About the Wrens
By the spring of 1941, Canada had been at war for nearly two years. In light of the increasing need for manpower for the war effort, National Defence Headquarters asked the navy, army, and air force to determine what roles women could perform in uniformed service. At the time, the navy believed it would only need a small number of drivers, and, unlike the army and the air force, it did not believe it necessary to create a separate service for women. A year later, all this would change.
Men and yet more men are needed to man the ships of the Royal Canadian Navy which patrol the seas. To replace these men on shore duty has been the basis of the organization and training of the women in the Royal Canadian Naval Service. The call goes out to Canadian women to volunteer for service, making application at the nearest recruiting office in their vicinity.
- Vancouver News-Herald, 28 June 1943
What with the expanding war effort and the intensification of the Battle of the Atlantic, it had become clear that more men were required for sea duty, and this left a substantial number of shore duty positions to be filled.
In January 1942, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) asked the British Admiralty for assistance in creating the WRCNS. The justification for such an organization was provided by the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services. He argued that women could perform a number of tasks, thus enabling men "...[for] duties of a heavier nature than they [were] now performing." In May of that year, a Memorandum was sent to the War Committee Cabinet listing the following positions or tasks that could be filled or performed by women: cipher duties, clerical work, teleprinter operations, telephone switchboard operator, wireless telegraphic operator, coder duties, cook, steward, messenger, elevator operator, and motor transport driver.6 Additional positions would be added as the war effort expanded, the following additional trades being listed and described in a newspaper advertisement from 1943: wardroom attendant, quarters assistant, laundress, supply assistant, stenographer, confidential book corrector, postal clerk, secretary, pay writer, communications and operations specialist, sail maker, sick berth attendant, and regulator. By the end of the war, 39 trades had been declared open to the Wrens
Continue reading at www.journal.forces.gc.ca
WRCNS Legacy Project Committee
|Honorary Co - Chair||
The Honorable Peter Milliken
Mr. Milliken was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario. He was educated at Queen's, Oxford, and Dalhousie Universities. In 1973, he was called to the bar of Ontario and enrolled as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ontario. Mr. Milliken was a partner in a Kingston law firm from 1973 until 1988 before his election to Parliament.
Karen Vonhone has worked for the Department of National Defence (LFDTS) since 1999. She is passionate about military history and education. Karen is also an active volunteer within the Kingston community.
Peter Lockyer and Lynn Pickering
The company is a communications/multimedia firm that assists businesses, industry associations and communities to celebrate their history. Visit www.historyliveshere.ca for more information.
Ashley Brown is an associate lawyer at Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little, & Bonham LLP where she practices primarily in the area of Labour and Employment. Ashley graduated from Queen's University Faculty of Law in 2009 and is actively involved in the wider Kingston community.
Allison is an independent Marketing Communications Specialist with a strong focus on professional writing services and events production
Bank of Montreal
Jessi Linn Davies, BA, B.Ed is a Toronto-based artisteducator. Specializing in improv theatre and the art of drama teaching, Jessi Linn has worked with theatre companies and school boards across Ontario (Kingston, Sudbury, Waterloo, Niagara, and the GTA). She belongs to teaching rosters for: Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, Canadian Stage, Canadian Opera Company, Bad Dog Theatre, and is the Education Manager at Theatre Direct. Jessi Linn is an inaugural board member of PAONE, the Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education.
Albert is a retired military public relations officer with extensive international experience including a recent tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Susan M. Creasy, CLU, B.P.H.E., B.ED.
A graduate of Queen's University, Susan Creasy joined the insurance industry in 1980. Today she owns Susan Creasy Financial Inc., a financial planning firm located in Kingston, Ontario. Throughout her career, Sue has been held in high regard by her peers in the life insurance industry. In 1997, she was the first Canadian to be recognized by the Life & Health Insurance Foundation for Education for her outstanding professionalism and concern for her clients' financial security. For 23 consecutive years, she has been a member of the industry's Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and is now a Qualifying and Life Member. Since 2005 she has been named to the MDRT's "Top of the Table," a milestone achieved by only 4% of its membership worldwide. Sue has also completed a term as chair of the board of directors of the MDRT Canadian Charitable Foundation, an organization funded with generous financial gifts from insurance professionals.