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Love and War in the WRNS by Vicky Unwin - review: Wren’s letters give a fresh view of the Second World War | London Evening Standard
This collection of letters offers a tantalising glimpse into the rarefied world of the Wrens.
Love and War in the WRNS by Vicky Unwin (The History Press, £20)
“Join the Navy, see the world,” as the old recruitment posters put it — and for Sheila Mills, a Norfolk girl who volunteered for the Women’s Royal Naval Service a fortnight after her 18th birthday, it certainly seemed to be true. In May 1942 she was posted to Alexandria, attached to the head office of the Mediterranean campaign. Three years later, less than a fortnight after Victory in Europe was declared, she found herself stationed in Kiel, living and working in the land of her former enemies.
Throughout her time abroad, Sheila stayed in almost daily contact with her mother Grace and, 70 years later, her letters home have been edited for publication by her own daughter Vicky Unwin. Perhaps an editor with less personal investment would have been more ruthless with the source material — at almost 350 pages, the resulting book feels overextended — but Unwin’s selection manages to both illuminate the history of the war and draw the reader in to Sheila’s personal story.
The first-hand accounts of “The Flap” of 1942, when British personnel were hastily evacuated from Alexandria, working with Admiral Ramsey on preparations for the invasion of Sicily, and attending the trials of those responsible for the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (“just horrid” is Sheila’s characteristically blunt response) offer a valuable contemporary perspective, and she was well aware of her good fortune in witnessing such epochal events.
In September 1943, when the defeated Italian fleet arrived at Alexandria, many of her friends stayed in bed but Sheila “wouldn’t have missed that sight for anything — it was history”.
uk  navy  wrens  uniform  WWII  40s  writing  books  family 
3 days ago by rgl7194
The History Press | Writing Love and War in the WRNS
Nine days after moving her into sheltered accommodation, my mother had a stroke and died. It was heartbreaking to begin the gargantuan task of re-packing and sorting all her possessions again so soon after we had ‘got her straight’, as she would have said. There were a few boxes and bags I had not yet got round to when she moved, amongst them three large black bin-liners. Imagine my surprise when I opened them to find hundreds of letters in neat bundles, some in envelopes (recycled of course), sorted by year.
I knew my mother, was about to embark on her memoirs, but as her first book, a history of The Arab Chest, took her twenty years, I had been somewhat cynical. But here was the evidence. She had always been proud of her war, and said they were the best years of her life. I determined then and there to finish the job. 
Born in Norfolk to a social-climbing, bossy mother and a bullied, intellectual father, my mother joined up to the WRNS (Womens’ Royal Naval Service) as a means of escape when she was just 18. She was posted to Scotland for training and then to Egypt, via the Cape, with a commission at the tender age of 21. In 1945 she was sent to Germany as part of the forces overseeing the peace. For a country girl this was quite an eye opener and transformed her from a naïve and green teenager into a sophisticated and compassionate woman of the world.
uk  navy  wrens  uniform  WWII  40s  writing  books  family 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Navy reverting DDGs back to physical throttles, after fleet rejects touchscreen controls • USNI News
Megan Eckstein:
<p>The Navy will begin reverting destroyers back to a physical throttle and traditional helm control system in the next 18 to 24 months, after the fleet overwhelmingly said they prefer mechanical controls to touchscreen systems in the aftermath of the fatal USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) collision.

The <a href="">investigation into the collision</a> showed that a touchscreen system that was complex and that sailors had been poorly trained to use contributed to a loss of control of the ship just before it crossed paths with a merchant ship in the Singapore Strait. After the Navy released a Comprehensive Review related to the McCain and the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collisions, Naval Sea Systems Command conducted fleet surveys regarding some of the engineering recommendations, Program Executive Officer for Ships Rear Adm. Bill Galinis said.

“When we started getting the feedback from the fleet from the Comprehensive Review effort – it was SEA 21 (NAVSEA’s surface ship lifecycle management organization) that kind of took the lead on doing some fleet surveys and whatnot – it was really eye-opening. And it goes into the, in my mind, ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’ category. We really made the helm control system, specifically on the [DDG] 51 class, just overly complex, with the touch screens under glass and all this kind of stuff,” Galinis said during a keynote speech at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ annual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium.</p>

I saw this via Tony Fadell (as in, the iPod and Nest). Now if Elon Musk had tweeted it, that would have been really notable and I'd have expected retrofits on Teslas. As it is...

