10th March 2022

W.R.A.N.S. Cuff-link by Stokes

It is not to be confused with the women’s group called WRENS (Women’s Reserve Emergency Navy Service).

Despite strong resistance from the government and navy, in April 1941 fourteen volunteers from the Women’s Signalling Corps (WESC) were recruited as civilian employees of the navy due to the shortage of telegraphists in the R.A.N.  Due to ongoing need for manpower in the Pacific, approval for the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service was granted in July and public recruiting allowed.  It was disbanded at the end of WW2, but re-constituted in 1951 due to manpower shortages, becoming a permanent part of the navy in 1959. It was absorbed into the RAN during the 1980s resulting in the end of this branch of the service in 1985. Since 1983 women have been allowed to serve aboard ships.

The Herald (Melbourne), 23rd May 1941 page 7.

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 13th October 1942 page 3.


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