Image of Women Stories
Page 4 of 5
Nancy Hunt (nee Crichton) served as a Wren Steward between 1942 to 1945. She describes an alternative use for her 'Blackouts'.
'I once had the occasion to pick up from a visiting Canadian Destroyer in King George V Docks, a Captain, a Lieutenant, and a very Senior Officer whose rank I forget, to take to a Court Martial. For some reason this Senior Officer objected to my being trousered and asked me to obtain a skirt...We arrived shortly after Divisions had begun. These were curtailed, and the guests were entertained in the Wardroom while I changed into a skirt. When I arrived to pick up my charges, the Old Man inspected me. "Is that a regulation pull-over?" he asked me, pointing to the V showing above my jacket button. "Well, yes and no, Sir," I replied, and then to the horror of the First Officer hovering apprehensively, I took off my jacket, to show off the pullover. I then took it off, and showed them what it really was, or had been. "When I was first kitted out," I said, "I was given this thick pair of knitted knickers. But only a man would design these, because no-body would be able to walk in them. They'd be rubbed to death. So we take out the gusset in the middle, and put our heads through the opening, and our arms through the legs, and that way we stay warm on top instead of the bottom." There was a silence for a moment, and then roars of laughter. The Captain made the Steward give me a gin and tonic, and I sailed out with my charges in tow on a wave of euphoria.'