Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS)

Data current to 8 March 2019.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951000)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, portrait, 1944. On 31 July 1942, Parliament approved the formation of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS), the third women's military organization to come into service in Canada.

The Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS), aka "Wrens", was an element of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) that was active during the Second World War and post-war as part of the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve (RCNR) until the unification of the Canadian Forces (CF) in 1968.  The WRCNS was in operation from October 1942 to August 1946.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950988)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, visitng HMS Newfoundland, 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3211276)

Signallers of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service with flags and Aldis Lamp, at the signal training school HMCS St Hyacinthe, St. Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada, September 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3211279)

Signallers of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service at the signal training school HMCS St Hyacinthe, St. Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada, September 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950813)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service members with signal flags, ca 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950815)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service members with signal flags, ca 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950813)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service Signaller Irene Cheshire, HMCS Cornwallis, Deep Brook, Nova Scotia, August 1945. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396623)

Signallers Marian Wingate and Margaret Little of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service at work, April 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950817)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service Signaller Irene Cheshire with an Aldis signal lamp, 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3399309)

Naval personnel using a tactical table, HMCS Stadacona, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, June 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950985)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service members on parade, ca 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950826)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, summer uniform, 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951001)

Rosemary Baker in early Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service uniform.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950998)

Kitty Kincaid in early Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service uniform.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950999)

Kitty Kincaid in early Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service uniform.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4295883)

Gwynneth Speedie, Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, April 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951003)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, uniform, 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951004)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, uniform, 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951005)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, uniform, 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951002)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, uniform, 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950822)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service chorister, Newfoundland 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950825)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service chorister, Newfoundland 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4956992)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service member at Signal Hill, overlooking the harbour at St. John's Newfoundland, seated on an old cannon, ca 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3404727)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service members modelling types of summer and winter uniforms, Ottawa, Ontario, 2 July 1942.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950827)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service member in summer dress uniform with signposts to HMCS establishments in Ontario, 1943.

The WRCNS was modelled on the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS), which had been active during the First World War and then revived in 1939.  The RCN was slow to create a women's service, only establishing the WRCNS in July 1942, nearly a year after the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) and the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division (RCAF WD).  By the end of the war however nearly 7,000 women had served with the WRCNS in 39 different trades.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3222937)

New entry members of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service at HMCS Conestoga, Galt, Ontario, Canada, July 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951006) 

Original Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service uniform, worn by Lincoln, in front of Naval Service Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario, 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3222937)

Probationers of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service at HMCS Conestoga, Galt, Ontario, Canada, May 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950818)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service members Norma Henderson, left, and Florence Morin, right, at Firefighting school, HMC Dockyard, Esquimalt, British Columbia, 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3393903)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service members washing a bus at HMCS Conestoga, Galt, Ontario, July 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950985)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service drummers at HMCS Conestoga, Galt, Ontario, cA June 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3380374)

Drummers Joan McMaster and Lorraine McAuley leading a parade of Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service personnel, HMCS Conestoga, Galt, Ontario, June 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3241573)

Wren drummers (L-R) Grace M. Prestley, SBA Leading Wren Joan McMaster, Regulator Leading Wren Lorraine McAuley and Regulator Wren Harriet M. Allardyce at at HMCS Conestoga, Galt, Ontario, June 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950989)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, Christmas party, 1944.

  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3577109)

Marguerite Sproul, a member of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service on loan to the Royal Navy in New York, United States, March 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3223004)

Nursing personnel of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service administering physiotherapy treatment, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, July 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3678228)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service member plotting shipping movements on a chart, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3567251)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service member M. McDonald working in the navigation library at HMCS Kings, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 3 March 1943. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3519918)

Leading Wren Ruth Church, Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, delivering a supply of library books to Able Seaman Bill Swetman of HMCS Petrolia, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, November 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3205988)

Signallers of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service and Royal Canadian Navy comparing bellbottom trousers, Vancouver, British Columbia, 22 February 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3525127)

Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service Leading Wren June Whiting, disembarking at Liverpool, England, April 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224709)

Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service drilling on the parade square during initial training at HMCS Conestoga, Galt, Ontario, Dec 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3201525)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service member operating direction-finding equipment at HMCS Coverdale, Riverview, New Brunswick, August 1945. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3523790)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service switchboard operators at work, St. John's, Newfoundland, 2 February 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950991)

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service members Mary (last name unknown) and Kitty Kelly visiting barrage balloon site, with Women's Auxiliary Air Force personnel manning the balloons in the UK in 1944. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950987)

Rear-Admiral Brodeur inspecting HMCS Moresby house, with Capt. German, Lt. Allen, WRCNS, 1944.

The ByTown II, later renamed HMCS Conestoga ("The Stone Frigate"), was the WRCNS training centre in Galt, Ontario, and became the first female-commanded Canadian commissioned "ship" in June 1943 when Lieutenant Commander Isabel Macneill was appointed commanding officer.  That September Commander Adelaide Sinclair became the first Canadian Director of the WRCNS, a position she held until the disbandment of the WRCNS in July 1946.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3526940)

Commander Adelaide Sinclair, Director of WRCNS, July 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3357059)

Lieutenant Lattimer, Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service HMCS Discovery, Vancouver, British Columbia, 23 August 1945.

Princess Alice was the Honorary Commandant of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service.  She was also the Honorary Air Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women's Division), and president of the nursing divisions of the St. John Ambulance Brigade. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950883)

Princess Alice, the Honourary Commandant of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, seated with her husband, Governor General, the Earl of Athlone, during an inspection of RCN units on the West Coast in April 1944.  The photo was taken on board the carrier HMS Smiter, commanded by Captain L.G. Richardson, RN. 

The WRCNS was revived as part of the Naval Reserve at the beginning of the Korean War.  It was disbanded a second time in 1968 when the RCN as a whole was folded into the unified CF.

A Historic Sites and Monuments' board of Canada plaque in Halifax commemorates the WRCNS.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232864)

CWAC, RCAF WD & WRCNS ski trg in the Laurentians, ca 1944

Source Wikipedia and the Encylcopedia Canadiana.