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BRNC Dartmouth to celebrate WRNS100

18 April 2017
Britannia Royal Naval College will hold a celebration on Saturday 13 May 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS).

Former members of the WRNS are invited to attend an afternoon reception on the College Quarterdeck where they will be able to meet some of today’s Officer Cadets and share their experiences of training.

The ticketed event is also open to those still serving who wore the ‘blue stripes’, former members of BRNC staff (Officers and Ratings) from 1976 onwards, members of the Naval Service Women’s Network and invited guests of the above.

WRNS training moved from the Royal Navy College, Greenwich, to BRNC in 1976.  As part of the celebration WRNS uniforms, photos and line books from the College archive will be on display.

Guests will also be able to partake in a historic tour of the College and see a display of current training.  The event will start at 2 pm and finish at 5 pm. Refreshments in the form of an afternoon tea will be available.

We are looking forward to welcoming former members of the WRNS back to the College. Places are limited to 150 guests. Each attendee will receive a commemorative gift and guests are also invited to attend a Church Service the following day (Sunday 14 May) in the College Chapel, starting at 10 am.

Lieutenant Maxine Stiles

Tickets to the event cost £15 and are available from Lieutenant Maxine Stiles on 01803 677108 or email: [email protected]. She said: “We are looking forward to welcoming former members of the WRNS back to the College.

"Places are limited to 150 guests.

"Each attendee will receive a commemorative gift and guests are also invited to attend a Church Service the following day (Sunday 14 May) in the College Chapel, starting at 10 am.”

The WRNS was formed in 1917 to cope with a deteriorating manpower situation as a result of the First World War under the leadership of Dame Katherine Furse. 

The initial intention was for the Wrens, as they became known, to serve in supporting roles, but as the manpower shortages continued Wrens found themselves taking on jobs such as sail-making, driving, maintaining aircraft, signalling and coding.

The event at BRNC is one of a number being held this year to celebrate the contribution of the WRNS and the influence they had on opportunities for women in today’s Royal Navy.

Since the formation of the WRNS, changes have taken place that the ladies of 1917 could only dream of.  Today’s women serve alongside their male colleagues at sea, under the sea, in the air and on land, in conflicts including the first Gulf War, the Balkans, the 2003 Iraq War and, more recently, in Afghanistan.

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