The Foundation of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service:1942—Brief notes
It was said that Canada asked the British Admiralty by signal ‘Please send us a Mother Wren”*
and while that communiqué has not surfaced in Archives, we wish to believe that is true.
The following personnel returned to Britain and in 1947 according to the Wren Newsletter ** were:
The British Wrens *1947
Joan Carpenter C.B.E ‘retired May 1946, last appointment Deputy Director Welfare, W.R.N.S HQ.
Secretary. W.R.N.S. Benevolent Fund.
Dorothy Isherwood ‘appointed Commander of British Empire 1947, retired 1946 serving in the Mediterranean as Superintendent to Commander , returned to BBC
June 1943 appointed Acting Captain D/WRCNS replacing Captain Brock.
Doris Taylor ‘after serving W.R.C.N.S.- joined UNRRA retired 1947
Lorna Kellet ‘retired May 1947 Chief Officer Portsmouth, joined BBC
Betty Samuel ‘retired 1946 after serving one year in Australia, Chief Officer on staff- now in Germany with Control Commission
Elizabeth Sturdee mentioned by Isherwood, returned early to be married in UK
Additional Information: The Canadian Wrens :1947
Adelaide Grant Macdonald Sinclair O.B.E., L.LD :
‘ In 1947 Executive Assistant to Deputy Minister of Welfare
Lt Cdr Sinclair became Director and Commander 1943-45 of Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service.
Isobel Janet Macneill: O.B.E., L.L.D. and O.C.
Joined 1942, Lt Cdr 1943, CO of HMCS Conestoga in Galt 1943-45.
‘Only woman in the Canadian Navy to Command a Ship’
Returned briefly in 1954 to RCN.
Honourary Commandant of the WRCNS: 1947
H.R.H. Princess Alice Mary
Original Director of the Women’s Services 1942
Captain Eustache Brock
It appears that the British Wrens tasked for the foundation of the WRCNS arrived in April 1942 had all returned after handover to Lt Cdr Adelaide Sinclair in August 1943.
Source: * Blue Tapestry: Book by Vera Laughton Mathews , The story of the WRNS: Page 150
**Wren Newsletter: published Halifax NS, Vol 1, No 1, February 1947 : Page 1.
There is no national Wren organization though there were a number of separate ones across Canada… sadly depleting. The average Wartime Wren WRCNS is at least 89. Return of Wrens was 1952 and up to 1966/7, then became CF Maritime Command.
2017 is 75th anniversary of the founding of the Wrens.
Our members are WRCNS, and Wrens as named, but includes UK WRNS, Canadian RCN and RCNR and CF and the return of RCN.
Sadly the CF interrupted the wrens and this broke the chain with newer members not following the traditional Wrens.
All Wartime, Post War and Peacetime Wrens and Naval Women may apply for Veterans compensation.
Reserve Wrens or CF [Reserve] wrens may not know they are ‘Veterans’ and may have a connection to the system.
A VETERAN should have served a specific time and be honourably discharged.
This very special program provides surviving veterans with a handsome certificate and pin, once they submit an application form on the Veteran’s Affairs Canada website:
As you can appreciate this kind of program brings attention to the selfless acts of heroism, courage and loyalty for which these veterans have become renowned, and, in turn, this helps inform and educate new generations of Canadians about these important contributions and events.
Surviving WWII veterans can complete and submit the form on line at the VAC website … here at this link:
Check our calendar for the date and time. This is also the Valentines meeting so that we hope to see you all decked out in shades of red.
For 2014 Roses- contact your local Retail Nursery and preorder.
Click the link to see the pdf of this year’s suppliers across Canada and the USA for our Canadian Naval Centennial Rose, AC Navy Lady for 2014.
Minister MacKay Recognizes the 70th Anniversary of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service
OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Nov. 8, 2012) – As part of Veterans’ Week 2012, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, wishes to mark the 70th anniversary of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, better known as the “Wrens”. Established as a division of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service was created on July 31, 1942. This group of Canadian women volunteered to serve Canada during the Second World War at a time when women had not previously played an active role in the Canadian military.
“The Canadian women who volunteered to serve their nation brought significant contributions to the Canadian war effort during these turbulent years,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay. “These women helped change the way society looked at women and the important role they could play in the defence of our country. Today women play an integrated part in all aspects of the Canadian Forces, and the Wrens can be proud to have played a key role in leading the way.”
“These courageous women simply wanted to be in naval service at a time when there was a huge threat to Canada’s national interests at sea,” said Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Forces Champion for Diversity. “They willingly faced the inequalities of the day, did great work ashore to enable the success of our men at sea and helped push society into full acceptance of the role of women as full contributing members of the Royal Canadian Navy. Today, women serve as equals in the Royal Canadian Navy, as both regular and reserve members, ashore and at sea. I would not want to deploy a ship or submarine without women of all ranks among their crews.”
Many young women signed up for the duration of the Second World War, putting family and careers on the back burner. By the end of the war, nearly 7,000 women had served with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service in 39 different trades including many non-traditional occupations such as sonar operators, coders, and telegraphists.
When the war was over, the Wrens left the Navy and returned to their hometowns, but because of what they had endured, their lives had changed forever and nothing would be the same for them or for Canada. The efforts of these pioneering women helped open the door for the women who now serve in a broad range of roles in the Canadian Forces today.
Good news from our ACTM Navy Lady rose grower!
Click here to see the larger poster about how well our Canadian Naval Centennial Rose for 2010 has been doing – lovely!
Pauline Hebb crossed the bar December 22, 2012.
Bev Covington crossed the bar Sept 18, 2012.
Thank you from ‘ NAVY LADY’ : YEAR END UPDATE
100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy
Wren Associations of Canada thank you the public, and the naval community, for your interest in the 1910-2010 Canadian Naval Centennial Rose…’Navy Lady’.
Based on information we have received – over 45 centennial rose events have taken place across Canada during 2010, plus many individual plantings. Continue reading