Thursday, 17 September 2009

I only joined for the hat

This was a brilliant book. The title caught my eye--it looked quite amusing. It was, but it was also very interesting. Filled wtih recollections from not just the author, but also her friends. It deals with the WRENs, something I knew very little about. I mean, you hear about the women in the RAF, but I never really considered that there were women in the Royal Navy and that they actually did some pretty interesting jobs.

There was the usual admin-type stuff of course, but there were also far more exciting duties. Like teaching submarining and torpedo aiming. Did you have any idea they let WRENs do that? I certainly didn't. It sounded quite exciting, and the WRENs were once allowed out onto a real submarine, to see if they could do it for real. I seem to recall they did manage to hit one of the targets, which is quite impressive as I would imagine the simulator and the actual would be quite different. Another thing the WRENs were involved with was the Navy equivalent of the RAF's plotting table. Again, not something I ever thought of, but I suppose they'd have to have one in order to keep track of their ships, and convoys. Apparently one of the WRENs was on duty plotting her fiance's convoy when the news came in that some of the ships had been hit, which must have been rather terrifying.

All in all, it sounded like an incredibly exciting experience. I would've quite enjoyed it I reckon... You get a real sense of the atmosphere amongst the WRENs, I would really recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Home Front and the role of women in the Second World War. Or just those of you who would like an amusing, if sometimes rather poignant, and lively read.

No comments: