Our Royal Patron at the WRNS100 launch

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.

You joined the Navy? Please join AOW!

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'!

HMS Caroline ex-Wrens' stories 1940-90's

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. 

New Remembrance Centre at NMA

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.

Busy broadcast week for WRNS100 & NMRN!

16th February

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.

WWI poster artist Joyce Dennys (VAD)

The VADs formed during a period of increasing tension prior to the First World War.

Volunteers from the Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance Brigade pledged to provide medical assistance in times of war and received basic first aid training.

For more stories of women who rule the waves, visit our exciting new exhibition, opening this Saturday, February 18th in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Penny Wright MBE

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.  

'Enigma' Wren wanted to be a Wren Driver

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.

Cmdt Anthea Larken CBE talks to the NMRN

National Museum of the Royal Navy

FB post 27.1.17

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.

WRNS100 Commemorative Stone - progress

Work on the WRNS100 commemorative stone is now well underway.

The photograph shows the Stonemason Robyn Golden-Hann and her assistant Maya Martin carving the female uniform hats.

WRNS100 FB post 23.1.17

WWII Wren Despatch Rider m'bike & launch

National Museum of the Royal Navy

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.

Cdr Jude Terry at sea for New Year OBE

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.

BBC Radio Wales first call for centenary

Roy Noble celebrates the centenary of the Wrens with the Public Relations Officer of the Association of Wrens - Celia Saywell MBE

BBC Radio Wales Sunday 08/01/2017 9.30 - 11am

Hopefully you can access the whole pogramme from this link.

The interview starts at about 43 mins and finishes at 57.

A very relaxed interview where I was encouraged to mention the history of the WRNS, AOW, WRNS100, Welsh Wrens links, my service and a significant music track.

2017 - 100th centenary of the W.R.N.S

This special centenary year (2017) will be celebrated by those who served in the Women's Royal Naval Service and those who have served or are currently serving in the Royal Navy.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy based at Portmouth Dockyard is commemorating the centenary with an exhibition entitled 'Pioneers to Professionals - Women and the Royal Navy',

The exhibition will open on 18th February until November 2017. The official launch ceremony will be held on Wednesday 8th March which is  International Women's Day.

Carol Service December 2016

The Wrens’ Church, St Mary le Strand, was packed for the Association of Wrens annual Carol Service on 10th December. The service was led by the Parish Priest, The Rev Philip Chester. Lessons were read by Pat Davies, Cdr Andrea Crook, Karen Elliott, CPO Aurora Allen and the Chairman, Carol Gibbon. All members of the congregation joined in singing the carols with great enthusiasm. After the service everyone enjoyed tea and mince pies in Chapters Restaurant in King’s College.

WRNS & RN women different demands in PR

Over the decades there have been huge changes in both the role of women in the Armed Forces, as well as in the media – but the rewards have not diminished.

Public relations specialists Chief Officer Pamela Williams WRNS and Lt Cdr Francesca Woodman RNR have almost 60 years of Naval Service between them. Over the decades there have been huge changes in both the role of women in the Armed Forces, as well as in the media – but the rewards have not diminished.

Pussers Rum 'Uckers' Championships 2016

The above competition took place Saturday 19 November, hosted by the Royal Naval Submarine Museum, Gosport.

On display for the event in the museum was a collection of trophies, past and present, dating back to 1944.  Uckers boards, provided by Uckers Ya Uckers were on show, and the final was played on a large board donated by HMS DAEDELUS, the RN Air Station that closed in 1996.

Remembrance 2016 - the Cenotaph Parade

Stephanie Higham from Deddington aged 96 (1941-46) 3/O WRNS ‘Y’ Station Linguist HMS Watchful, Gt Yarmouth, HMS Lynx, Dover, HMS Victory, HMS Orlando, Greenock, C in C Western Approaches, London, Plon HQ Schleswig-Holstein.
Please look at Stephanie’s story it would be irresponsible to write a summary of such a varied period of service. There is also photo of her and her faithful dog..

AOW members at Field of Remembrance

Members of the Association attended the Field of Remembrance ceremony on Thursday 10 November 2016

l to r Trustees Jan Abbotts, Kathy Carter, Chairman Carol Gibbon, Treasurer Rita Hoddinott, Vice President Mary Hawthornthwaite and member Katrina Breeze.

Carol was delighted to have the opportunity to be introduced to Prince Harry.

On Sunday there will be a contingent of 100 Association of Wrens members marching in the Whitehall Cenotaph Parade. There will also be individual members joining their affiliated groups on the Parade.