Sunday, April 01, 2007

Female sailor is Leading Seaman, not a Wren...!

I've been taken to task for describing the only female among the sailors kidnapped by the Iranians as a Leading Wren.

My colleague on Deeping St James Parish Council Alison Chambers says on DSJ Exchange
...they haven't been called wrens for a long time. Faye Turney is an equal member of the British Navy, her rank is leading seaman - which may seem a little strange but does at least suggest she is equal to her male comrades.
I found this history of service by women in the Royal Navy which confirms that Alison is right of course.

But I also discovered that there are still many wrens both male and female (see below!)

Meanwhile, Alison's comments have sparked a lively ongoing thread on the Exchange.

Rev. Mark Warrick - also a DSJ parish councillor - points out:
I did wonder about this word and whether it was still appropriate. Perhaps it's because Phil hasn't been in the Army for a little while either .... ;-)

It is interesting, though, isn't it, that the fact that one of the kidnapped sailors is a woman is remarkable still?

She is the one the papers are concerned about, the one who had recently been interviewed, the one the Iranians first said they would set free (even though they didn't).

Equality of opportunity to be shot at (pardon the grammar, please), but still expected (by the media, at least) to receive special treatment. Equality is a long time coming (especially for 14 men who are being ignored - is any of them a father, for example?).
Self-employed DSJ builder Stuart McCabe criticises the Royal Navy for the kidnapping. Stuart is is a former professional soldier and raises a number of questions about the British operation.

I've no doubt Stuart's questions and many more will be examined closely once the crisis is over and all our sailors - male and female - are safely home.

Personally, I fear that the crisis appears to be shaping up for a long haul, cold war style.

Oh, yes, male wrens? Well, here's a photo of a male fairy wren!

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