Here are my Dad’s navy memories of the Gunnery School and the Wrens.
The Gunnery School was located inside the camp but at the very extremity well away from the rest of the camp because of the noise.
It was always a source of amusement among the lads during the journey to Gunnery School. As always we marched in a squad of about 30 men. On the camp were quite a number of WRENS who undertook catering and clerical duties and they were billeted in a barbed wire in compound along part of the side of the road to the Gunnery School. On the way to the school the compound was on the right. On the way back of course it was on the left.
The squad under the Petty Officer marched normally until within 25 yards of the Wrens quarters and then the order was given “Double march, eyes left” until 25 yards past the Wrens quarters when eyes were reverted to the front and back to normal marching pace. This routine was reversed on the way back from Gunnery School. The whole idea was that no rough sailor should ogle the Wrens who on a fine day would be sitting outside their quarters watching the lads go past. Woe betide any sailor who didn’t avert his eyes when instructed. (How did we know where the Wrens were sat?)
The Gunnery School had guns of various calibre up to 6 and much time was spent in being instructed how they worked and in interchanging with different members of a gun team until you could do all the different jobs of a team on all the guns. All shells and cordite charges were dummies and so there was no danger of us shelling the officers’ quarters or the Wrens quarters if it came to that. Live ammunition was used in rifle firing practice at the butts and also in firing an Oarlikon common out to sea.