Once a Wren, Always a Wren

According to Canadian historians Veronica Strong-Boag and Anita Clair Fellman, the history and experience of women, along with that of men is an important feature of Canadian history, including military history, …

“we cannot pretend to reconstruct a reasonable history of the Canadian people by ignoring the lives and participation of half of them. History without women is…a distorted history. Even in areas in which they would seemingly not figure – on the battlefield, for example – women are part of the total picture. Unless it includes the contributions of women, any portrait of the past is essentially incomplete and finally inexplicable.


Once a Wren, Always a Wren
In her address to the Wren reunion in Halifax in 1975, Commander (retired)  Isabel Macneill remarked,

“A few days ago I celebrated the 33rd anniversary of becoming a Wren. I have been a Wren for half my lifetime.”

Toward the end of her address, she recited the following:
Blue Smocks
Long talks
Marching around the park
Pork pies
Wrong size
Undressing in the dark
Sick Bay
Wrong Day
Aspirins all expended
Gathering gash
Time for hash
Lines that never ended
Pay parade
Troubles fade
Never felt so well
Gone now
But how
Steaks at the hotel
Now drafts
All laughed
Just got what I wanted
East West
Home’s Best
The Bytown draft’s undaunted

Little Wren
Now a hen
Pride of all the Navy
Say when, if again
Yes, No, or Maybe

For most of us it is NO

If again
Little Wren
Now a hen
Won’t be seen
Wearing Green!

She immediately adds, “However the spirit will go on – as long as there are Armed Forces.45 Upon disbandment of the WRCNS in 1946, Wren Associations were established in communities across Canada.


Reference Publication:

Lieutenant-Commander (retired) Karen D. Davis and Lieutenant (Navy) Stéphanie A.H. Bélanger