100 Wrens gathered for WRENS100 at the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

It was the largest gathering of Naval Servicewomen, at this venue, since the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) Officers’ training was transferred to BRNC Dartmouth from the College just over forty years ago in 1976.

Rear Admiral Paul Bennett CB OBE talks with a former Wren

Up to 300 veterans from the WRNS including women from all ranks and rates serving in today’s Royal Navy enjoyed a grand reunion at the national summer celebration held in London. The event marked 100 years since the formation of the women-only service in 1917, which was initially formed to release men from shore-based duties to allow them to man ships in the closing stages of the First World War.

Charities show their support

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) were among a number military charities who showed their support at the event, including representatives from Association of Royal Navy Officers (ARNO), The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust (RNBT) and Women’s Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust (WRNSBT).

We hear from the Wrens

Wrens at the Royal Naval College

The first female students from the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS), were admitted to the Royal Naval College in 1939. Among the first courses to be made available to the WRNS were Officer Training, Cipher and Administration.

During World War II over 8,000 were trained at the Royal Naval College, with expanded roles including Radio Operators, Meteorologists and Bomb Markers.

Although few served at sea, their contribution to the war effort was significant. In 1944, at the service’s height, 74,000 women were involved in over 200 different jobs. 303 Wrens were killed on wartime service.

WRNS Officer Training courses continued after the war, with additional courses became avaiable, such as the Royal Naval Staff Course. In 1976 WRNS Officers’ Training moved to Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth and the service was disbanded and integrated fully into the Royal Navy in 1993.