Also, the reason why the iPhone had a touchscreen was to allow a single screen to do multiple jobs via software. That's just not the case for an engine throttle, which is a classic YHOJ.
navy  touchscreen  software  ux  ui 
4 days ago by charlesarthur
JAG - Season 6 Episode 10: Touch and Go - Metacritic
Summary: Harm's former partner Kate Pike is considering transferring back to the JAG office. It becomes complicated when a former CO of Kate is being considered as the new Inspector General and Kate confides to Harm that he made unwanted sexual advances to her when she worked for him. Lt. Singer appears at the door during Kate's conversation and soon afterward, the affair is reported by the Washington media, although Harm suspects Lt. Singer as the source, she denies she overheard anything. Eventually, Kate decides that Washington is just not the place to work and decides to turn down the Admiral's job offer.
jag  tv  navy  uniform  2000s  legal  synopsis 
6 days ago by rgl7194
"JAG" Touch and Go (TV Episode 2001) - IMDb
Cdr. Kate Pike briefly passes through the JAG headquarters, the SecNav cancels orders for a rear admiral, and Bud represents an attractive woman Marine corporal who wishes to attend Officer Candidate School, but a tattoo gets in the way.
jag  tv  navy  uniform  2000s  legal  synopsis 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Touch and Go - 120 | JAG Episode Summaries
Caitlin Pike is back at JAG, TDY, and Chegwidden (C) offered her a position which made Singer (S) jealous. Adm Curt Hollenbeck, a friend of Cs, was selected to be the new Inspector General. Pike told Harm (H) that Hollenbeck had groped her four years earlier and they were overheard by S. Pike also told Mac (M) of an additional un-amicable affair with another senior officer who had then given her a bad fit rep that had hurt her career. The story about Hollenbeck leaked to the press and H accused S of doing it. She didn’t deny it – just ‘You know me so little.” Hollenbeck was charged with conduct unbecoming and M got C to recuse her from defending him in an article 32 hearing. Harm prosecuted. Mattoni defended and asked S to “dig up dirt” on Pike for his defense.
Bud (B) defended a female Cpl, with a tattoo on her gluteus, whose CO wouldn’t approve her promotion without the standard photo disclosure. The Cpl refused, claiming gender discrimination. Bud failed to be able to circumvent the CO so the Cpl finally relented. Then the CO didn’t even look at the photo, but tore it up saying he “just didn’t want to give her special treatment.” Mattoni then brought out Pikes previous affair to discredit her on the stand and Pike accused M of “tattling.” Mac told pike that she was “indiscrete” and to “shut her big mouth before she said something else that M shouldn’t hear.” Hollenbeck explained that he had accidentally slipped; but, that when he tried to explain it, Pike had cut him off so he just let it lie. Harm got the SECNAV to waive the confidentiality of Pikes previous promotion board and found that Hollenbeck had been on the promotion board. On the stand he questioned Hollenbeck why Kate had been “deep selected” from the “low zone” over Brockman’s bad report and suggested impropriety.
Hollenbeck’s appointment as Inspector General was cancelled. Brumby (Brum) finally realized that how he pursued M could be considered sexual harassment – “I was relentless.” Chegwidden’s toast to Brum and Ms engagement was: “the only gift greater than the air in your lungs is the hand you hold.” Pike left Washington telling S she held her in contempt. She told H that the last thing he needed in his life was a third woman – her, Mac and Renee (who had all been very awkward with each other.)
jag  tv  navy  uniform  2000s  legal  synopsis 
6 days ago by rgl7194
recruiting Women Marines - Sociological Images
Kate N. pointed us towards this article in the New York Times today discussing 25 years of Marines recruitment aimed at women. Below is the content of their slide show.
The article says that the Marines have only recently began a concerted attempt to recruit women. Does anyone have any information about the shift in the racial targeting? Or is that just an artifact of the slide show?
Thanks so much for the tip, Kate!
Also in military recruitment: which military would you join?, the homefront, and war as entertainment.
women  military  navy  uniform  poster  nytimes  70s  80s  90s  2000s 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Sink the Bismarck! Review (1960)
