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.
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.