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Navy issue handbag for WRANS

Date: c 1976
Overall: 240 x 230 x 100 mm
Medium: Fabric, metal rings
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Trish Haggarty
Object Name: Handbag
Object No: 00038537

User Terms

    This black handbag was issued to servicewoman Trish Haggarty (nee Russell) as part of her official WRANS uniform.
    SignificanceThis Navy issue handbag is typical of the gear issued to WRANS in the late 1970s.
    HistoryTrish Haggarty (nee Russell) joined the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service as a Recruit Writer on 5 October 1975. She completed her recruit training and writer category training at HMAS CERBERUS at Westernport, Victoria. Trish remained at CERBERUS for 12 more months, working in the personnel section. In March 1978, Trish moved on to Garden Island and was posted to the Flag Officer commanding the East Australia Area and worked as staff for the Naval Police and Coxswain Training School. In March 1979, Trish worked on the NU SHIP Tobruk project based at the Navy Office in Canberra and was promoted to the rank of Leading Writer in October 1979.

    Trish was posted to HMAS PENGUIN at Balmoral, NSW in May 1980. In February 1981, she returned to Garden Island and was posted to the staff of the Flag Officer Naval Support Command and worked in the Naval Police Investigation section. In 1984 Trish was promoted to the rank of Petty Officer and was posted to HMAS KUTTABUL working in the Accounts and Personnel Office. Trish chose to leave the Navy in November 1986 and was discharged.

    The WRANS (1942 - 1984) was first established with 14 women, trained by Florence McKenzie as wireless telegraphists. The Royal Australian Navy enrolled these women in April 1941 at HMAS HARMAN Wireless Telegraphy station. Later on 1 October 1942 they were sworn into the Navy as personnel with enlisted status. Though the WRANS never exceeded 3,000 enlisted women at one time, they were engaged in a variety of jobs, including telegraphists, coders, drivers, cooks, air liaison officers and education officers. They also worked in ciphers, signals and communications, radio telegraphy plotting, and as messengers. Others were with Radar Counter-Measure, Allied Intelligence Bureau and Censorship Officers. The WRANS was dissolved in 1984 when women were fully integrated into the RAN.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Navy issue handbag for WRANS


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