Frances Townsend, a member of Betjeman Belles WI, writes to us to say:
I served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the 1970s and joined the service at HMS Dauntless, Burghfield, near Reading. This was a Part 1 training establishment but only for the years 1946-1981. During this period, 40 Divisions ( classes) per year ‘passed out’ there. Each Division had a photograph taken, which means there is the potential for 1360 photographs. These women were the trailblazers for the modern day Royal Navy where women now command ships, fly aircraft and serve at sea on ships and in submarines.
Two of Frances’s friends are working to create an archive of these photographs for both historical and social reasons. Adding photos to the archive is bringing about reunions, moral support and easing loneliness for a lot of women now of advancing years. Thus far, only 650 photographs have been collected, 49% of what’s possible.
A lot of women are not on social media and so the team is trying to spread the word widely and ask that if anyone reading this was in the Wrens, and has a Divisional photograph, to please take a photo of it and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If possible, please include dates and Division name.