The Women’s Royal Naval Service was formed in 1917 when the call was for volunteers to release a man for sea service.
At the peak there was over 5,000 women serving in Britain and overseas, but efforts to maintain the service in peace time were unsuccessful, and it was to be 1939, when the Second World War threatened, before the Wrens were reformed.
Theirs was a different and altogether more demanding role which involved the carrying out of some highly secret and responsible duties, and many more of them served outside Britain.
By 1945 there were over 75,000 officers and ratings and when the War ended, and those who wished were demobilized, a permanent Service was set up, providing a career for women alongside men of the Royal Navy.
This is their story, often told in their own words, which mirrors the changing place of women in our society in a century of tremendous social progress.