Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service established during WW2

Featured image: Female ratings of the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS) at GHQ Delhi, India. June 1945. (Private Collection). Repost from British Empire & Commonwealth Forces in the Far East-SE Asia 1937-1946.

During WW2, the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service was established, for the first time giving women a role in the navy, although they did not serve on board its ships.

Indians in the Second World War [1945]
Chief Officer Margaret L Cooper, Deputy Director of the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS), with Second Officer Kalyani Sen, WRINS at Rosyth during their two month study visit to Britain, 3rd June 1945.
The Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service was established as part of the The Royal Indian Navy (RIN) during World War II. Although the women did not serve on board the ships, this did give them a role in the navy. The first Indian service woman who visited the UK was second officer Kalyani Sen. Sen went there to make a comparative study of training and administration in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.
“In India there is still a big prejudice against girls and women working with men…but the women are so keen to get into the Services that they are breaking it down,” she said.
The Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS) was formed in 1942, and by 1945 approximately two thirds of women employed by them were Indian nationals, the rest were British and other Commonwealth expats.
Admiral of the Fleet Lord Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, takes the salute of British and Indian members of the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS) as they march past his podium during the Allied victory celebrations in Delhi, India. 4th-9th March 1946. (NAM)
Chief Petty Officer Moina Imam, Royal Indian Naval Service…
The daughter of Seyed Hafeez Imam, a well-known government official, was at a Catholici boarding school during the war. Being headstrong, independent and stubborn she decided to join the WRINs without telling anyone in her family. Her father found out she wasn’t in school, when her recruiter, who had recognized her and the family name, made her the poster girl for all of India at that time. (Information supplied by Alyn Furlong, her son.).