The WRAC was formed on 1 February 1949 by Army Order 6 as the successor to the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) that had been founded in 1938. For much of its existence, its members performed administrative and other support tasks, but later they began to be attached to other corps, including the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers.
On 6 April 1992, the WRAC was disbanded and its members transferred to the appropriate corps of the army, signalling full integration of women into non-combat roles. Ironically perhaps, this was not greeted with enthusiasm by all members of the WRAC, particularly the more senior officers and NCOs, who felt that advancement would be more difficult if they had to compete on an equal basis with men. This was in some ways partly justified, since the post of Director WRAC, which carried the rank of Brigadier, was abolished and it was seven years before a woman, Brigadier Patricia Purves, again reached that rank. Officially, since a majority of its members had been administrative personnel, the WRAC amalgamated into the new Adjutant General's Corps.
Initially the WRAC retained the separate ATS ranking system. However, in March 1950 it switched entirely to Army rank titles, the first of the women's services to do so (the Women's Royal Air Force switched in 1968; the Women's Royal Naval Service retained separate ranks until its disbandment in 1993). The highest rank available to a serving officer was Brigadier, held by the Director WRAC, although the Controller-Commandant, a member of the Royal Family, held a higher honorary rank. Princess Mary held the post from 1949 to her death in 1965 (beginning as a Major-General and being promoted General on 23 November 1956) and the Duchess of Kent held it from 1967 to 1992 (with the rank of Major-General).
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