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.
From Andrea Wrigley. I had a wonderful day at the VJ commemorations, supporting Jonni Berfield, Wren Coder Veteran of Columbo and Trincomalee. We were well looked after by the Royal British Legion, with refreshments before the event on Horseguards, some very helpful ushers and perfect view of the service.
How wonderful to see our AOW National Standard Bearer, Elaine Smith at the VJ 70 Parade on 15th August 2015 (4th in the contingent).. Elaine is a member of the South Dorset Branch. She will be parading again with hopefully many members of AOW and Branch Standards at the RNA Biennial Parade on Sunday 6th September - no tickets required. Further details on the Notice Board, or contact HQ.
Lieutenant Wendy Frame RN, who was one of the first people to arrive in a country devastated by a typhoon and repaired vital water wells and electricity hubs, has been presented with an MBE by HRH the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle.
Lt Frame was HMS Daring’s Deputy Marine Engineering Officer in 2013, and was on board when the ship was sent to the Philippines in November that year to assist with the crisis.
One more R.N. Field Gun crew story and one more triumph for the R.N. women - Hannah Canning says "I skippered HMS Sultans B Field Gun crew through the season and we came home with Silverware for the cleanest crew with no penalties." Congratulations BZ!
WO1 Natasha Pulley from Camborne is set to become the first female to lead a crew at the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Field Gun Competition. She is is the ‘Number One’ trainer for HMS Raleigh’s Field Gun crew. Under her instruction the crew of 20 have been training hard in their spare time since April, practising their track drills and fitness.
Their hard work and determination will be tested at the annual competition held at HMS Collingwood, in Portsmouth, when they will compete against 25 teams from across the Armed Forces for the much coveted Brickwoods Trophy.
Over 125 former Wrens flocked to the Swordfish Conference Centre at the Fleet Air Museum, Yeovilton on Saturday 16th May for the Association Annual Out of Town meeting. Every attendee was given a free day pass to the Museum where the staff were able to direct many of them to the aircraft they had worked on or with during their time in the Service.
At last the messages received from overseas re ANZAC Day via Wrens FB Group have been collated.
ANZAC was the term given to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula early on the morning of 25 April 1915 during the First World War. ANZAC Day, held on 25 April each year, is a solemn day of remembrance, gratitude and national pride.
We were so thrilled to see our WWII Wren Veterans included in the BBC footage of the V.E.70 weekend events including several filmed interviews which were either conducted on the day, or previously at home.
On Friday Irene Peck, Elsie Vickers, Stella Godden, Jonni Berfield & Dorothy Rickards found themselves in the V.I.P. seating for the Cenotaph Service, followed by an invitation to the reception in the Foreign Office.
Swansea Branch members Penny Taylor & Celia Saywell attended a windswept coastal event for the lighting of the V.E.DAY 70 Beacon in the company of local dignitaries and military representatives. Good to see two members of the Swansea University Royal Naval Unit there and spread the word!
The Chairman Carol Gibbon represented the Association at the service commemorating the Battle of Coronel and the Falklands 100th Anniversary held at St. Martin-in-the-fields on 8th December 2014. She laid a wreath on behalf of the Association.
Over 160 members gathered at our wonderful Wrens' church - St Mary Le Strand on Saturday 8th December for the annual Carol Service. The Officiant for the service was The Reverend Scott Brown CBE QHC RN, chaplain of the Fleet. At the begininning of his address he mentioned that officiating at our 90th celebrations in 2010, at St Martins-in-the Fieds was in the first month of his appointment and now during his last month of the four year period he was very pleased to meet with the Association of Wrens again!
What an evening!! This annual event was held for the first time in the Union Jack Club. Seventy two members, including a few guests, sat down to an outstanding meal, served by cheerful and helpful staff - who hope that we will come back again next year, despite the ever increasing decibel level as friends and colleagues enjoyed being together! The tables were laid with crackers and Happy Christmas confetti in the Gascoigne Suite, which was bedecked with holly wreaths and a beautiful Christmas tree. The setting was lovely, the friendships evident and the laughter resounding and the wine
The AOW contingent at the Cenotaph Parade was led by WO1 Barbara McGregor R.N., who joined the W.R.N.S. in 1977, transferred to the R.N. in 1993, and is currently the Regional Development Manager (Operations) Naval Regional Headquarters Wales and Western England. Barbara can occasionally be found visiting the Swansea Branch of AOW.
At the first Association AGM to be held at the Union Jack Club, on 25th October 2014, we were delighted to welcome Dame Marion Kettlewell, Senior Vice President, who celebrated her 100th birthday, earlier this year. Many members had travelled from various areas to the AGM to hear Anthea Larken CBE, AOW President's tribute to Mary Hawthornthwaite, retiring Chairman, in appreciation of her worthy service to the Association over the past three years. The new Chairman, Carol Gibbon, elected at the recent Trustees meeting was named and the handover of the offical Badge of Office took place.