1938 - 1945

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Reforming the WRNS

The rise of dictators, such as Hitler and Stalin, in Europe throughout the 1930s resulted in the fear of another war. The British Government therefore began to plan for the crisis.

In 1938 the Admiralty predicted the need to recruit 3000 Wrens but by the end of the War this number had far exceeded expectation. The number women serving in the WRNS reached its peak number in September 1944 with around 74 000 officers and ratings working in 90 categories and 50 branches.

Wren recruits training in morse code
Wren recruits training in morse code (RNM)

Article highlights

  • Reforming the WRNS

  • Pre-war anxiety

  • Starting again

  • Volunteers, not conscripts

  • Training

  • Working life - find out about some of the different jobs the Wrens did

  • The end of the War

Read the story of the WRNS

  • 1917 - 1919 The first WRNS formed during World War One

  • 1938 - 1945 World War Two reformation

  • 1946 - 1969 Post war permanent service

  • 1970 - 1989 Towards integration

  • 1990 - 1993 Women at sea

  • Women in the Navy today Equality and limitations in the Navy


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