Sarah Jackson 1 - You were encouraged to wear makeup

    Sarah Jackson

    Name: Sarah Jackson

    Rate: Leading Hand

    Service: 1990 - present

    Job: Writer

    Sarah Jackson joined the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in June 1990, aged 19. She completed her basic training at HMS Raleigh and was among the last group of Wrens classed as 'non-seagoing'.

    In September 1990 Wrens, like Sarah, who were already in the service could choose to go to sea, or stay ashore. At first Sarah decided to stay a non-sea goer, but in 1992 she did sign up for sea service.

    Sarah's first ship was HMS Invincible. She lived and worked on board whilst it was being re-fitted in Plymouth. Her first experience at sea was on HMS Illustrious 1998 - 2000. Sarah is currently working in a shore-based job.

    When Sarah joined the WRNS they had separate uniforms and regulations from the Navy. In the clip below she recalls how Wrens were expected to dress and behave.


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    Extract Text (Duration1.53)

    You were encouraged to wear make up but it had to be discreet and nails had to be clean, preferably with polish and you were only allowed to wear clear or seashell pink nail varnish. Make up, you had to at least, if you were pale skinned, had to at least wear mascara and a little bit of blusher, and we were always told that it was a prettier sight for the gentlemen to see, as we were ladies. And it was also recommended that we wore stockings rather than tights because that was more feminine, apparently. And one of the old drill instructors actually said one day, "Not only was it more feminine that if one of the ladies passed out on parade it was a prettier site."


    You were encourage to wear makeup

    1.53 mins - mp3 File

    He'd never washed as much when he was at sea

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    First impressions of sailing

    1.35 mins - mp3 File

    There were some quite sexist jokes

    0.59 mins - mp3 File

    You haven't got time to have affairs

    0.58 mins - mp3 File

    What did you miss the most?

    1.25 mins - mp3 File