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Woman Officer Sets Precedent In Royal Navy

SYDNEY, July 14. H'ARDENED seadogs must, have been taken aback when SecondOfficer D. Garrette Reid, W.R.N.S., came aboard H.M.S. Duke of York at Colombo recently and took up her quarters for her journey to Australia.

The only woman among more than 2000 men on board, Second-Officer Reid created a precedent in the Royal Navy Wrens have travelled m small groups in aircraft-carriers, but until she made the journey no woman had ever travelled as the only single ■feminine passenger, in a battleship. " That she caused something of a sensation in the beginning was indicated by the men's reaction. "They called me 'sir' instead of 'ma'am' until they became used to seeing me around," Second-Officer Rpid said on her arrival in Sydney recently. "There were no special circumstances concerned with my travelling in the ship. I was coming to Australia, there was no other ship available, so why not the Duke of York?" , . Second-Officer Reid occupied the suite which had been occupied by the Commander-in-Chief of the British Pacific Fleet, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, when he was on board the Duke of Yor.k as Admiral Commanding the British Home F'eet in Arctic writers, and the battleship sank the Schamhorst off North Capo. Norway. Enjoyed Herself She was accepted in the wardroom as one of the ofHcers, and in her cabin the admiral's steward was in attendance. During the journey she read a good deal, wrote letters, toured the ship, and generally enjoyed herself.

During the crossing of the Line, Second-Officer Reid, who had taken part in two previous ceremonies, made-up Neptune's "wife" and two "mermaids" for the ceremonj r aboard the battleship.

"I used up quite a lot of lipstick, and one of the sailors told me he had never been made up by a lady before," she said. A member of the W.R.N.S. since 19'!0, Second-Officer Reid has been overseas for two years. During the last year she has spent six months in Colombo, and Uvea for five months in the jungle on a Nayal Air Station in Ceylon.

A secretary before the war. and now a coder in the W.R.N.S., she was for a whi'e secretary to an important section of Combined Operations, Whiten?!), during the planning of the Sicilian invasion. Later she was secretary to the trawler division of the Royal Navy at Durban, and occasionally went "out on gun trials for "sea experience."' Travelling from Port Said to Durban with 120 Wren; in "one of tho=£ Egyptian trains." Second -Officer Reid said thc> were taken from the train in a tru& and di'mped in the doeert near fsmai'ia. where fhe unit lived under canvas fo" several months.

In Sydney Second-Officer Reid i.s attached to the C.1.C., British Pacific Fleet.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450716.2.36

Bibliographic details

Woman Officer Sets Precedent In Royal Navy, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 166, 16 July 1945

Word Count
459

Woman Officer Sets Precedent In Royal Navy Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 166, 16 July 1945

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