The Biennial Standard Bearers Competition took place this year at HMS Collingwood on Saturday 7th May 2016. Once again it was organised and executed by Andy Christie and the Royal Naval Association who not only did a great job in the planning of this event but were also extremely supportive of our Association. We had five competitors all of whom had competed in previous competitions but for some it was a long time ago. There were eight competitors for the RNA who represented the various areas.
On the 24th April 1946, the Edinburgh and District Branch of the Association of Wrens was formed. Seventy years to the day the anniversary was celebrated with a service at Canongate Kirk, the Kirk of Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle followed by a reception at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel attended by Anthea Larken CBE, National President, Carol Gibbon, National Chairman and Captain Chris Smith RN, Naval Regional Commander Scotland & NI.
Today, 91 year old former Leading WRNS Armourer, Margaret Moorcraft visited us with a special purpose in mind, to see the rebuild of the world’s last remaining Fairey Barracuda Torpedo bomber. Why?.... because 73 years ago she was working on Barracuda Aircraft and has not seen one since leaving the Navy at the end of Second World War.
For speed and convenience, you may now renew your membership on-line. It's really simple. Go to the renewals page, have your membership number handy, select your membership type, and after filling out the short form, you can pay with your credit card.
Membership runs from 1st April until 31st March so please try to renew before the end of April, although you can renew at any time. If you don't want to renew on-line, there's a form in the Spring issue of every magazine
Flight Commander Lieutenant Serena Davidson , from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, has been awarded a commendation for her work in the Gulf.
Lieutenant Davidson, the Flight Commander of Palembang Flight of 849 Naval Air Squadron was presented with her Commander Joint Operations (CJO) Commendation by the New Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Ben Key CBE.
HM Frigate Unicorn Museum, Dundee opening hours and lecture date.
A permanent exhibition including WRNS material is opening at HM Frigate UNICORN, DUNDEE, from March 3rd Thurs -Sun, 12pm to 4pm (concessions). There will also be a lecture entitled 'WRNS on the UNICORN - A Personal Voyage' on Wed 9th March 7pm £5 entry. Contact 01382 200900. Supported by local Veteran WWII AOW members.
AOW Writing Workshop at Greenwich 20th January 2016
For those who may not wish to parade, or attend meetings or reunions, this alternative AOW event proved to be very successful and may well result in future submissions to The Wren, articles for specialist publications, memoirs prepared for archives, family history, and perhaps even a ‘best seller’!
An excellent dinner and party followed the annual Carol Service at St Mary le Strand, the Wrens' Church. We may have lost a few to the skating rink at Somerset House en route but by 7pm one hundred members (AOW admin staff, and members' carers) met in the Gascoine Suite at the UJC. The monies raised from splendid raffle prizes and unique auction items will be shared between AOW and the WRNS BT. Thank you to those who prepared and persuaded!
The annual AOW Carol Service at St Mary le Strand was held on 12th December 2015 and once again proved to be a great success with standing room only for the many members and ex service attendees. The Officiant for the Service was The Reverend Philip Chester, Parish Priest of St Mary le Strand. The service included traditional Christmas hymns together with selected items sung by the choir, led by the Director of Music, Colin Spinks. Following the service we adjourned to the Kings' College building opposite, where tea, coffee and mince pies were served.
The ladies of London Branch lunched in style at the Victory Services Club for their 70th anniversary on 23.11.15. A very happy occasion despite the fact that it would be the last formal meeting for the Branch; the good news being that they intend to continue with the same camaraderie and support for each other as an Informal Group. AOW President Anthea Larken CBE congratulated the Branch for their loyalty to the WRNS and the Association, and Branch President Dorothy Rickards remembered highlights from past events.
Another successful Dauntless Reunion was held at Hayling Island weekend of Oct 30th - 2nd Nov. .Read about what happened including fundraising activities, tributes to WWII Veterans and fun & friendship on www.dauntlesswrens.co.uk.
On the 3rd and 4th October 2015 the Portsmouth Branch celebrated their 70th Anniversary; the very first meeting was held on the 3rd of October 1945. The Branch and guests enjoyed a champagne afternoon tea with entertainment on the Saturday afternoon. Sunday began with a service in St Ann's Church in H.M. Dockyard and was followed by lunch, again with entertainment, in the Wardroom at HMS Nelson.
More of this story will be included in the Feb/March 2016 The Wren magazine.
The Association of Wrens maintains a constant watch and interest re the current role of women in the Royal Navy. We have many serving RN female personnel as members including long standing supporter Lt Cdr Heather Lane RNR, Military Media Operations Officer, Joint & International Operations. At our recent AGM, Heather gave an inspiring presentation detailing her WRNS/RN/RNR career to date, and a brief glimpse of exciting and demanding projects to follow.
Our National Standard Bearer Elaine Smith, together with Branch S.B.’s from Portsmouth Val Gleave, Rhyl Sue Duncan, and Cheltenham Chris Walker, not forgetting AOW member Marie Taylor carrying for York RNA, attended the RNA Biennial Parade on 6th September. A small group from AOW marched in support; Ann McCann, Julie Soper, Laura Vincent, Ronnie Cobby, Ann Gibson, & Celia Saywell; they were cheered on by Anne Marks. The Minister for the Armed Forces, Penny Mordaunt, acting Sub Lieutenant RNR, was introduced by VAdm.
A large gathering, including our President Commandant Anthea Larken CBE, host Branch members and a couple of very useful daughters, met together to celebrate Swindon Branch 30th anniversary. We had a most enjoyable afternoon tea, generous raffle, inspiring speeches, and a poem written for the occasion by Una Rankin. Representatives from the following Branches attended Portsmouth, S Dorset, Swansea, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Guildford, Kingston, Oxford and several individual members.
From AOW FB page posted by Andrea Wrigley - On the 3rd September members of Ruislip and Kingston Branches attended the 95th Anniversary of the Not Forgotten Association at Greenwich. We were treated to a wonderful afternoon and evening. Transport collected us from the Union Jack Club and took us to Greenwich where we attended a service of thanksgiving in the Chapel. Then we all went outside to watch the Coldstream Guards beat Retreat. It was then a short walk over to the Painted Hall for a concert and supper.