Review: Captain Jonathan Shepard (Kenneth More) arrives in London and makes his way across the capital towards the operations of the British Navy, for the year is 1941 and the Second World War is into its second year of conflict with no end in sight. Maybe if the isolated Britain could score a military victory after the humiliation of Dunkirk things might look brighter, yet as far as the Navy are concerned there's only one goal that would achieve that, which would be to successfully put the German battleship The Bismarck out of action. A formidable feat of engineering and military aggression, it has been causing enormous problems for the Brits - can Shepard help?
This was a war movie based on fact, rather than an invented men on a mission yarn that would increasingly litter the genre as the nineteen-fifties moved into the sixties. But in the decade previous to this release in 1960, it was notable how popular the form had been with British audiences who did not care that the critics and tastemakers were pointing out these efforts were appealing to a patriotism that all these years after the fact was outdated and even patronising. Those audiences were happy to bask in the glory of their country's finest hour, and many of those moviegoers had had first hand experience of the war and wanted reassurance it wasn't in vain.
movies  WWII  women  uniform  navy  uk  60s  review 
7 days ago by rgl7194
Sink the Bismarck | Black and White Movies
This is the true story of a crucial but not very well-known episode of the second world war. The British navy learns that the Germans are sending a huge battleship to wreak havoc in the Atlantic, and they must stop it, whatever the cost.
If you are at all interested in history and World War II, then this film is a must-see. Watching Sink the Bismark will be one of the most interesting history lessons you will ever have. The movie alternates Apollo 13 style between the back-room strategists and the action on board the ships (both British and German). The special effects might not quite be up to the standards of Ron Howard’s Hollywood blockbuster but it makes up for it with tension and excitement.
movies  WWII  women  uniform  navy  uk  60s  review 
7 days ago by rgl7194
Sink the Bismarck! (1960) A British Movie About One of the Most Crucial Moments in British History | All About War Movies
The British black and white movie Sink the Bismarck! tells the true account of one of the most difficult moments during WWII. The new German battleship the Bismarck was the biggest and most powerful battleship to ever cruise the sea. A frightening enemy that had to be stopped before it could break loose and reach the Atlantic. The war on the North Atlantic was at its height and so were the British losses at sea.
Sink the Bismarck! switches back and forth between scenes in the war room and scenes at sea. As a narrator states at the beginning of the movie, the war is fought at sea but the decisions are made in the war room. The scenes taking place in the war room resemble many others that are depicted in British movies but they are much more psychological. The filmmakers decided to focus closely on Captain Shepard who has been promoted and is in charge of the navy on land and on his assistant, Anne Davis, a young woman whose fiancé died at the beginning of the war. Shepard himself is grieving for his wife and one of his sons. He is shown as hard and rigid in the beginning but he changes considerably over the course of the movie. The people around him, although annoyed by his harshness, still know that he has to take some of the most difficult decisions that have to be taken during the war.
movies  WWII  women  uniform  navy  uk  60s  review 
7 days ago by rgl7194
Sink the Bismarck! – review | cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online
The postwar British film industry relied heavily on "now the story can be told" accounts of engagements that helped turn the Second World War in favour of the Allies. Too many were smug action adventures that devalued the true heroism of the exploits they depicted, but this fine film fully captures the tensions, dangers and complexities of battle by concentrating on the unsung back-room planners as much as on the combatants themselves. There are necessary caricatures on both sides, but at the same time there is a respect for the enemy that is missing in many previous flag-wavers. An unusually restrained Kenneth More is first-rate as director of operations at the Admiralty.
Fact-based Second World War drama, charting the mission to track down and eliminate the pride of the German fleet, a fearsome battleship devastating British vessels in the North Atlantic, orchestrated by a British naval officer recovering from his wife's death in an air raid. Starring Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Laurence Naismith and Karel Stepanek.
movies  WWII  women  uniform  navy  uk  60s  review 
7 days ago by rgl7194

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