Maintenance. Wren oiling blocks

This drawing is one of 14 given by the Wren Gladys E. Reed to the Museum in 1947. Little is known about this artist. She joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in 1943. From February to July 1943 she was in the Woolwich class and trained at the coding school HMS Cabbala, a shore base near Warrington for wireless telegraph operators. Between 1943 and 1944, Reed worked as a Wireless Telegraph Operator in the Liverpool and Birkenhead area, and was stationed at the shore base HMS Eaglet, Liverpool, the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief of the Western Approaches.

In her off-watch time, Reed kept a sketch record of the work being done by the WRNS, mostly drawn in 5B pencil on cheap paper. She apologetically wrote to the National Maritime Museum Director, Frank Carr: ‘I am afraid you will be more than a little shocked at the untidy state they are in. They were sketched under all sorts of conditions, have been carried wherever I have been stationed, and passed through many people's hands, so that since 1944 have become very grubby. I console myself with the thought that they may still reflect a little of that busy, happy atmosphere that did exist in the WRNS – especially in the “open air” categories'. The sense of shared experience is evident in these on-the-spot drawings, which show the skill of a trained artist as well as the bond that existed between the WRNS.

Object Details

ID: PAH0089
Collection: Fine art
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Reed, Gladys E.
Date made: ca. 1943-44
Exhibition: War Artists at Sea
People: Association of WRNS
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. We regret that Museum enquiries have not been able to identify the copyright holder and would welcome any information that would help us update our records. Please contact the Picture Library.
Measurements: Sheet: 380 x 278 mm; Mount: 558 mm x 405 mm

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