I’m a Navy woman

I’m a Navy woman


Yes I’m Rosemary Graydon and I came to Canada in 1957 form England with my husband our two children and our golden retriever. I was at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. And at eighteen you’re going to be called up. So I actually volunteered for the Woman’s Royal Naval Service, the WRNS. And I think partly because I had very good speech habits because of being at theatre school. I was put into this section and what we did was the very beginning of radar communication with the airplanes. Then after the initial training I was actually moved sideways if you like out of the Royal Navy part of the Woman’s Royal Naval Service into what in England is called the Fleet Air Arm. The Fleet Air Arm is all the flying that takes place on aircraft carriers. And where we helped to train the pilots flying on and off aircraft carriers. And because obviously there was a lack of real aircraft carriers they were all busy elsewhere. They had these, they were called, Armed Merchant Cruisers they were ordinary merchant ships that before the war you know moved goods and stuff around. They converted them and put on these minimal sized flight decks. I never actually saw one. But from what the pilots said they were much too small. If they came down and they didn’t land, they took off, if they did that three times we knew that they had lost their nerve. And there had to be someway of getting them down because they couldn’t do it. And it’s hard to explain but you would get this feeling over the RT the radio telephone you would hear it. They were young kids you know, eighteen, nineteen, really young. Really very tense and we did get quite a lot of crashes actually, of accidents. It’s just a overall thing November the eleventh that if you were involved it’s an important day.

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