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They Can't Get on Without Us

A WWII poster urges British women to join the ATS, or Auxiliary Territorial Service, a"woman's army" formed in September 1938 to free as many men as possible for service on the front. The scene in the background suggests one of the Service's primary roles, that of acting as"spotters" for anti-aircraft guns. While the depiction of women in wartime offered by this poster differs greatly from that of the"Keep Mum" series, the imagery conceals one aspect of service in the ATS: the women received only two-thirds of the pay rate for male soldiers in the British Army.

External Link:

Source | "Dugdale" (Thomas Cantrell), "They can't get on without us," date unknown, pastel and gouache on paper, from "The Art of War," The National Archives (UK),
Creator | Dugdale (Thomas Cantrell)
Item Type | Poster/Print
Cite This document | Dugdale (Thomas Cantrell), “They Can't Get on Without Us,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed July 3, 2022,

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