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Lisa Farthing shares her 2012 Olympic Opportunity memories | Bletchley Park Veterans meet
Abbie Gadd looking for Apaches | Falklands anniversary – Welcome Home!
Falkland Island Memories 1986 | First L/Wren for the Tech Office HMS Brilliant
"I joined Danae 20, aged 20, on May 15 1989 at Dauntless Block, HMS Raleigh as a baby WWtr.
I stayed at Raleigh in Ceres Squadron for Part III Wtr Training before going to Flag Officer Plymouth for my first Part IV draft and CTCRM Lympstone (in the Imprest) for my second.
I remained at CTCRM in NCOTW for my first 'proper' draft, from where I did my Leading Rates Leadership Course at Royal Arthur, before marrying in Aug '92 and heading out to JSIS - HMS Tamar (Hong Kong) at the end of the same year. I spent a wonderful 18 months out there, despite it being a married unaccompanied draft and had wonderful holidays with my husband and fellow Wrens whilst there - Thailand, Philippines, Macau! From there I headed back to HMS Drake as a LWWtr, then passed for POWWtr. I left on 18 months notice, with a TX date of 12 September 96, however I was in hospital at the time, having had our daughter on the 5th!
I've always enjoyed entering competitions, and have been quite successful, from small prizes to large; 4 door/6hob oven, a mountain bike, and a camping holiday to southern France, etc.
A few years ago a group of friends in the South West set up an informal Wrens Association in Exmouth." - Ally Thackray Treasurer Exmouth Wrens Association Informal Group
"The Royal Navy gave everyone the opportunity to apply to be part of the Victory Ceremonies teams if you had represented the service at Sport or for charity work or have distinguished medals.
I completed an application due to my constant involvement with sport over the entire career.
In March 2012 I was informed I had been selected to be part of the Victory Ceremonies Team for Football at Wembley Stadium and Canoe Slalom at Lee Valley White Water Centre. I was extremely excited to hear the news and just had a great feeling it was going to be an amazing experience. I was not disappointed at all!
I was part of Team Victor which consisted of 1 officer, 3 senior rates and 4 junior rates, we remained at a team for the entire 3 weeks and what a great team we were. We were lucky enough to have been accommodated at the Hyde Park Barracks with the household cavalry, again another remarkable experience watching the household cavalry do their daily work preparing the horses for their next major royal event. The location of the accommodation could not have been any better, with the big screen experience across the road and more "entertainment" only a tube stop away. I was also lucky enough to experience the Opening Ceremony, Aquatic centre, Beach Volleyball and an evening of Athletics ( Don't ask how)!
My whole "Olympic Experience" was completely incredible and even better than I had imagined. I was also fortunate to be given a few pieces of "Olympic memorabilia!"
- POPT Lisa Farthing HMS DRAKE
The historic Bletchley Park ballroom was a prestigious venue for the June AOW Council meeting where three WWII Veterans, Gwendoline Page (author of 'We kept the Secret') and Nancy Hookham (Creed), who had both worked on the Bombes in the ‘huts’, met up with Jean Ireland, who had served at the w/t out-station HMS SKIRMISHER. At the same meeting Carol Gibbon, now Vice Chairman, and past AOW National Standard Bearer, handed over the standard to Elaine Smith, from South Dorset Branch.
AOW are most grateful to POA (Phot) Ray Jones for this great shot of LA (Phot) Abbie Gadd taken on board ship waiting for the Apache flypast Oct 2010.
She was in the last female Air Dept mess, HMS ARK ROYAL.
This photo inspired the creation of a montage of AOW members taken throughout the decades which is being used for our new application form & flyers. When Abbie joined AOW she very kindly bought membership for her sister Becky, serving in Afghanistan at the time.
See side panel HOME page & GALLERY
In 1982 I was on the staff of Flag Officer Portsmouth.
With success in the Falklands, the ships were returning home and Portsmouth, like the other naval bases, started hosting the many VIPs meeting the ships on their return.
Being a lowly Third Officer I wasn’t considered important enough to look after a VIP but on 21 July for the return of HMS HERMES they ran out of escorts.
As a result I accompanied the official artist in a PAS boat out into the Solent whilst he took photographs.
The day was overcast but it was a sight I shall never forget as a HMS HERMES (looking distinctly weather beaten with rust streaks down her sides) was surrounded by hundreds of small boats of every sort. Her Ship's Company were preparing to line the decks for their entry and as we circled the ship with the artist snapping away I heard a shout go up "There’s a Wren in that boat". I waved and a cheer went up!
- Andrea Crook, Chairman WRNS BT
When volunteers were sought to go to the Falkland Islands in 1986 I jumped at the chance.
As a POWREN(WTR), I was in charge of the Ships Office on the staff of the Senior Naval Officer Falkland Islands (SNOFI) at the joint HQ near Port Stanley.
The accommodation was basic - we lived in portacabins, with separate ablutions, surrounded by barbed wire, in an area fondly known as “Tenko”! One poignant event was when I laid a wreath on behalf of the Captain at the HMS ARDENT/HMS ANTELOPE memorial which is at the summit of Mt Campito overlooking Falkland Sound and San Carlos Water.
A group of us had to embark onboard HMS BRILLIANT for the short trip to reach the nearest spot to climb up to the memorial for the service. It was a very moving experience. The Falkland Islanders are fantastic people, the islands themselves bleak at times, but also stunning and dramatic.
Sheila Houghton Ex-CWREN (WTR) W132006U
Sea time at last!
After rejoining the Wrens I completed Seamanship training at HMS Raleigh before being drafted to HMS BRILLIANT.
I went on board on a Sunday with all my kit to be greeted by a 'kind' RN rating who gave me directions to the Wrens' Mess via what I later found out was the longest way round. I found out later that I was senior to him at work! Another discovery was that I was Mess Killick which was quite a challenge for the first draft of Wrens to go to sea. However we had a good happy group including seven nineteen year olds.
I was the only female in the Technical Office and was greeted by the Chief who said "I don’t think you’re going to do a good job"! However it all came out in the wash, as they say - speaking of which we discovered that the Chinese laundry puts everything on ‘Boil Wash’, so everyone had to replace their shrunk underwear! When, after 27 months I left the ship, the Chief said "You did alright, lass"! I was awarded my Long Service & Good Conduct Medal in 1998.
Jan Whittle Wren Writer Feb 1980 - Aug 1985 (L/Wren 1984) Rejoined Feb 1989 L/Writer - Jan 2006 (P.O. Writer 1995). Founder member of Exmouth Informal Group.