The team at IoT Insider was sorrowful to hear of the Queen Elizabeth II’s passing yesterday. This IoT Insider article celebrates the late-great Queen Elizabeth’s significant work in engineering.
Many may overlook the industrial work that Elizabeth II carried out in the decades past: at the age of 18, she carried out mechanical engineering work during World War II, having joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).
The ATS was formed in 1938 and saw the appointment of women to carry out vital efforts during WWII, such as delivery driving, shopkeeping, cooking, and hospital maintenance as orderlies. In fact, the growing demand for personnel at the time saw the list of roles grow in both size and complexity: according to the NAM (National Army Museum), by 1943, about 56,000 women were serving with anti-aircraft units (they were not allowed to operate the guns, however).
Queen Elizabeth II’s work during such an extraordinary time shows not only how much of a long and amazing life she has led throughout her 96 years, but also the dedication that she showed to her country. It was against the objections of her parents that Her Majesty joined the ATS, where she served as a military truck mechanic from February 1945 up until after the end of V-J (Victory over Japan) Day.
Today, the very name ‘Queen Elizabeth’ continues to carry significant weight in the engineering world itself: the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) is named after the efforts that she has made to the industry in war time. The QEPrize is awarded to members of the industry who have brought, to quote from the foundation’s About page, “groundbreaking innovation which is of global benefit to humanity”.
Queen Elizabeth lived through a time when women in engineering, and indeed, the world of industry itself, was uncharted territory. In fact, the very introduction of mechanical engineering for females was once seen as a phenomenon born only of necessity throughout World War 2. This is all the more reason to appreciate that Queen Elizabeth II’s long-running reign may forever be associated with women in tech.
Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy will live on in both engineering and so many other areas of life, and IoT Insider’s thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time of sorrow.