JANE McAulay was the only one of three Glasgow sisters to join the army.

Back home in Springburn, however, her two younger siblings, Ellen and Theresa, did their bit for the war effort.

“My mum and Ellen both worked in the sewing industry, so they had to help during the war at home,” says Theresa’s daughter Ann Dalgleish.

“But Jane was the only one to join the ATS – and what happened to her was very, very sad.”

Glasgow Times: Jane, centre, with Ellen, left and TheresaJane, centre, with Ellen, left and Theresa (Image: Ann Dalgleish)

Jane was one of 26 servicewomen killed 80 years ago when the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on their quarters in Great Yarmouth.

It happened on the morning of May 11, 1943, and it was the biggest loss of female army life in British history.

Only one woman survived, and the youngest killed, Private Lilian Grimmer, was just 18 years old.

The Women’s Royal Army Corps Association (WRAC Association) organised the first coordinated event to remember and honour the 26 women who died whilst serving in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service, which became the WRAC in 1949.)

Nearly 350,000 women served in the ATS, which operated as the women’s branch of the British Army between 1938 and 1949.

The main Act of Commemoration took place in Great Yarmouth at the site of the original ATS accommodation in which the women were killed. Events also took place at the Bank of England, where Corporal Enid Line worked prior to joining the ATS. Enid was just 23 years old when she died.

Scottish commemorations also took place in Aberdeen for Private Elizabeth Mackay, who died aged 27; in Edinburgh, to honour Private Jean Scougall, 21; and in Stornoway, for Lt Corporal Anna Macleod, 23.

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Paula Rogers, CEO, Women’s Royal Army Corps Association, said: “We must remember the sacrifice made by these women, killed while serving their country. The WRAC Association charity continues to work in honour of our servicewomen, alive and deceased, ensuring that none are forgotten.”

At the Knightswood Veterans’ Monument, as a piper played the lament, local volunteers added a plaque in Jane’s memory to a memorial bench. The plaque was made by Scotland’s Bravest, a veterans’ factory at Erskine Homes.

Councillor Patricia Ferguson, representing the Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant, plus dignitaries from the Merchants House and Trades House joined Ann and her husband Joe at the special service on Sunday.

“It was really lovely, and we are very grateful to organiser Dr Joyce Steele for doing such a brilliant job,” said Ann. “She chose Knightswood because Springburn has no similar memorial garden.”

Jane was born in 1912,  and she was 31 when she was killed in the bombing. She had never married and had no children.

“Back then, families didn’t talk much about these things, they just got on with it,” says Ann, who lives in Broomhill. “I wish I had asked more questions, there are so many gaps in the story. But it was lovely to be able to pay tribute to her in this way. It was a special day.”

For more details visit the We Will Remember Her campaign website.