RN website 09/03/2017
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.”
The guests were escorted on board HMS Dauntless by women serving in the Royal Navy and greeted by the Ship’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander James Fickling RN.
HMS Dauntless holds a special place in the hearts of all women who served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.
The ship carries forward the name of the former WRNS training establishment, HMS Dauntless in Burghfield, near Reading, which was decommissioned in 1981, when all initial naval training transferred to HMS Raleigh in Torpoint.
In 1993 the Separate Women’s Royal Naval Service disbanded when women became fully integrated into the Royal Navy.
Amongst the veterans visiting was former Leading Wren Radio Operator Melissa Thompson (47) who had served in the WRNS from 1989 and transferred into the RN before retiring from service in 1995. Melissa has donated a number of WRNS items to the displays in the exhibition. She was one of the first Wrens to go to sea.
There were also several men visiting the ship, two brothers whose mother served as a Dispatch rider between1943-1945 taking important naval signals between Cardiff Docks and London on her motorbike.
After the tour of HMS Dauntless the group of veterans attended the Royal opening of the Women and the Navy exhibition and the official launch of WRNS100.