Penny Melville-Brown OBE was a WRNS officer before blindness ended her career. Penny is looking to see if she can get help with PR exposure for her efforts to get blind people from around the world cooking.
Veteran servicewomen from the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and several families of former WW2 Wrens personnel visited the Type 45 Air Defence destroyer HMS Dauntless in Portsmouth Naval Base prior to the launch of the WRNS100 Centenary Year.
The tour of the warship was an added bonus for the ladies and the families who had travelled to Portsmouth for the official opening by HRH The Princess Royal of the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s latest exhibition called ”Pioneers to Professionals – Women and the Navy.”
On Sunday 12 March 2017, the first Sunday after the official launch of WRNS100, a group from the Project Team joined the congregation of St Peter’s Church, Frimley, Surrey for their morning service to commemorate Dame Katharine Furse’s role as founding Director of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. We were made most welcome by the congregation; it was explained why we were there and the vicar, Canon Stuart Thomas, wove Dame Katharine’s life and character into the sermon, focusing particularly on the words ‘God gave her hills to climb and strength to climb them’ which are carved on her grave.
HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the exhibition ‘Pioneers to Professionals: Women and the Royal Navy’ exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard on the afternoon of 8 March 2017, officially launching the WRNS100 centenary celebrations.
The exhibition opening was attended by current serving Royal Navy personnel, WRNS veterans, including members of the WRNS100 Project Team and museum officials who were introduced to The Princess Royal as she toured the exhibition.
There will be many formal photos and accounts of the WRNS100 launch at the NMRN on International Women's Day at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
This group shot seems to sum up the spirit of the day when the PRO of the Association of Wrens, Celia Saywell met some of today's women of the Royal Navy, including ratings, Jankey, Sharon, Alice, Karen, Natalie & Heather who were delighted with their 'freebie bugs'!
Sixteen women from Belfast and Northern Ireland are to feature in a new HLF funded documentary which explores their roles in the Royal Navy from the 1940s to the 1990s. The film, produced by the HMS Caroline’s curatorial and community engagement teams, will be one of the first recorded oral histories to be collected for an archive being established by the ship’s owners, the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
I was very privileged to be asked to attend the preview of the new centre at the National Memorial Arboretum on behalf of the Association. There are interactive displays, computers to find and print out where to find a particular memorial or name, an impressive new information desk, shop and restaurant. At the back of the reception are photographs, a film about the Arboretum and a wonderful carpet to walk on that changes from grass to leaves to poppies as you walk through it. This was a memorable experience to walk and watch all the changes.
WW2 Wren 90yr old Win Price seen here being filmed by the BBC TV film crew on the occasion of the opening of the Pioneers to Professionals - women and the Royal Navy exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy at HM Naval Base Portsmouth.
With regret we report the sad passing of Penny Wright MBE who died peacefully in the presence of family members, on 15th January 2017.
Penny joined the Wrens in September 1958 as a Radio Mechanic reaching Petty Officer rank in 1964, before being appointed 3/0 Air Radio WRNS, then promoted to 2/0 including ‘Schoolie’ duties, before leaving the service in June 1969. Ships served included HMS Ariel, Fulmar, Heron, Goldcrest & Daedalus. Penny represented the WRNS at Shooting & Fencing, and was a RN Saddle Club enthusiast.
A veteran of the Royal Navy and code-breaking centre Bletchley Park during World War Two has been awarded the Service Medal. Pug (Patience) Whitwell, 91, of South Molton, in North Devon, was presented with the medal by Commodore Jamie Miller, the Royal Naval Regional Commander (Wales and Western England) at a ceremony at her nursing home surrounded by friends, family and staff.
The award has come very late in her life, long after she left the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRN or Wrens), because she was put off applying for it decades earlier by perceived bureaucracy.
"WOMEN of the WAVES” will be aired tomorrow afternoon Sat 28th Jan from 1.30pm – 2pm UKT on Forces Radio BFBS and then again on Sunday 29th Jan from 7pm – 730pm UKT. Then from late next week it will be on the listen again service.
To listen on line go to www.bfbs.com/radio. You might just recognise some voices from the WRNS and RN today! Thanks to Helen Reilly and BFBS for all their research and hard work.
Anthea Larken joined the WRNS in 1956. During her early career she held a wide range of posts, including as Range Assessor and Photographic Interpreter. During her career she saw the WRNS go through many significant changes and was directly involved in a number of developments.
She was appointed Director WRNS 1988 – 1991. It was during this period that the WRNS went through one of its most significant changes. In October 1990 the first women joined the crew of a Royal Naval warship, HMS Brilliant.
Joan Burns was a WRNS despatch rider in the Second World War. Despatch riders had the important task of delivering urgent orders and messages between headquarters and units. The women had not only to be able to ride but to be able to maintain their own bikes. They often worked long hours through adverse weather conditions.
Joan made her first uniform by dyeing her jodhpurs navy blue and blacking her riding boots.
At Sea for OBE
HMS Ocean’s Commander Logistics, Commander Jude Terry, was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2017. The news of the award arrived while she was deployed in The Gulf on her second tour in HMS Ocean whilst supporting operations for Commander Task Force 50 (CTF50).
The award of the OBE was in recognition for her work in the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ), Northwood, during the period in which UK forces were redeployed from Helmand and whilst employed as the Military Assistant to the Chief of Joint Operations.