Remembering my time in the WRNS

When war broke out I was living outside Richhill, near Armagh. Initially I decided to become a nurse, despite opposition from my parents, because in those days uniforms, books etc had to be paid for and pay was only £35 per month. Soon after the war started I went off to England to join the WRENS. Travelling on the boat to Liverpool I met George Adamson from Stramore Road Gilford, who had previously worked in Kinley’s butcher’s shop. George was going on embarkation leave to Africa where he was a lorry driver with the RAF.

I was posted initially to Blundelsands near Liverpool, where we were based in a building called HMS Mersey. Later we moved to Scotland, near Edinburgh to a castle belonging to the Duke of Petcluse. The WRENS then moved on to Londonderry. Whilst there we would sometimes dress in civilian clothes and row a small boat across Lough Foyle to shop in Eire, where we were able to purchase nylons etc, things no longer available in Northern Ireland.

Most of the work was administrative, but with my nursing experience I was able to combine both roles whilst in the WRENS. After leaving Northern Ireland the WRENS moved back to Liverpool. Whilst there we endured the severe bombing of the city, and eventually I finished my war years in London.

After the initial meeting with George we kept in touch during the war years, and when war ended I returned home to Richhill, where I then nursed an ailing relative. George returned to Gilford. When we married we were fortunate enough to be allocated one of the newly built Council Houses – Hillcrest – at the top of Whinney Hill in Gilford. It was here that our two children Dorothy and Ian were born. George sadly died in 1997.

Until very recently I still continued to parade enthusiastically with the British Legion each year on Remembrance Sunday. I certainly have no regrets of the time I spent in the forces. In fact I could honestly say I loved every minute of it.