|BCN08||100th Anniversary Formation of the Womens Royal Naval Service||£10.95||Buy Now|
Issue Date: 29/11/2017
Issue Name: 100th Anniversary Formation of the Womens Royal Naval Service
Producer: Buckingham Covers
Produced in partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, this beautiful cover celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Formation of the Women's Royal Naval Service. Featuring a photograph of two WRNS at work, this cover will also have our special Navy Street, London postmark.
The Women's Royal Naval Service
By the middle of 1917 there had been heavy Naval losses causing shortages of men to go to sea and fill important shore billets. The Admiralty invited Dame Katherine Furse, who had been Commandant of the VAD, to form a “Naval organisation for women” which would recruit women to fill shore jobs thus enabling men to go to sea. After some discussion the name Women’s Royal Naval Service was agreed after the Admiralty sanctioned the use of “Royal”. His Majesty the King approved the formation of the Service and, on 29 November 1917, an Admiralty office memorandum announced its establishment.
During the course of the First World War, Wrens were employed throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as in Malta, Gibraltar and Genoa. They were employed as cooks and stewards, clerks, wireless operators and cypher officers. Wrens fitted depth charges and paravanes in ships, manned listening stations and served as drivers. 7,000 women served in 21 branches during World War One. Prior to the official outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Dame Vera Laughton Mathews had been appointed as Director WRNS in March of that year. By December 1939 there were over 3,000 WRNS personnel and the strength steadily increased until it reached a peak of 74,620 by 1944. There were 74 branches ranging from clerks, air mechanics, coders, to plotters and ship mechanics. It is estimated that some 143,000 women went on to serve in the WRNS until women joined forces with the men of the Royal Navy on 1 November 1993.
The Royal Navy was at the forefront of the wider employment of women by initiating a Woman’s service in 1917 and the WRNS blazed a trail during the First World War by allowing women to be independent and professional.
There are estimated to be 45,000 women within the population today who have served in the WRNS and some of those are still serving in the Royal Navy now. It is important to celebrate their service as well as that of the women of the First and Second World Wars who laid the foundations for women serving today. The integration and diversity opportunities in the Royal Navy began with these women.
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