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1914-18 War • Women's Royal Naval Service

from November 1917 • The WRENS
The Women's Royal Naval Service was formed in November 1917.
The Admiralty restricted the WRNS to 3,000 women who were only allowed to do "shore service" mainly domestic work. They became cleaners, cooks and waitresses. The number eventually doubled, with Wrens doing many different jobs for which women had been thought unsuitable.

The Wren shown here has a scallop shell badge on her right sleeve indicating her role in the Navy as a Household Worker. One of about nine skills which eventually included telegraphists, clerks and drivers.
Household Workers duties included cooking and other domestic work.
There were two classes of Wren, "Immobile" who were only prepared to work near their home and "Mobile" who would serve anywhere. The original WRNS miniature naval collar lacked the traditional three white lines but as shown here resourceful Wrens soon adapted male collars.
The regulation dress hem was nine inches 23 cm from the floor.

The original WRNS only existed for 24 months but was reformed in April 1939.
The WAAC and WRAF were all formed around this same time.

Formed November 1917: Demobilised October 1919

Photograph by Sweatman Hedgeland, Broadway, Maidstone