Veteran Stories:
Ann Styles

Navy

  • Ann Styles in WRNS (Women’s Royal Naval Service) uniform in 1942.

  • Christmas celebrations in the WRNS Mess Shore Establishment, from the H.M.S Lizard, 1942.

  • Ann Style's H.M.S. black silk uniform hat band circa 1942.

  • Stationary with WRNS letterhead from the H.M.S. 'Lizard' circa 1942.

  • Ann Style's was awarded the 1939-1945 War Medal for Navy service during World War Two.

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"I've often said that my main recollection of the war years was not being scared or anything, I think I was too young and foolish to worry about my personal safety."

Transcript

My name is Ann Styles. My maiden name, under which I served in the Royal Navy, was Lucas. I served in the Royal Navy in England for two and a half years. And I served basically on a shore establishment. All naval establishments were given ship's names as if they were (laughter) actually vessels. But it's because they were serving as establishments under the Royal Navy. And I was in HMS Lisard on the south coast of England. It was a very vulnerable area to air bombardment and we had quite a few daytime raids as well as night-time raids. My job was an office job, which doesn't sound very important or glamorous but actually, it was very important. It released a man to go to sea and I was involved in replenishing ships with both supplies on paper, and men. If ships were damaged they needed of course, repairs, they invariable were out of all kinds of supplies when they arrived on the south coast and we were responsible for getting whatever they needed. Whether it was coal from Newcastle, food or medical supplies; we were responsible for getting the requests out to the various places that could supply the items and getting the shipping organized to get them down to the south coast. You have to remember this was before the days of computer and our instructions were relayed by mail or by signal. We also had to be responsible for drafting, on paper again, men, who could serve in the ships that had lost some of their complement at sea. If men had died, they had to be replaced with others. And we had to make sure that they were of the right rating. In other words, a cook was required, it was no use sending a gunner and vice versa. We had to also supply the medical people. Everybody that served onboard ship. And one of my really boring jobs was to update the regulations. We had continuing air raids at night and the building that was the WREN quarters was three floors. And, of course, I had the very good luck to be on the top floor and there were no elevators running. So every time there was an air raid, I had three floors to run down and then the basement. And we were confined to the basement as long as the air raid was on. As soon as the all clear sounded, we could get up and go back to our bunks. And that meant climbing up four flights of stairs. That had been known to happen at least four times during the night. And still, you had to get up in the morning and go to work. I've often said that my main recollection of the war years was not being scared or anything, I think I was too young and foolish to worry about my personal safety. But the whole thing I seem to remember is being very tired and very hungry. We really didn't have very good rations and what there were, were poorly prepared. You need fuel and we (laughter) weren't getting enough. So our off days were spent sort of scouting round Salvation Army canteens ... canteens; anything that served the armed forces that might possibly have rations.
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