Wendy Hogarth (née Jones) celebrated her 100th Birthday on March 9, 2023
Wendy joined the WRNS in September 1942. Because she had good School Certificate results which included maths and physics, she was able to become an Air Radio Mechanic (ARM). After several months training, in May 1943 she was posted to the Fleet Air Arm section at RAF Defford (on the Croome Court estate in Worcestershire). RAF Defford (a joint RAF/RN station and known to the Wrens as HMS Daedalus) was a ‘secret station’ and the main station in Britain for development of airborne radar during WW2 and the Cold War. It carried out flight trials for the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) which had moved to Malvern (about 20 miles away) in May 1942. Wendy was one of a small group of about 20 Wrens most of whom were ARMs and had been specially selected to work with radar equipment.
Wendy was at RAF Defford until March 1944 when, having learnt how to service the new Air to Surface Vessel (ASVX) radar, she was posted to various Fleet Air Arm Squadrons. She left RAF Defford with many regrets as in February 1944, she met George Hogarth, a dashing young pilot from Edinburgh who had recently been posted to Defford. Wendy and George married in September 1944. George died in 2011.
After VE Day, Wendy was demobbed and when WW2 ended, George returned to RAF Defford to continue airborne radar flight trials. They lived near RAF Defford until George was demobbed in 1946 and then, in 1947, set up home in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Wendy still lives in the house they bought in 1956. Wendy spent her time bringing up their son (who died in 2017) and two daughters and working for various national and local charities. Many years later, she became a secretary in a local primary school but still continued with her charity work.
In 1958, the Worcestershire Branch of the Association of Wrens was established, Wendy being one of the founder members. Wendy was chairman of the Branch for many years and represented the Branch at events such as the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1977. The Branch was formally closed in 2006 after nearly 50 years and their Standard was presented to Worcester Cathedral during the Remembrance Service in November 2006 where it remains in St George’s Chapel. As well as being Chairman of the Worcestershire Branch, Wendy kept in touch with ex-Wrens she had met during her training and those who were stationed at RAF Defford (HMS Daedalus). She organised reunions at her home in Bromsgrove or at RAF Defford and encouraged ex-Wrens to write about their experiences during WW2 and afterwards. Many of these articles were published in The Wren.
Wendy is a member of the Defford Airfield Heritage Group and is included in the ‘Women at RAF Defford’ exhibition at RAF Defford Museum housed in a restored WW2 hospital building at Croome Court (now owned by the National Trust). In 2015, Wendy loaned hers and George’s uniforms to the museum where they are permanently on display for all to enjoy.
Wendy celebrated her birthday with a party for 80 family and friends at Avoncroft Museum of Buildings in Bromsgrove. Guests included her six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Dr Jenifer Harding née Hogarth (Wendy’s daughter)