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Wartime Wren Receives Medals

A former Royal Navy Wren was recognised for her wartime service with a surprise presentation on her 100th birthday.

Despite serving the Navy and nation throughout World War 2, Jacqueline Dyde from Loughton, near Debden, never claimed the medals she deserved for her efforts.

But 75 years after she demobbed and returned to the civilian world, that omission was righted as Royal Navy officer Commander Andy Swain surprised Jacqueline on her 100th birthday at her home in Essex.

It was only a few weeks before the landmark birthday that Jacqueline’s granddaughter Caroline Meaby learned she’d never received the medals back in the 1940s… and never applied for them subsequently due to a mix of modesty typical of the wartime generation and the possible cost of the decorations.

“She is modest about her war service and never saw herself as a hero, especially as she lost family members in the conflict. But she did earn them, so has every right to claim them.”

Jacqueline Murley as she was then from Lanreath near Looe had planned to train as a secretary but instead volunteered for the Women’s Royal Naval Service aged 18 when war broke out.

Weeks later she was serving aboard HMS Defiance in Plymouth Naval Base as an officers’ steward in the wardroom. There was little training beyond the helpful advice of a veteran Royal Marine:  “If it moves, salute it, if it doesn’t move, polish it.”