Leading Wren Margery Ellaine Palmer

Discussion in 'The Women of WW2' started by remlapm, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. remlapm

    remlapm Junior Member

    I have been looking at the documents again a bit closer this time to try and work out the missing dates on the P & V ledger.

    On Scan0002 the second line says PembrokeIII 24th Feb Wren (S) and what looks like WES Could this be for Westcliffe? I assume the S in brackets refers to her pay grade. If this summation is correct then I can apply the other dates on the service record to the P&V ledger. making the following to complete the missing dates on the P&V record.

    Pembroke III 10 Feb '43 Wren (G) (assumed general duties)
    Pembroke III 24 Feb '43 Wren (S) Wes (assumed specialist Westcliffe)
    Pembroke III 24 May '43 Wren (H S R) (assumed Higher Specialist Rate) (Stanmore)
    Pembroke III 12 Oct '44 Wren Ldg Wrn (S) (assumed Leading Wren Specialist) (Stanmore)
    Pembroke III 26 Oct '45 Released Class "A"

    I think I've got it now always provided my assumptions are correct. I would welcome comments.

  2. JackW

    JackW Member

    Hi Mike, this is my interpretation of Margerys' service record:

    Pembroke III accounting base for pay/records, in London, for personnel serving at outstations in and around London area between 1942 – 1952.

    Mill Hill was a training school for probationary WRENs upon joining, the (G) indicating that she had not had a trade allocated.

    On completion of training she became a member of the S & S (supply and secretariat) branch, with the letter ‘S’ enclosed in a hollow star on an am badge for this trade.

    She then joined HMS Westcliff(e) with the letters Wtr entered on her documents indicating that she had taken up the Writers trade, at that place only.

    I have no idea what HSR means, but given the following info:

    HMS Westcliff:

    During WWII Southend peir was taken over by the Royal Navy and was renamed (along with the surrounding area) HMS Westcliff. It was closed to the public from 9 September 1939. Its purpose in the war was twofold. Firstly it served as a mustering point for convoys. Over the course of the war 3,367 convoys, comprising 84,297 vessels departed from HMS Westcliff. Secondly, it was Naval Control for the Thames Estuary.
    It may mean Harbour Ship(ping) Recorder/Register, but this is pure guesswork.

    Then the transfer to Stanmore. When I was at RAF Stanmore in 1968 it was an accomodation base for the likes of Matelots like me whilst I was based at HMS Warrior at (RAF) Northwood.
    When leaving Stanmore tube station, I turned left to walk the half mile to the camp, which was situated on the left of the main road. It was HQ 11 Group RAF and included Bently Priory somewhere to the rear of the camp. The main gate personel were all RAF.
    If the low building that Margery was working in was on the right of the road, as indicated in previous posts, that would have been her place of work and guarded by Royal Marines and her accomodation would have been opposite, ie, in the RAF camp.
    The (S) would still indicate the Supply & Secretariat branch, and she may well have been doing the ‘secret’ stuff in her place of work.
    I doubt very much that her secret work would have been advertised with the (S) meaning ‘secret’, no one was supposed to know!!
    Hope this is of some help to you.

  3. remlapm

    remlapm Junior Member

    Further to our investigations regarding my mothers service, my niece has been doing some research and has come up with the following information.

    "HMS Westclliffe was the training centre for WRNS. WRNS personnel who served at HMS Pembroke III were involved in Signals Intelligence work. Stanmore was one of the largest outstations that housed the Bombe machines used for breaking the Enigma code, WRNS personnel would have operated these machines on a 24hr basis and it is likely that Margery was employed in this work. All Bombe operators working at Stanmore have the same path of service as her ie Mill Hill – Westcliff – Pembroke III or V."

    She also uncovered the following interesting info about the Stanmore outstation

    Cannons Corner, Stanmore, Middlesex and often simply referred to as "Cannons Corner". Selected in July 1942 as a Bombe outstation. That month two new buildings were under construction at Stanmore for WRNS accommodation, one to be completed by 31 July, the other by Oct 1942. In Jan1943 there were 22 Bombes in Block B at Stanmore with a potential for accommodating another 42, making it by far the largest Bombe outstation at the time. By July 1943 there were 45 Bombes at Stanmore together with some 440 Wrens both accommodated and working at Stanmore. A new Block, Block C, was then constructed in the NE corner of the fenced in site at Stanmore. This was to accommodate 750 Wrens. Hutted accommodation for some 90-100 RAF Bombe service technicians was to be built outside the Stanmore fencing on the London Road. This would be conveniently suited for the Bombes in Block B. In Oct 1943 Stanmore was stated to be using 29,660 sq ft of net floor space for its Bombes, (compared with 1,500 sq ft at Adstock, 6,800 at BP and 33,120 sq ft at Eastcote). The station ended up with some 50 Bombes, making it second in size only to Eastcote. Nicknames for Stanmore Bombes were selected from the names of British and Commonwealth towns, cities and islands. Abbreviated to just "S" or "OSS", (Outstation Stanmore) in BP Bombe status reports. In Jan 1944 US Bombe operating personnel were being trained at Stanmore. Stanmore was also the location of the Polish Radio Centre and Sigint unit which maintained comms links to Bertrand's Sigint station at PC Cadix in Vichy France where Poles were also employed in Sigint work. In Nov 1940 Stanmore was to be established as a Polish intercept site for Russian tasks and this task continued during 1941. Poles at Stanmore were employed on German Police tasks in 1943/44 but produced little of value for BP. There was also evidence of an SOE association with the Poles at Stanmore. HQ RAF Fighter Command was also located at Stanmore, (at Bentley Priory).The AEAF HQ, (later AEAF Rear) was established at Stanmore in early 1944 in preparation for "Overlord"

    Apparently there is a good case for asking for Margery's name to be added to to the Bletchley Park on-line role of honour and my brother is pursuing this.


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