Portsmouth wrens tackle assault course for the first time in 1973

Wren Lesley Edwards, of HMS Vernon, as she tackles one of the trails.
Wren Lesley Edwards, of HMS Vernon, as she tackles one of the trails.

Blazing a trail? Striking a blow for Women’s Liberation? Whatever it was, the determined Wrens of the Naval Home Command were on their mettle when it came to taking on an assault course. 

In a remote corner of Gosport, among the sylvan glades of HMS Sultan, Wrens teams competed in an assault course competition – which was an innovation for the women. 

The course was laid out alongside a peaceful backwater of the Navy’s Marine Engineering School – in this case, the 14-ft deep moat of Fort Grange. The waters were normally fished by Sultan Angling Club but there was no sight of pike as dozens of Wrens threw themselves into the water. 

The contest was won by the Wrens from the computer complex at HMS Centurion, Gosport, which proved the women could easily master the water jump, the aerial walk and climbing net. 

Centurion’s record time was 4min, 32 sec and the runners up were HMS Excellent and then HMS Collingwood. Captain of HMS Sultan, Capt Long said: ‘It was a magnificent display.’