For Sue Elliot (née Irvine), serving in the navy proved to be a formative experience in her life.  Sue – who is now in her 26th year as a volunteer at the National Memorial Arboretum – joined as an Air Mech in 1958, and made the most of her time in the WRNS with plenty of sport and a posting to Malta. This was just the start of a full life, however.  Her full story can be found in the History section of the AoW website, but here are some extracts, which give a flavour of where life in the navy led her:


“I was supposed to have Maths and English O Level to become an Air Mechanic, but somehow or other I got away with my Needlework (could look neat and tidy) and Geography (find my way round the world!)…”


“I did quite a bit of shooting in Malta, and I was entered into the Mediterranean Shooting Competition, comprising all the ships in the Med Fleet.  I was chuffed to be awarded the RN Malta 1962 Tyro Rifle runner-up medal…”


“After returning to the UK, my next draft was back to HMS Condor for Leading Rates Course.  Two Wrens and the rest were men on our course; however, the two of us Wrens succeeded in taking first and second place…”


“The next step was to apply to the Union Castle Shipping Company.  I sailed in RMS Pendennis Castle on New Year’s Eve 1964.  Sea sick ALL The way there and back.  Unbelievably, I was NEVER sea sick again.  Extraordinary…”


“I did all sorts of things: organising the Captain’s VIP guests at his table for dinner, attending his official cocktail parties – there were always lots of VIPs travelling as there were few, if any, airline flights to South Africa in those days…”


“I was fortunate enough to find a great little job working for the German sewing thread company Gutermann.  If I hadn’t recognised the name Gutermann from my love of sewing then it could have been nuts and bots or some such thing, being in the West Midlands…”


“I had also come across the developing site of the National Memorial Arboretum … it is a privilege and honour to have been involved with such a prestigious place and I am proud to say I was, and have been, there from the start…”


“This all began when I joined the Wrens 23rd September 1958. I shall always be grateful for the WRNS steering me along my path in life, Thank You.”