(Wrens) women in WW2

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Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby melanieblake » Sun May 02, 2010 1:35 pm

Gina K wrote:My Grandmother used to tell me tales about when she was in the WRNS during WW2.

Gran joined the Wrens when she was just turned 18 and after a few months training in England was posted to Malta where she worked as a clerk/typist at a large base near Valetta. She said that once overseas the discipline was a lot stricter than in England. And that Wren ratings were subject to corporal punishment in the form of caning if they misbehaved.

The judge and jury for imposing such discipline was the commandant of Wrens on the base. Gran described her as being in her 40s and spoke with a very "posh" accent. She said though she was a fair woman but had a reputation for giving very short shrift to any Wrens who misbehaved. I suppose with over 200 hormonal young women in charge she needed to be firm. So she would frequently order a caning for any ratings who misbehaved if she thought it needed.

My Gran’s first experience of such naval discipline was soon after her arrival in Malta. She and three of her pals were not back to base before the time were supposed to be after being out one night. They were caught trying to sneak back on to the base through the fence.

Appearing before the commandant the following morning she ordered all four of them to be given six strokes of the cane on the seat of the knickers. The punishment was carried out nearly straight away. Gran and her three co-offenders who were all a similar age to her were taken to an adjacent gymnasium and had to change into their PT kit. Each in turn then had to bend over a vaulting horse and were given six strokes of the cane on the seat of their gym-knickers. The canings were administered by a Chief Wren (equivalent to Chief Petty Officer). Gran described her as being a very stout woman, quite masculine looking with a very sour face. She tanned their arses using a slim and whippy crook handled cane of the type normally used on the backsides of juvenile boys in the navy. Gran said it hurt worse than anything other than childbirth.

Gran and her for mates had to get back to work soon after their punishments. Gran said she couldn't sit down afterwards her bum was so sore. She had to stand at her desk for the rest of the day. This brought a few wry comments from the people she worked with and visitors to her office. It soon became common knowledge that she had recently been caned. She couldn't sit comfortably for days and it was a few weeks before marks faded altogether.

Gran also told me of another caning she witnessed some time later. This was of three young Wrens who had been found guilty of stealing stuff from the stores where they worked and selling it on the black market. The commandant thought in this case an example needed to be made. The three were sentenced to a period of detention. But the commandant also ordered that they would be caned in front of the whole "Ships Company".

All the Wren ratings on the base were assembled in the same gymnasium where Gran had been caned to witness the punishments of the three miscreants. There were two younger girls who were about 18/19 who were to get 10 strokes of the cane each and an older girl aged about 20 who was considered the ringleader was going to get 12 strokes.

Gran said punishments were carried out by the same Wren Chief Petty Officer who had caned her and her gang. She was also using a similar cane to one that she had felt on her own backside.

The three were marched into the gym under escort dressed in their PT kit. Each girl was then in turn was held bent over a gym horse. But unlike gran and her mates once over the horse these three had their navy gym-knickers pulled down! Their bottoms bared for all to see!

As Gran knew from her own painful experience that the sour-faced female CPO had a strong arm. She said her own behind tingled in sympathy as the whippy cane relentlessly did its job reddening the three bare behinds one after the other! Each girl raised as they got their arses tanned good and proper, naval fashion!

Gran said by the end of their punishments the trio were bawling as though they would never stop. All three were lined up handcuffed with their arms stretched up on gym's wall-bars with their caned backsides on display for all to see as the rest of the Wrens filed out of the gym.

Gran said witnessing the canings and the sight of the three red-raw striped backsides they produced certainly had the intended deterrent effect on the rest of the young women.


An interesting account by Gina. Im sure you gran behaved herself afterwards LOL.


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Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby markuk » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:52 pm

Just joined this forum and searching through the archive. This topic reminded me of a letter from Mavis Parker I read a few years ago in the Daily Telegraph.

Bare bottom caning

Your correspondent who as a Wren was caned over her knickers had it easy (Letters, January 29). In the 1940s, it was a daily routine for cadets at the Royal Naval School in Portsmouth to be beaten on their bare buttocks.

Once, for carelessly discharging a clip of live ammunition, the commanding officer gave me 30 of the very best and I could not sit down for five days.

Mavis Parker, Quorn, Leicestershire



Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby doffieg » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:57 pm

i served inthe wrns from september 1942 when i was seventeen and a half never heard of anyone being caned and i am certain that no wren was allowed to serve overseas until they were twenty one years old i left after four and a half years a leading wren "bunting tosser" worked firstly at hms northney1 hayling island afterwards at donibristle and the st. enochs glasgow ending my service at shotley hms ganges..happy days


Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby joey7399 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:52 am

although not allowed my sister is in the navvy and its not all that uncommon for a officer to suggest the cane as against being put on a charge its bean offered to her twice and each time she has excepted the cane

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Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby bobeee1 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:29 pm

Did you mean to say accepted

Times Change

Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby Times Change » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:34 pm

Until 1970, you were legally a child until 21 and before the war the cane was quite commonly used by parents, so it wouldn't seem as shocking at that time as it does now.
My cousin reached 21 in 1969 and insists that she was frequently smacked across the legs at the age of 20, and also that a lot of her female friends were treated similarly, usually for stopping out late or getting home drunk.

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Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby manojob » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:22 am

I don't Know about that.

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Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby Daniella70 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:23 pm

I have never read or heard about WREN being disciplined but I find it interesting.
I was strapped and spanked, at home, well after the age of 18 when I deserved it.

Would anyone care to reply to a question about Wren uniform during WW2 ?

Thanks in advance



Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby Unbeliever » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:56 pm

Come on folks, these wild tales of wren discipline have been around for years, no need to get all 'how dare they', it's just made up fantasy.


Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:49 pm

Unbeliever wrote:Come on folks, these wild tales of wren discipline have been around for years, no need to get all 'how dare they', it's just made up fantasy.

Most stuff posted here is utter rubbish

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Re: (Wrens) women in WW2

Postby BeckyTheBest » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:10 am

An old friend of the family who was in the WRNS (now, alas, deceased) used to speak of her experiences ... but never of corporal punishment.

Two stories that stand out were firstly, that whenever they moved to a new base, there were never any plugs in the baths. She used to curse the lack of public spirit of the thieves who took the plugs, leaving everyone else unable to take a bath. Then one day they moved to a new base where she found that one (only) of the baths DID still have its plug. So she swiped it, and carried it around as her personal plug for the rest of the war ...

The other story was how she used to be one of a number of girls responsible for arming the Swordfish biplanes with torpedoes ... and if you fitted them wrongly, the release gear wouldn't work. So every so often, as the planes came back, they'd see one of them still had a torpedo slung to its underside, and they just PRAYED it wasn't the one they'd worked on, because whoever had fitted the torpedo would get a right roasting from the pilot as soon as they landed (pilots for some reason didn't like having to land an aeroplane with enough live explosive to sink a battleship slung to its underside ... )

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