Fun and Friendship at Warwick!

The National Reunion brought over 250 members from Canada (2) USA (1) France (3) Spain (2) & the UK (including twelve Veteran WWII Wrens) to the Warwick Uni. Campus on 8th - 10th August 2014. The weekend had something for everyone, a Sales stall, coach trips to the National Memorial Arboretum or Warwick Castle, slide shows & archive films, displays & photo boards of Wrens and RN women from WW1 to the present day. We had quizzes, an auction & raffle, discos each night, and quiet areas for relaxing & reminiscing.

Wren artist at HMS Cabbala & Eaglet

On 8th July 2014 - a group of AOW members accepted an invitation for a conducted tour to see WWII Wren Gladys E.

MBE for popular member

The Association was thrilled when Mrs Celia Joan Mary Saywell was awarded the MBE in the Queen's  2013 birthday honours. The award recognises the  work that Celia has done for the Association over many years, especially in her role as Public Relations Officer.  Among her achievements Celia has been responsible for the Association's splendid website.  

It was very fitting was that the presentation was made by HRH the Princess Royal, the Patron of the Association.

Congratulations Celia.


Chrissie Hughes will still give us a wave!

Chrissie who until late July 2013 was the Assistant Secretary for AOW is still working in Semaphore Tower but our colleagues at the RNA will now have the benefit of her ready smile, helpful service, and probably her sponge cakes as well!

Chrissie joined the WRNS in 1986 as a Wren Writer, then L/Wren Regulator, local Acting MAA (RNSIB) and a final appointment to the RN Police at Portsmouth Provost HQ making a total of 25 years service! 

Carol cuts the York celebration cake

Carol Gibbon AOW Vice Chair cutting the York Branch 35th anniversary cake during the celebration weekend in May 2013 when once again the York Wrens' Anniversary Players (or as they are known, York Wrens Sods' Opera) excelled themselves. 

Imagine if you will, a ballet troupe wearing tutus and wellies, Rose Marie serenaded by her Mountie, a chorus line 7 soloists, flamboyant 'Morris' dancers, and a musical monologue 'I joined the Wrens' complete with 'medical', and a very pusser PO Wren.

WWII Veteran Stella Passey revisits the BOA War Rooms

BBC TV Manchester assistant director Peter Trollope met with a group of WWII veteran Association of Wrens members at their weekly Tea Dance club. The resulting programme introduced by Peter Sissons included Stella Passey reliving her daily journey from WRNS quarters to the War Office in Derby House where she worked in the Confidential Document Rooms.  Post-war Wren Margaret Wall who accompanied Stella to the location noticed that the two WRNS Officer models at Derby House doorway had ladders in their tights – not even stockings, brass buttons, and a blue killick anchor on one sleeve.

Deacon Heather Aston wears the WRNS crest

Heather Aston was ordained as Deacon on Friday 28th June in Truro Cathedral by Bishop Tim Thornton, and will serve in the benefice of Meneage. She was amongst the last course of sixteen WRNS Officers Under Training to Pass Out at the Royal Naval College Greenwich on 8 July 1976. 

Heather, who joined the WRNS in 1972, was presented with a gift of a green stole embroidered with the WRNS Crest from all the members of that course, and was delighted when she realised she could wear it on Sunday at her first Eucharist.

CWO1 Annette Penfold RNR honoured at Buckingham Palace

Annette pictured with her family at Buckingham Palace after being presented with her MBE award by HRH The Prince of Wales, in June 2013.  Annette was the first female Command Warrant Officer RNR and is well known for her role as Parade Marshall for the AOW contingent at the annual Cenotaph Parade.

Ex Wrens & RN women dine aboard HMS Victory

On 18 May members of the Solent Branch and two honoured guests, President Anthea Larken CBE and Chairman Mary Hawthornthwaite arrived for an evening of celebrations on board HMS Victory, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Branch. 

"How honoured we all felt that we were going to be dining on this very special ship with all of its history."

First Sea Lord meets the Wrens

The Battle of the Atlantic brought many RN people together including the First Sea Lord with post war Wren Margaret Wall & WWII Veterans Kathleen Roberts Stella Passey & Freda Speakman in Liverpool Cathedral. 

AOW was featured in the official programme, had a stall with WRNS BT, and several members starred in films and photo exhibitions.

Farewell to ‘our’ unique AOW secretary

The Semaphore Arms, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth was bursting at the seams with well-wishers for Mel’s farewell party in January 2014. 

Chairman Mary Hawthornthwaite presented Mel with a very generous gift from the AOW membership, and commented on how fortunate we were to have an RN CPO rtd onboard when the Association HQ moved into Semaphore Tower. 

Website Launches at HQ

The day has finally arrived when our new website launches. For all the latest news browse this site to find Branches near you and Events taking place round the country. There is a  link to the Women's Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust, a brief History of the WRNS, items about the Association of Wrens, recent News reports and Articles from Members. Enjoy!

Newcastle OOT

The Out Of Town meeting in the lively City of Newcastle, held on 17 May, enabled over 60 members usually unable to attend the AGM in London to hear about the achievements and plans of the Association and to meet with members from the local area. The President reported the sad news of the death of Mrs Nichol, nee Swallow, a former DWRNS and Vice President. She also outlined the plans for marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the WRNS which falls in 2017.

Standard Bearer Competition

Every two years we hold a competition for all standard bearers to decide who should be the next National Standard Bearer.  For the past two years this honour has been awarded to Elaine Smith from South Dorset Branch.  On Saturday 17th May 2014 we held the competition at HMS Collingwood in conjunction with the Royal Naval Association.  This was a new venture for the Association but it worked very well.  The facilities at Collingwood were excellent and for the first time it was held outside on the parade ground.  We were able to share resources and utilise RNA personnel to be

90th Anniversary celebrations 2010

A service of commemoration and rededication for the Association of Wrens was held in this, their 90th anniversary year, at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London, on Saturday 13th November 2010.

The service was attended by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, patron of the Association, and Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff.