The Toast: To the Wrens-God bless them!

wren crest with wrcnsThe Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service was founded as part of the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942


It is time to take a final Roll Call of all those women who served in the WRENS during the Second World War. These few are the connection with our history of Women during wartime: what they did: where they went: and what happened to them when they finished serving and then got on with their lives.

If you are aware of any living wartime WRCNS and have contact with them the Wren Association of Toronto would like to have this information and contact.


Any information, diaries, stories and family remembrances of Wren mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins and wren friends would be welcome Additional information on those Wrens who have long departed and would enhance the History of the Wrens.

We can provide donation locations for memorabilia.

If you are aware of a WRCNS person who has died and know of the names, and date and location but are not certain if this person would be in the forthcoming List of WRCNS we ask that you please fill in the Book of Remembrance form and send it in.


Or email your information to Navylady@thewrens.ca
1-2288 The Collegeway, Mississauga, ON L5L 3Z5


—–On May 31st 2022 we will list what has been accumulated —-
Please send in the information now.

******TIME SENSITIVE *****

UK Wrens – Request from Janette Crisp, Co-Coordinator Dauntless Division Photos 47-81

I am hoping to get in touch with any Wrens who trained at HMS Dauntless (Reading) in the UK between 1947-1981 (in the early years it was also known as Training Establishment Burghfield).

We have created a project called Dauntless Division Photos which, once complete, will provide an archive of easily accessible Division photos. But right now the project is also linking thousands of Wrens from this time period – rekindling old friendships, making new ones, reliving memories, sharing anecdotes and generally being a support and comfort during this unsettling time.

It’s a mammoth task being created by Wrens for Wrens.

If you know of anyone who was a post-World War II Wren, chances are they trained at HMS Dauntless. Please tell them about this project and ask them to contact us.

I can be contacted at ddpwrens@gmail.com– Many thanks Janette Crisp

Wren Memorabilia

Wrens have items at Toronto City Archives on Spadina Rd near Castle Loma. The organization memorabilia ie Jenny Wren Letters and membership files, Wren Association of Toronto notebooks with photos,and similar.

York Association (HMCS York) Toronto has been formed. Two former wrens are on Executive. We turned over to it most of the Wren Locker…ie photos and such. There is a museum room at York but you may have to make arrangements to get in.

RCMI, Royal Canadian Military Institute, has some collections of Naval memorabilia and has a large Library of many books. On University near Dundas in Toronto. Make arrangements to see by calling.

CMHM Canadian Military Heritage Museum, has the physical collection re uniforms etc.and naval memorabilia and a small library…in Brantford. Check opening times. small fee.

U of T University of Toronto, has the soldiers tower in the University. The Law School occupies the former Wren Quarters. Soldiers Tower has a wren stained glass window and small artifacts in the Tower.

Cambridge Archives in Cambridge [Galt] has wren fonds..these are called up items. Short Hours need appointment. Most of the real archive in paper etc are here. Including postwar, uk and others..plus all the original photos etc.

Branksome Hall, Toronto, a girls private school provided a few Wren recruits. as did University of Toronto.

See also Museums and Archives.

‘Navy Lady’ Rose

Navy Lady‘Navy Lady’ is a trademarked Rose bush and will be available in the Spring 2016.
The Grower is JC Bakker and Sons, Limited of St Catharines, Ontario.
Please contact your local retail garden store and request one for your own garden.


Here’s the round up of the project as a whole…

ACTM Navy Lady and/ or 1910-2010 Canadian Naval Centennial Rose.
Wren Association of Toronto took this project on on behalf of all the Wren Associations across Canada. The associations have no national group just a loose network.
We became project coordinators between the Grower and Naval organizations and the Naval Centennial Group.
The rose is trademarked by Agriculture and Agri Food Canada and will have trademark protection for the duration. [ie many years]. JC Bakker and Sons Limited, have the exclusive growing rights.
It is said ‘excellent quantities’ will be available each year.

Our aim was to promote, and make the information known regarding the project set us by the Centennial Group.
The number of plants was contingent on timing as there is a lead time to get a rose bush to market and therefore we targeted Naval Organizations and Events. 3500 rose bushes were produced in 2010.
Most of the events which included a planting of the rose were initiated by Naval Groups or persons.
The royalty on the trademark will go to Agriculture Canada for trademark and rose plant, and the costs for producing the rose were taken up by JC Bakker and Sons Limited who provided the care and expertise as an enterprise and will recover costs.
Wrens and friends, and naval organizations promoted their own events including the planting and use of the rose for their own purposes.
The Wren organizations will receive no monies from this project.
Because of limited number of plants. we did not promote the rose to the Public at large in 2010
The Centennial Rose is may be used as a Remembrance, Celebration, or Event rose in the future.

Rose Committee Wren Association of Toronto


First Planting

The first planting of the 1910-2010 Canadian Naval Centennial Rose ACTM Navy Lady took place at the Wardroom at CFB Esquimalt, Victoria, British Columbia, March 8, 2010.

This early event featured three rose bushes planted in tubs on the Wardroom patio.

Naval /Civic Planting 

The largest number of roses plantings of 40 rose bushes, was May 15, 2010 in a Memorial Park in Sackville New Brunswick, the namesake town of HMCS Sackville.

The Canadian Memorial Trust-Second World War corvette is docked at Halifax and was visited by HM the Queen in 2010.

Official Planting

Historical recognition and Blessing of the 1910-2010 Canadian Naval Centennial Rose ACTM Navy Lady, took place at a lovely well attended ceremony May 16, 2010 wherein,.

12 rose bushes were planted in Cambridge Ontario, at the Libraries and Galleries,in front of the Jenny Wren Statue.

Galt-Cambridge is where most of the WRCNS Second World War, started basic Naval training.

Warrior's Day 2015

Come out this Saturday, August 22nd to see us march.

The parade takes place on Saturday, August 22nd at 10:30 am starting  at the Princes’ Gates and continues down Princes’ Boulevard.

Further information about the Warriors’ Day Parade can be found at www.thewarriorsdayparade.ca

Note: Veterans and one companion ride free on the GO Train on August 22.
Check out our events calendar here

Navy Lady Centennial Rose availability for 2015

Navy LadyOur rose continues to be available, and is successfully growing all across Canada, and even into the USA now!

Check your local garden centre to see if you can obtain one of our lovely red rose bushes for your garden.

Sadly, many of the lovely women who worked on this project have crossed the bar. We miss you Betty, Bev, Pauline and Margaret!


Jenny Wren Statue in Galt with Navy Lady Roses

JennyStatueWe received this note recently from the lovely people at the Cambridge Public Library, caring for the garden where our Jenny Wren statue is surrounded by the Navy Lady rose…

On a lovely day, one of our staff took this great picture and shared it on social media.  We wanted to share it with you. Here’s what we posted…

“Such a beautiful day – and the roses are in full bloom by our Jenny Wren statue. A lovely tribute to their service. Do you know the story of Jenny Wren? It’s well worth knowing! Enjoy!”


The Foundation of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service:1942—Brief note

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.

Service Records

Here’s How To Get Your Service Records.

The need for service records comes up every so often. Please keep the following information for future use.

  • Canadian – Service Records, ATIP  Personnel  Records Div. Library and Archives Canada  395 Wellington St.  Ottawa ON   K1H 0N4.
  • British – Director of Naval personnel, Navy Search, TNT Records  Management.  PO Box 7814, Tetron Point, William Nadin Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 1EG navysearchpgrc@tnt.co.uk.