Diaries in the WRNS

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Hannah Thurston

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Type: Lab

Summer 2020

Hannah’s research project focuses on her grandmother’s wartime diaries while serving in the Women’s Royal Navy (WRNS) to shed light on the female war experience and the role that women undertook. By focusing on the pivotal days surrounding the D-Day landings in June 1944, she has put her grandmother’s diaries in conversation with other wartime accounts to understand the female experience. Presenting her research in the form of a blog has allowed her to analyze the entries in the context of other oral historical accounts and the wider narrative of the war. Her research focuses on four aspects: the changing role of women, expectations placed on women, representations of women, and how women perceived themselves. Despite greater expectations placed on women to ‘play their part’ in the war effort, the diaries reveal how young women like her grandmother benefited from independence, friendship, satisfaction, and pride.

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