Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS)

Founded in 1942, the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) was established as part of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to free trained male naval personnel for war service. Between 1942 and 1946, close to 7,000 women volunteered for service in the “WRENS,” as they came to be known. These women served in Canada, the United States, England, Ireland, and Scotland. In Saskatchewan, WRENS served in the shore establishments, HMCS Queen and HMCS Unicorn. The WRCNS was demobilized in August 1946, but in 1951 the Canadian government again established a Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve. On February 1, 1968, the WRCNS, along with the RCN, was eliminated under the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act.

Peter Borch


Further Reading

Fletcher, M.H. 1989. The WRNS: A History of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press; Klein, Y.M. (ed.). 1997. Beyond the Home Front: Women’s Autobiographical Writing of the Two World Wars. London: Macmillan.