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The complete ATS Physical Training kit

Article about: What are those breast badges being worn?

  1. #11

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Hiya, Ade has done me some pics.

    Here we have in my opinion one of the star items of my collection. The ATS track suit. These were issued only to ATS PT instructors so there were not that many made. I know of only three of these in collections today including one which is held by the National Army Museum that once belong to HM Princess Elizabeth (Our Queen today). The Princess was not actually an instructor but I guess being Heir to the Throne had it little perks! This item again is not shown in the referenece book on the ATS.


    This example of mine is unique. It was kept as a "Sealed Pattern". Sealed Patterns were the master item from which all other subsequent items made had to confirm in design and material. This wartime track suit formed the model for the 1953 pattern Women Royal Army Corps track suit. You can see the swatches of material and labels which are attached to the suit by string which is held in place by a wax seal. I have yet to find a single example of this 1953 version in WRAC green material.

    The track suit is a two piece item, with a top and bottoms. The material is very modern in appearance and feel. It has a slightly stretchy nature and has a fleece type feel to the inside. The colour is the usual chocolate brown corps colour.

    Both the top and bottoms were made by the same manufacturer: "Gymphlex" Graham & Merritt Ltd, Leicester. All exmples I have seen were made by this maker, who possibly made the whole contract?

    Both garments are dated 1942.

    I will show the track suit top first.

    Cheers, Lez.
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  2. #12

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Here are the track suit bottoms.
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  3. #13

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Finally here is a period photo of the track suit in wear. Photos of them are also hard to find. This one was taken in 1944 at the ATS PTI school at Aldershot. As you can see, rank was worn on the arms. Photo care of this site:

    The Works of Freda Mead

    I also have a pic of several PTI's wearing them on a large panoramic group photo while all the other girls are wearing service dress.

    Cheers, Lez.
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  4. #14

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Wow, I had never even heard of the track suit before now!

    Fantastic items

    Rob

  5. #15

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Super items, thanks for showing. It's interesting to note that all of these pieces are of such high quality, given they were made during the war. I remember you saying in one of your other threads that many of the women in the ATS were from wealthier families, maybe that's one reason for the "stylish high quality" construction. The tag with the wax seal is over the top cool.

    Jay

  6. #16

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Hi Rob, glad that you like it.

    Hi Jay, it is nicely made. A collector friend was visting and saw the tracksuit top and honestly thought it was a modern garment. It was only when we unfolded it that he realised it was WW2 in date.

    It was the FANY & the MTC who were "well to do". In fact, the ATS was made up of mainly working class girls. It was only the Officers who tended to come from the more middle class backgrounds having a higher education.

    Cheers, Lez.

  7. #17

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Quote by larissa View Post
    I also have a pic of several PTI's wearing them on a large panoramic group photo while all the other girls are wearing service dress.
    Here are the girls from this photo. Taken at Pirbright.

    Cheers, Lez.
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  8. #18

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    I notice quite a variation in shade of the track suits in the photo's. Several white collars can be seen too. Do you know what garments they are?

    We've recently obtained a divided skirt made by Gymphlex in '42 and the label is the identical format to the one in your tracksuit bottoms.

  9. #19

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Missed this great thread Lez ! There were not that many girls at Pirbright when I was there in the late 70's sadly

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  10. #20

    Default Re: The complete ATS Physical Training kit

    Hi Unionjack, we think all the shirts worn under the track suit in this photo are civvy items. There are white and coloured shirts being worn. We think some of the instructors came straight from the playing fields to have the picture taken. We like the girl with the PTI badge and Sgt's stripes on her track suit.

    Please add your divided skirt to the thread if you wish.

    Hi Nick, glad you liked it.

    Cheers, Lez.

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