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.

Royal Navy women break the record!

HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH on Twitter From AB to Cdr, here are 9 of our 83 females which is 13% of the ship's company a current @RoyalNavy record. 3 are original @wrns100

Photo credit UK Defence Journal.

WWII Wrens beat the Saturday shoppers!

AOW members and guests enjoyed the 2016 AGM held at the Union Jack Club on 24 September 2016. The Association, and WRNS100 'memento' stalls both did very good business and we were pleased to be given a generous donation of 'Homeport', the NFF magazine. Members enjoyed meeting friends during the afternoon, some of whom had decided to 'stopover' and have a mini-reunion..

Capt. Ellie Ablett C.O. for HMS Raleigh

New Commanding Officer for HMS Raleigh

A guard of honour made up of trainee sailors has welcomed a new Commanding Officer to HMS Raleigh. Captain (Capt) Ellie Ablett has relieved Capt Rob Bellfield to become the first woman in Command of the Royal Navy’s largest training base in the South West.

Capt Ablett joined the Royal Navy in 1993, in the first wave of women to join a fully integrated service on the closure of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. She comes to HMS Raleigh direct from an appointment in Whitehall as the Executive Assistant to the First Sea Lord.

WWII Wren honoured for D Day planning

A blind war veteran has been awarded France's highest military honour for her part in liberating the country during the Second World War.

Fanny Hugill, 93, from Fairford, Gloucestershire, was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur. She was in Admiral Bill Tennant's team that planned the Normandy landings in 1944. .

"We did know how momentous a day it was but of course all the planning had been done so no one was nervous," she said. "We all had a job to do."  Ms Hugill said she was "very, very honoured" to have been recognised.

HMS NELSON WO & SR's Mess Dinner event

A Mess dinner was held on 7 September in WO & SR’s Mess at HMS celebrate the renaming of the Family Service Specialisation to Royal Navy Welfare.

Royal Navy Welfare covers the whole world where there are serving RN personnel. Our main offices are based in Nelson, Drake, Yeovil and Helensburgh, with satellite offices in 45 Cdo, Rosyth, Liverpool, Birmingham, Northwood, Poole, Sultan, Collingwood, Gibraltar, CTCRM, Stonehouse and 40 Cdo.