The Image of Women in the Navy

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Not all aspects of the Wren uniform were glamorous.

The Navy issued new entrant Wrens with huge, shapeless blue overalls in order to carry out their initial training. These rather provided a contrast to the glamorous images that lured recruits in to joining the service.

Photograph of Wren wearing overalls, WWII
Photograph of Wren wearing overalls, WWII (RNM)

Listen to Phyllis Thomas describing the large boiler suit that new Wren recruits wore as uniform (RNM).

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Read a transcript of this oral history

WRNS ratings had to endure some even worse additions to their uniform. They wore oversized pants, known as 'Blackouts', under their skirts. These huge garments, elasticated at the waist and knees, kept out the cold. They also supposedly deterred any unwanted male advances.

Nancy Hunt (nee Crichton) served as a Wren Steward between 1942 and 1945. Read about an alternative use which she had for her 'Blackouts'

Cartoon about Wren uniform, WWII
Cartoon about Wren uniform, WWII (RNM)

See more cartoons of the WRNS

To find out what sailors felt about the WRNS, select Next


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