Women's Auto-mobile Corps (VAC) Uniform
From the collection of the Bronbeek Museum, Arnhem
h 150 cm x w 55 cm
Prior to the Second World War, Japan conquered both Korea and Taiwan (Formosa) and a part of China. The initial aim of expanding Japanese territory changed into efforts to establish a great Asian Empire.
By the end of 1940, the Japanese threat to the Dutch East Indies had increased dramatically. In preparation for imminent war, in Batavia at the end of 1940, Maria Lulof-Mehrengs decided to set up the Vrouwen Automobiel Corps or VAC (Women’s Automobile Corps). General Motors trained female volunteers as truck drivers to transport troops and equipment in lorries. The VAC was a huge success. Within a year it had 400 members and twelve divisions spread across the island of Java. This jumpsuit, the official uniform of the VAC, was worn by volunteer Van Meir-Eskes. Shortly before the 1942 surrender of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL), the corps was disbanded.