Finding Photos of Women In the RNZN

Finding Photos of Women in the RNZN

Finishing the text portion of this book of memories made me feel like I had achieved a real pinnacle. Finally we – the RNZN Women’s Association – could feel we had a little of our history recorded. Enhancing the record by finding photos of women in the RNZN was the last step before publication.

But this proved much more difficult than I anticipated. I had a small variety of images which I thought would look good, but I knew I needed so many more to make the book an attractive item. The problem was acquiring photos. Not unexpectedly, my requests to many female sailors and ex-sailors went unheeded. The photos I did get from a very few were often not of good enough quality for publication and had to be discarded. I felt bad about this as these ladies had taken the time to hunt out and deliver those images to me.

Finding photos of women in the RNZN? but from where? Who could help me? The obvious point of contact would be the Defence (Navy) Photographic Unit but pressure of work precluded their ability to assist. Panic! Where else could I turn?

Enter the photographic archivist at the Navy Museum. Along with his continuing encouragement he was able to forward me, in the correct resolution for publication, many images of Wrens serving from 1942 until around the mid 1960’s. Unfortunately the archives did not hold more up to date photos.

The RNZN has a magazine published monthly and I took the chance someone associated with this publication might help me. Thank heavens I asked because the editor has been my savoir. He has supplied me with numerous photos of women in today’s navy which I added to the book. These images helped lift the book too, as they are in colour unlike those from the earlier era.

All through the process of applying photos to pages I worried about the lack of images from the mid range of our 75 years but there was little I could do about this. There was scant imagery available from 1990-2010. But I hope the extra modern day photos included in the book let all us “old timers” realise what a wonderful, exciting life female sailors have today.

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