HC Deb 16 July 1941 vol 373 cc585-6
Viscountess Davidson

(By Private Notice) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the recent change of status of the A.T.S. and W.A.A.F., it is the intention of the Admiralty to authorise any comparable change in the status of the W.R.N.S.

The First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. A. V. Alexander)

No, Sir. The Board of Admiralty are satisfied that the present status, organisation and system of discipline of the W.R.N.S. are such as to enable that Service fully to meet the obligations laid upon its members. At the same time, I should not like the House to infer from this that the tie between the W.R.N.S. and the Navy is any less close than that between the A.T.S. and Army, or that between the W.A.A.F. and Air Force; or that the W.R.N.S. make a less significant contribution to the war effort of the Royal Navy than the other two women's auxiliary services make to the war effort of the Fighting Services to which they are affiliated. Such an inference would be entirely at variance with the facts. The W.R.N.S. have rendered and are rendering invaluable services by carrying out a variety of duties which would otherwise have to be performed by officers and ratings of the Navy, and I should like to take this opportunity of paying a tribute to the wonderful spirit and fine sense of discipline shown by all ranks in their ever increasing numbers. They are proud to be associated with the Royal Navy, and the Navy is equally ready to acknowledge its obligation to them.

Captain John Dugdale

Is it not possible for these young ladies to receive a uniform and a hat which would be more becoming to them and set off their beauty to greater advantage?

Mr. Alexander

I have views about millinery myself, but I must say that the position in regard to the recruitment of the "Wrens" does not seem to indicate that they are not attracted by the uniform.