WRNS 100 celebrated at Parliamentary Reception

2017 marks 100 years since the creation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, thus 100 years since Women were first officially involved in the Royal Navy.

The motto of the WRNS in 1917 was ‘Never at Sea’, and their roles were limited to cooks, stewards, sailmakers and intelligence operatives.

By 1944, despite the disbandment of the organisation during the inter-War period, numbers of WRNS Offices and Ratings peaked at 74,000, serving in jobs such as radio operators, meteorologists and bomb range makers as well as sea going Cypher officers, coders and ship’s crew.

The last 30 years have heralded the most advances for women in the Royal Navy; with the full integration of women into the Senior Service in 1993, to the first female Diving Officer graduating in 2010, the first female Senior Observer being appointed in 2011 and the first female Officers gaining their Dolphins in 2014. 

As members of the URNU, we are very fortunate to be able to represent a small section of the wider Navy Family at such events

Mid Georgi Morton RNR, Bristol URNU

All this history, past and more recent, was celebrated at a Parliamentary Reception at the Speaker’s House in December.

It was a wonderful event with women from all branches of the Royal Navy, from AB to Commodore, both retired and currently serving.

In the stunning setting of the Speaker’s Apartments in the Palace of Westminster, James Gray MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces, gave a speech thanking women for their service to the WRNS, RN and RNR, with a response by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Phillip Jones KCB.

Midshipman Georgi Morton RNR said, “My own Grandmother served in the WRNS from 1955 to 1960, only leaving to get married, and I know that it was one of the most enjoyable periods of her life.

“I am very proud to have her story in my family and I feel honoured to have met so many brave and inspirational women with different stories of their time in the RN.

“As members of the URNU, we are very fortunate to be able to represent a small section of the wider Navy Family at such events.

“I would like to thank Commander Jane Allen for all her hard work in organising the Reception and other WRNS 100 events during the year, and the Commanding Officer of Bristol URNU Lieutenant Lorna Wilson for putting my name forward to attend.”