Women Motorcycle Dispatch Riders Saluting the Wrens
During times of war, when telecommunications were limited and insecure dispatch riders or “despatch” riders, a military messenger on motorcycle were used by the armed forces to deliver urgent orders and messages between headquarters and military units. Women excelled as dispatch riders and were often seen taking their motorcycles, in the name of duty through perilous conditions.
Women Excelled as Dispatch Motorcycle Riders
In Britain, in 1917 during the First World War, the women’s association called the Women’s Royal Navy Service W.R.N.S. dispatch riders WWI – popularly and officially known as the Wrens was formed as the women’s branch of the Royal Navy.
Initially Only Women with Prior Motorcycle Riding Experience Were Selected
They were disbanded in 1919, and then revived in 1939. This was at the beginning of the Second World War, with an expanded list of allowable activities, including flying transport planes and as motorcycle dispatch riders WWII by the admiralty and the Royal Navy. One of the slogans used in recruiting posters was “Join the Wrens—free a man for the fleet.”
Some of the first dispatch riders were well-known competition riders from local race circuits – way back then!
By the end of that year, the Wrens numbered 3,000 and membership continued to climb reaching nearly 75,000 by war’s end. The Wrens performed duties ranging from cooks and steward to all-female anti-aircraft teams.
Initially only women with prior motorcycle riding experienced were selected. So some of the first dispatch riders were well-known competition riders from local race circuits – way back then!
The Wren’s who were dispatch motorcycle riders achieved a great deal of recognition, not only from their own country men but other foreign powers. During the invasion of the Low Countries, the London-based Wrens would work eight-hour shifts day and night to deliver messages. Their work through out the battle of Britain was highly praised. And you can imagine, riding through London became increasingly difficult as the German’s bombing campaign wreaked havoc on the city.
During WWII over 100 Wrens lost their lives serving their country proudly as motorcycle dispatch riders, as women.
The Wren’s Today
The Wrens remained active until integrated into the Royal Navy in 1993.
There’s not much to be found at present about the Wrens, except for a remembrance and anniversary celebration here at The Wrens.com