Culture

Looking for Wrens from HMS Dauntless (Reading)

By Janette Crisp

I am looking for ex Wrens – anyone who joined during 1947-81 and trained at HMS Dauntless (Reading). I’m compiling a searchable, accessible archive of Divisional “class” photos that only ex wrens may access. The collection also encourages old friends to be rediscovered, memories shared and new friendships/support groups formed.

With permission from various Wrens support groups, I started this archive and for want of anywhere better or more accessible, I stored the collection in a private FB group and contacted all the Wrens I could trace using normal social media sources. But I know that there are many hundreds of ladies out there who don’t use social media.

Literally within days I realised the idea was much bigger than just photo storage. A friend came on board to help with the deluge of information that landed on my desktop and within a month we had over 1000 ‘members’ in the group. That’s when we discovered that this was so much more than just an archive of old photos. Especially during lockdown, it became a place of memories, finding old friends, making new ones, adding photos of adventures and escapades. It brought isolated ladies together, occasionally offered moral support and gave us all things to think and talk about. Within the first month of existence there were over 10.5k social interactions within the Group.

30,000 wrens went through the gates of the training establishment known as HMS Dauntless during the 34 years in operation. Approximately 40 divisions (classes) per year which means a rough total of 1,360 classes which equals the potential for 1,360 class photos. We currently have around 600 photos … 42.5% of what’s possible.

We’ve published in all the usual naval and military publications but we’d like to reach those ladies who don’t read these or use social media.

If you were, or you know of any ladies who were, in the Wrens, please get in touch with us because we’d love to hear from you and quite possibly, give the opportunity to reconnect with old classmates.

If you would like to contact Janette leave a comment or email fiona@theorkneynews.scot and we will pass on your details

You may also be interested in this Facebook page HMS Dauntless WRNS Training Elite – a place to share and reminisce.

National Memorial Arboretum: WRNS © Copyright Stephen Craven

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