More on discipline for WRNS
Tracking back on a link to this site, there was a discussion on naval discipline for women serving in the navy during the Second World War. Although there was some scepticism about whether women were subjected to corporal punishment or not, one of the contributors explained that WRNS were subject to a different code and regulations to the men and pointed out, as was previously discussed here, that until the 1950s women received the same treatment as boy cadets in training.
Another contributor also suggested that treatment for WRNS serving abroad was often harsher than for those with domestic postings.
Here is an account from someone called Gina K, who wrote about naval discipline for WRNS hs told to her by her grandmother.
My Grandmother used to tell me tales about when she was in the WRNS during WW2.
Gran joined the Wrens when she was just turned 18 and after a few months training in England was posted to Malta where she worked as a clerk/typist at a large base near Valetta. She said that once overseas the discipline was a lot stricter than in England. And that Wren ratings were subject to corporal punishment in the form of caning if they misbehaved.
The judge and jury for imposing such discipline was the commandant of Wrens on the base. Gran described her as being in her 40s and spoke with a very “posh” accent. She said though she was a fair woman but had a reputation for giving very short shrift to any Wrens who misbehaved. I suppose with over 200 hormonal young women in charge she needed to be firm. So she would frequently order a caning for any ratings who misbehaved if she thought it needed.
My Gran’s first experience of such naval discipline was soon after her arrival in Malta. She and three of her pals were not back to base before the time were supposed to be after being out one night. They were caught trying to sneak back on to the base through the fence.
Appearing before the commandant the following morning she ordered all four of them to be given six strokes of the cane on the seat of the knickers. The punishment was carried out nearly straight away. Gran and her three co-offenders who were all a similar age to her were taken to an adjacent gymnasium and had to change into their PT kit. Each in turn then had to bend over a vaulting horse and were given six strokes of the cane on the seat of their gym-knickers. The canings were administered by a Chief Wren (equivalent to Chief Petty Officer). Gran described her as being a very stout woman, quite masculine looking with a very sour face. She tanned their arses using a slim and whippy crook handled cane of the type normally used on the backsides of juvenile boys in the navy. Gran said it hurt worse than anything other than childbirth.
Gran and her mates had to get back to work soon after their punishments. Gran said she couldn’t sit down afterwards her bum was so sore. She had to stand at her desk for the rest of the day. This brought a few wry comments from the people she worked with and visitors to her office. It soon became common knowledge that she had recently been caned. She couldn’t sit comfortably for days and it was a few weeks before marks faded altogether.
Gran also told me of another caning she witnessed some time later. This was of three young Wrens who had been found guilty of stealing stuff from the stores where they worked and selling it on the black market. The commandant thought in this case an example needed to be made. The three were sentenced to a period of detention. But the commandant also ordered that they would be caned in front of the whole “Ships Company”.
All the Wren ratings on the base were assembled in the same gymnasium where Gran had been caned to witness the punishments of the three miscreants. There were two younger girls who were about 18/19 who were to get 10 strokes of the cane each and an older girl aged about 20 who was considered the ringleader was going to get 12 strokes.
Gran said punishments were carried out by the same Wren Chief Petty Officer who had caned her and her gang. She was also using a similar cane to one that she had felt on her own backside.
The three were marched into the gym under escort dressed in their PT kit. Each girl was then in turn was held bent over a gym horse. But unlike gran and her mates once over the horse these three had their navy gym-knickers pulled down! Their bottoms bared for all to see!
As Gran knew from her own painful experience that the sour-faced female CPO had a strong arm. She said her own behind tingled in sympathy as the whippy cane relentlessly did its job reddening the three bare behinds one after the other! Each girl raised as they got their arses tanned good and proper, naval fashion!
Gran said by the end of their punishments the trio were bawling as though they would never stop. All three were lined up handcuffed with their arms stretched up on gym’s wall-bars with their caned backsides on display for all to see as the rest of the Wrens filed out of the gym.
Gran said witnessing the canings and the sight of the three red-raw striped backsides they produced certainly had the intended deterrent effect on the rest of the young women.
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Tags: 1940s, can't sit down, corporal punishment, discipline, military caning, public humiliation, real life spanking, the cane