volunteer female historians whose passion is the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) of the Second World War.
The girls concentrate their efforts on portraying 301 Bty, 93rd (Mixed) Searchlight Regiment RA (TA) which was part of Ack-Ack Command. This regiment was famous at the time for being the only all female regiment in the history of the British Army. The Girls have one 150cm and two 90cm Searchlights privately owned within the group, which they often get the chance to train on and use.
The ATS also spend time depicting the Searchlight Operations room of 48th Searchlight Regiment RA in 1941 which had the job of working with Royal Navy and RAF in defending the Portsmouth Southampton Gun defended Area. Whilst these are the mainstay of the group, the girls also portray Cooks, Clerks, and engineers — in fact, any role undertaken by the ATS during WW2.
The Garrison's main HQ is in the historic Tilbury Fort, Essex. However, members come from all over the UK with the Ack-Ack and searchlight section based mainly in the West Country around Bristol and Larkhill, Wiltshire.
The main aim of the ATS is to promote awareness of the part women played in the events of the Second World War, a period important in our nation's history. They also educate the public in the role of the Auxiliary Territorial Service in war and in peace. The members work hard to create a high standard of historical correctness and try to do justice to those who served their country -- especially those who lost their lives -- without glorifying war.
The ATS Section feels it is important to keep alive the memory of the servicewomen who fought in the Second World War. They portray every aspect of the time, from the uniform an ordinary soldier wore to her equipment and military life. This allows members to gain some understanding of the friendships, discipline, hardship and life changing experiences service personnel had in the six years of the war. We do have a strong social and learning side to our programme each year, meeting veterans who reminisce about life in the services, giving talks at museums and historical sites or to groups and schools
The ATS has done many events to be proud of from Veterans events for the ATS including a reunion of the 93rd Searchlight Regiment on the 60th Anniversary of their Disbandment, a display in the the Living Museum in St. James Park through to supporting the Veterans of Malta with their anniversary event (just a few of those special events more of which you can see in the past event section). The Girls spend many hours researching the wartime history of the ATS. There are also a number of keen collectors of militaria in the Section. Every re-enactor has a collection of something no matter what period they do.
Do you want to join the ATS Section? Look at the
Do you want to see the Girls in action? Look at the events diary!
Do you want to learn more about the ATS and the equipment they use? Look at the history and equipment sections!
The Garrison is a non-profit-making organisation governed by a Constitution and a set of membership rules. Join us and help recreate the past for the benefit and education of all our audiences!