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By Sheilah Graham

LONDON (By Air Mail)

THE youngest military general in the world is 32 years old, is English, is pretty, quiet-voiced, capable, and, incident nllv. is a woman.

General Jean Knox is Chief Controller of the A.T.S. — Auxiliary Territorial Service — and not only has the rank of General, but wears the same uniform as her male counterpart. Mrs. Knox, however, wears a skirt, and designed a new four-piece skirt to replace her predecessor's baggy bell-shaped number.

When I lunched with the General she ;aid: 'We were formed as an auxiliary o the army around Munich time in 1938. When war was declared we were LG.000 strong.' The A.T.S. now numbers 50,000, but 3eneral Knox aims to bring the strength if her feminine army to 200,000. Re ?ruiting is voluntary, but there may soon je some form of conscription. 'It is better to have volunteers,' Mrs. 5nox said. 'Voluntary soldiers, par Licularlv when they are women, do a Detter job. But the army needs 200,000 women, and y?e must get' them.' The age limit for women soldiers is from 17 J to 43, but the woman who want.

to join the army can whisper her age into the ear of the recruiting officer, who has sworn to keep it secret. Thus far women soldiers of Britain have not had to handle firearms— 'Although,' Mrs. Knox says, 'if we have to we will.-'- The women tommies are employed as cooks motor cyclists, laundry, tinsmith, and clerical workers and for all jobs that will relieve men - for active fighting, most of all for . ?

radio-iocation ana lor work on anti aircraft stations. - The women soldiers live in barracks and camps. Most of them are drawn from the section that in peace-time would work in a factory or an office. The wages they receive are two-thirds that paid to the men. Uniforms are supplied free. The army girls are allowed lipstick and other cosmetics in moderation. 'Discipline,' states Mrs. Knox, 'must he firm— It is the only way you can run any organisation. But we are not quite as strict as the men's army.' In pre-war days Mrs. Knox lived in Leicestershire and liked hunting. She has a 14-year-old daughter. 'But I have not seen her for six months. And my husband (an R.A.F. officer) I have not seen for 11 months. But there is so much to do it is perhaps just' as well that we are all away from our homes.'

Mrs. Jean Knox

Mrs. Jean Knox