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Former Wren sees how things have changed after 57 years

4 May 2016
Eileen Mould last walked through the gates at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in the early 1960’s when she was serving as a female Air Mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm.

She joined Culdrose in 1959 and for three years was part of the 200 strong Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENs) contingent on the Base.

“I remember being part of a big Fleet Air Arm family, looking after the piston engine aircraft on the Air Station,” said Eileen.

“I was an Air Mechanic first class, working on Sea Balliols - a two seat trainer, Dragonfly helicopters and Rapides which were used as a taxi service around all the Naval Air stations across the country.”

I would always volunteer to be thrown in the water and get rescued by the RNLI lifeboat or winched up by the helicopters.

Eileen Emould

Eileen was part of what was called the Station Flight and at the time they were equipped with both fixed wing and helicopters that provided Culdrose’s first dedicated Search and Rescue aircraft.

“It was all very exciting back then. I would always volunteer to be thrown in the water and get rescued by the RNLI lifeboat or winched up by the helicopters.

“They would practice this quite regularly, so I got plenty of flying.”

Paying a visit today has brought back plenty of fond memories for Eileen. There was plenty to do out of working hours as well and apart from going to the local pubs in Porthleven and as far away as Sennen Cove, she was also a trombonist in the Seahawk Band.

“I’ve been around the Base and chatted to lots of people. In some ways there is still that same FAA spirit I remember during my time.

“I would have loved to have stayed in for much longer doing Air Engineering, but I got married and back then you couldn’t stay in if you were wed.”

Showing Eileen around the Air Station was Air Engineer Mechanic Chrissy Coard. “She is truly inspirational; it’s really nice to talk with someone who was an Air Mechanic back then and working with all those different types of aircraft.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to show her around today.”

But the last word has to go to Eileen, “I’m often asked if I was a Wren and I always say, No! I was a Fleet Air Arm Wren.”

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