Women and war: women’s uniforms

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Women and war: women’s uniforms

Hello Caird Library Blog followers. My name is Sonia and I am the Library Assistant who, from now on, will be looking after the Caird Library blog. I joined the Caird Library and Archive team in 2010 and, when not on duty in the Reading Room, I assist with cataloguing new acquisitions for the library and answering written enquiries. Since the beginning of the centenary commemorations for the First World War I have become interested in the role of women during the conflict and in this month’s blog I look at women’s uniforms.

When in November 1917 the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) was established, members of the service wore civilian clothing, despite the intention of the Royal Navy to have women members dressed in a ‘distinctive uniform’. Women’s uniforms made their first appearance in February 1918. ‘WRNS outfit consisted of ankle-length, dressing-gown style which was buttoned up at the front to a miniature sailor collar. The uniform was worn with heavy boots and the pudding-basin style hat’ (Harris, C. (2001). Women at war in uniform 1939-1945, page 6 – Library ID: PBF2946).

Women's and war: Wrens uniform - Object ID UNI1008.1

Women’s and war: Wrens uniform – Object ID UNI1008.1


If you would like to know more about women’s uniform, volumes on the topic are available to be consulted in the Caird Library. Items can be searched for via the online Library catalogue using ‘women and uniform’ as search terms.

Additionally, archive material on women’s uniforms is available as part of the Dauntless collection (Ref. DAU).

Lastly, images of WRNS uniforms can be seen via the Museum’s Collections online .

Sonia (Library Assistant)


7 Comments so far:

  1. Darren says:

    Excellent and informative post, Sonia – and I look forward to reading many more!

  2. Gregory says:

    Hello Sonia,

    Well done, very interesting blog. Do you know if there are any WREN uniforms on display at Greenwich? I’d love to see some.


  3. Gregory says:

    Thank you very much.

    I look forward to visiting your fantastic museum with my Italian friends who come to visit me during the upcoming Bank Holiday.


  4. Nabila says:

    Really cool post, Sonia! Visitors should be allowed to try on the uniforms (or at least, a replica!). Do you think that with the upcoming centenary in 2017 there will be special events at the NMM to celebrate it? Looking forward to reading more about the Caird’s collection!

    • sbacca says:

      Dear Nabila, thank you for your comment!! I will pass on your suggestion to the curatorial staff. Keep checking the Caird Library blog: more interesting articles on their way…

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