Film: 9133

War + Military | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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An examination of women's roles in the WRENS, the duties they perform and the opportunities available to women in the Royal Navy armed services 1970's

Some narration by the officers and cadets and information on the three avenues available to women wishing to joining the Women's Royal Naval Service.

A helicopter hovers over the sea. A woman descends from the helicopter on a safety harness and lands safely on a Naval aircraft carrier ship, she unhooks her harness and the helicopter flies away. The women removes her helmet and salutes the Navy officer who has come to meet her. The women begins a narration describing who she is and that she is a Third Officer in the WRENS. Her work involves checking the aircraft carrier's gunnery equipment. She chats to the Naval officer, there are 2 servicemen behind them in full protective clothing. The 3rd Officer and the Naval Officer walk off. The ship continues to sail on. Inside the ship in an operational room, the 3rd Officer inspects Royal Navy personnel operating machines, she checks to see that the machines are being operated correctly. The 3rd Officer and the Naval Officer walk on deck and are greeted by the Captain of the ship. Together they watch a missile being launched. The missile flies over the sea and the 3rd Officer watches it through binoculars, while she narrates an outline of her work history and the reasons why she joined the WRENS. Images of the Captain, the missile and other military equipment on the vessel. The Captain orders another missile to be fired over his radio. The second missile is fired and tracks and destroys the first. The 3rd Officer watches through the binoculars and when the second missile destroys the first she congratulates the Captain.
A high view of another Naval ship marked F94 that is docked in a harbour. Along the quayside is a row of parked cars. The view is taken from a high window of a building so the harbour and surrounding buildings can be seen. The image swings inside the room where the view was taken. A WRENS officer is looking out of the window at the view of the harbour. She is called away as a male Royal Navy Officer hands her a message. She walks across the room and sits down behind a desk. Another woman, her assistant sits at another desk behind her. The WRENS Officer asks her assistant about the number of Naval exercises that are scheduled in London for the following day. The assistant replies but to check the WRENS Officer telephones London airport. A narrator explains that this WRENS Officer is also involved with weapon training. The WRENS Officer narrates a summary of her duties, she organises training exercises for ships, aircraft and submarines for the Navy. She concludes her conversation on the telephone and puts the receiver down. She instructs her assistant which training area will be used for the exercise the next day. The assistant walks over to a chart and places an image of a vessel in the corresponding area to illustrate that this will be where the exercise takes place. A male Naval Officer enters the room and asks the WRENS Officer for the training programme. The narrator explains the WRENS duties and that the lives of many personnel are her responsibility. The narrator explains that to become an officer, cadets begin their training at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
Close up of the logo of The Lieutenants Course, Greenwich. In a classroom at the College a lecturer stands in front of a classroom of Navy and WRENS cadets who are seated at desks and are taking notes. Behind the lecturer is an old map of Asia. The narrator outlines the variety of courses offered by the Royal Naval College and the range of subjects that the courses cover. Close up of several WRENS cadets who are undertaking the Officer course. One of the WRENS cadets narrates an outline of her training. Outside view of the Royal Naval College, a WRENS servicewoman walks down the wide stone steps outside the building, she walks towards the lawn in front of the College whilst she narrates her feelings towards the College and her training. On the parade ground, a WRENS Officer gives drill instruction to a group of WRENS cadets. This WRENS Officer also narrates her experiences in the WRENS and states that she entered the service through the Direct Entry Scheme. The narrator explains further about this Scheme and how recruits can join the service. The cadets still drill on the parade.
In a classroom of the College, male and female cadets are listening to a WRENS Officer giving a lecture. Close up of an ornate ceiling painted with many classical images. The narrator explains that this ceiling is in the Great Painted Hall in the College. The image moves from the ceiling down to show the entire Hall which was built during the reign of William III. The hall is furnished by tow long dining tables which are decorated by lamps. Dining chairs line both sides of both tables, and on one table a group of cadets, male and female, are enjoying a meal. Attendants in white coats hover around the cadets and serve them with wine and food. The narrator describes some of the artwork in the Great Painted Hall, the artist of the paintings was Sir James Thornhill. Close up of the cadets enjoying their meal. One of the WRENS cadets narrates a description of their workload and how they enjoy their free time. A London street, a group of WRENS cadets in civilian clothing walk along, chatting. They pause to look at the façade of the Natural History Museum before going inside. A street beside the Houses of Parliament. The group of Cadets approach the entrance to the Houses of Parliament. They talk to the policeman on the entrance to the Houses of Parliament and explain that they have an appointment. The policeman directs them inside and gives them directions as to where they should be going. At the Royal Naval College in Greenwich two WRENS cadets are being instructed by a male tutor in the sport of fencing on the lawn outside the building. Elsewhere in the College grounds, another male instructor directs a WRENS cadet who is jumping on a trampoline. Inside the College, a tailor measures a WRENS cadet for her new uniform. The narrator explains that another method of entry into the WRENS service is by the Cadet Entrance Scheme. The cadet being measured for her uniform narrates what this Scheme involves. Outside the College on the parade ground, a group of WRENS cadets are in uniform and standing to attention. The narrator explains that It is their passing out parade, and that the cadets are given a probationary commission as 3rd Officers. The family and friends of the cadets watch the parade. The cadets are inspected by the Admiral, President of the College and two senior W.R.E.N.S. Officers. The Admiral presents a framed picture to one of the cadets, the narrator explains that this is awarded to the best cadet. The on-lookers watch the presentation. The cadets march past the Admiral and the senior W.R.E.N.S. Officers in three rows. After the parade the cadets and the on-lookers mingle together and chat. The narrator explains that the cadets will still have to remain at the College for another month before taking on a new role. A residential street and a