Jack Tar and the Jenny WRNR


To return to an old favourite I just came across an old WW2 Royal Navy anecdote about a woman called Jenny who served in the Women’s Royal Navy Reserve during that war. I had meant to publish before my sabbatical of a couple of years back. Not sure of its source now, or indeed its veracity, but for what it is worth here it is.

Further to the account about the caning of women sailors in the Royal Navy. My Aunt Jenny served in a small naval establishment in the West Country (England) during the war. I am honestly not sure what rank she held but I do know that she worked with a small team tracking and filing communications linked to the Atlantic monitoring of U-Boats in some way. She never really talked about the military side of things.

She did tell me about the grizzled old officer who was her commander fed up to the back teeth, as she told it, with a lot frivolous young women late on duty and coming late back from the town after a visit to the pub. She said anyone caught out of line was called to his office for a rollicking and quite often a ‘good hiding.’

I was shocked, but she told it as a ribald tale and always laughed about it. She said if they were lucky they would just get a spanking – swats on the seat of the skirt with a plimsoll while bending over. On at least one occasion she got a bare-bottomed spanking over his knee with a short piece of wood. “A thorough affair,” she said, that always left a girl sobbing and with a very red bottom. I gather she wasn’t the only one.

More often, she said, it was the cane. Up to 30 strokes while bent over a desk, always on the bare, and usually with a witness. Jenny told me that she lost count of the number of times she got a good hiding in this way, and apart from the first time, when she got 12, she never got less than 24.

“It was completely embarrassing and meant to be,” she told me. A funny look would come over her, sort of wistful. She told the same stories often and always like they were fond memories.

She and two friends were once caught climbing a barbed wire fence late back from town. Her friend tore her skirt badly and she admitted they were drunk. All three got hauled in to see the old man the next day and each got 30 hard strokes, all on the bare bottom as usual. Jenny said she couldn’t sit down for two or three days after.

From the way she talked it all sounded quite routine and often fairly informal.

Ruth T, Salisbury

That, folks is all I know about this account.

Here is more on this here and a perhaps prescient story here along similar lines.

2 Responses to “Jack Tar and the Jenny WRNR”

  1. As it should be! 🙂

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