young women opens a front door and leaves a house. She narrates why she joined the WRENS. She explains that she works for HMS Collingwood in the personnel department. Her duties include assessing personnel for their suitability for various occupations within the Navy. She drives to work in her car. At her work, she sits behind a desk in a small interview room. A woman opens the door and lets a young male Naval Seaman into the room. The WRENS invites the Seaman to sit down opposite her. She begins interviewing him, while her narration explains that she joined the WRENS by the Direct Entry Method with an aim to working in the personnel department. The narrator further explains that officers who enter the service via the Direct Entry Method often know which area they wish to work in. Another office, and a WRENS Officer and 3 male Navy personnel are standing in front of a large desk computer. Two other male Navy personnel look on from behind. The WRENS Officer narrates that she wanted to work with computers. She is giving the Navy personnel instruction in the operation of the computer. The narrator explains that many skills learnt in the services are useful in civilian life. A close up of the computer working.
A distant view over parkland to a large white house. Close up of the house and a sign saying HMS Dryad. The house is a naval base. Close up of someone putting a cup of tea on a bedside table. A young woman sits up in bed and drinks the cup of tea. The young woman narrates that she is a WRENS at HMS Dryad. She explains that all the woman there in the WRENS have their own rooms. Images that pan around the room to show her dressing table, her ornaments, a chest of drawers, a sink and an armchair. Her narration explains that there are also communal lounge rooms, kitchen and laundry. She is dressed in uniform and is applying lipstick in front of the mirror on her dressing table. She narrates a description of her duties, she arranges courses and also transport for the Navy officers and any other requirements they may ask of her. She leaves her room. Close up of the ornaments and fluffy toy on her dressing table. She arrives at her office and greets a male Officer who is seated at the desk next to hers. As she sits down at her desk, her male colleague informs her that they are expecting a surprise visit and inspection the following day. The narrator explains that the job keeps all personnel very busy. A country lane or bridleway and five WRENS Officers are riding horses along the hedgerow. One of these Officers narrates about the activities that are available to them, shooting, tennis, riding etc. The five mounted WRENS Officers ride past the a building then take the horses over a cross-country jump. In an indoor swimming pool a woman is swimming towards us doing the breast stroke. Another woman in a bathing suit somersaults into the pool from a low diving board. Men and women are swimming and having fun in the swimming pool. They are all Navy and WRENS personnel. A WRENS servicewoman narrates that they all have busy lives, but it is fun to be in the service. A male swimming instructor shows a woman how to hold her arms when she jumps into the water, she follows his advice and jumps into the pool.
Close up of a small silver ornament on a plinth on a table. The ornament is of a submarine and an ocean wave. The view expands to show the whole dining table that the ornament is placed on. Silver candlesticks are also on the table. Men and women sit at the dining table and have a fine meal, they are all in evening dress. They are being served dessert and wine by the attendants. The narrator explains that the base holds these fine dinners several times a year.
In an office two Naval Officers are standing at a bank of machines that fill one wall. The machines are producing a white tape that has dots printed on it. The other side of the office and a WRENS Officer inspects two other WRENS personnel who are seated and working on machines that have reels of tape above them. The narrator explains that these machines are used for communication purpose, and that communication, national and international, is a vital role for the WRENS. The WRENS Officer checks with her staff that everything is alright. A member of her staff uses a strange type of keyboard. Another member of her staff attends another type of communication machine. The narrator explains that not all WRENS officers work exclusively with other WRENS. The officer who was checking her staff in the communication office is also the Divisional Officer. In the office of this Divisional Officer, and she is sitting behind her desk. A WRENS servicewoman comes into the office and is seated opposite the Divisional Officer. The WRENS servicewoman narrates that she is the assistant to the Divisional Officer and she describes their relationship, she can go to the Divisional Officer with personal problems. She also outlines her duties.
View of a large brick house. A sign above one of the doorways into the house says 'Offices of Commander-in-Chief'. There are stone stairs leading up to the door into this office. A WRENS Officer walks out of the building down the stairs. She narrates that she is a Second Officer in the Secretarial Branch. As she crosses the courtyard, she meets and salutes a senior male Naval Officer. They chat for a while. The narrator explains that the 2nd Officer will soon be taking up a post overseas. The 2nd Officer salutes the senior Naval Officer, he walks up the stone stairs and into the office of the Commander-in-Chief.
The 2nd Officer is in civilian cloths, she is disembarking from a plane, walking down the steps. She is met at the bottom of the aircraft steps by a WRENS in uniform. The 2nd Officer narrates a description of her work and her duties. They leave the airport together, there are land rovers and cars parked outside the airport terminal. They drive off in a car. They pass the Rock of Gibraltar. At a harbour, they both walk along the quayside. A panorama of the harbour. The 2nd Officer narrates her feelings about being posted to Gibraltar as the Head of the WRENS. The 2nd Officer is now in uniform too but still with the other WRENS. They walk along the pavement, salute another WRENS Officer, and enter a building. The 2nd Officer sits at her desk. There is a view of the harbour through the window behind her. She talks to a Naval Officer who is standing next to her desk. She narrates her duties in this new job.
Close up of a sign outside a building, it reads 'Main Street'. The 2nd Officer is walking along a busy city street with a Naval Officer. There are cars and many civilians. Close up on a road sign. On the left of the sign it says 'To the Apes Den' and shows an arrow pointing left. On the right of the sign it says 'St Michaels Cave' and also has an arrow indicating direction. A car drives along a road. Close up of an ape next to a wire fence. The ape climbs the fence and sits on the roof of an enclosure. The 2nd Officer watches the ape. The Naval Officer watches the ape. They stand together and watch several apes, the sea is in the background. She narrates about her life in the service. She is very happy. She stands leaning against a waist-high wall looking out over a steep drop to the sea.
Close up of a symbol 'COI'. Credits roll.

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