University of Oxford
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Ronald Wright and Jean Abbott in the Navy and the WRNS

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 20:08 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

The contributor's father, Ronald Wright, was the last surviving World War 2 serviceman in Gosport. He died last year.

He was in the Home Guard in the 1940s. His initial enlistment was rejected because he was a bricklayer which was a reserved occupation, but he ended up going into the Navy. His father had been a Royal Marine. He was supposed to go to Melbourne, but this was cancelled because Hiroshima ended the Japanese war.

The contributor's mother, Jean Abbot, was from Norwich. She was a hairdresser. She went to London and became a Wren. She was trained in Mill Hill in London.

Jean was engaged to someone else when she met Ronald. They were married for 72 years. She continued hairdressing and was able to transfer her Wren skills to civilian life. She passed away at 99.

[Information obtained after the event]

*Dad was born on 21/02/1924 in Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth, where his father was serving as a Royal Marine. Dad passed away at the wonderful age of 98 and 9 months on 19/11/22

*Mum was born on 13/07/1924 in Norwich Norfolk and passed away on 27/09/2018 at the age of 94

*My father Ron was a submariner in the Royal Navy during WW11. His father, Charlie Wright was a Royal Marine. My dad was in the home guard from the age of 15 and was based at Alverstoke Gosport. I can't remember if I told you about his time in the home guard, fire watching from St Mary's Church tower, Alverstoke? Cycling home from his shift with a riffle on his back to Frater Terrace, Frater Lane(Royal Marine housing). He directed fire engines to the bombing via the moats at the ramparts of Gosport to top up the fire engines.

*Dad began his training In Submarines on 13/06/1944. I have all of his records. He was first summoned in 1942 and was going to join the Royal Marines like his father; but when he went into the office in the dockyard to hand his tools in on his last day, he was told that he couldn't go as bricklaying was regarded as a reserved occupation to repair all the bombed buildings in the dockyard (dad was completing a 5 year bricklaying apprenticeship in the dockyard).

By 1944 as the war lingered on, there was a greater need for servicemen and bricklaying was no longer regarded as a reserved occupation. Dad no longer had a choice of the service he entered and off he went for training to HMS Arthur in Skegness which was in fact a converted Billy Butlins camp (see the picture I supplied earlier).

*Dad served in multiple naval establishments and sea locations, north sea, Scotland, HMS Dolphin in Gosport on several submarines serving finally on the new sub-Springer where they underwent trials in the North Sea. The Springer was about to leave for Australia to help the war in the Far East when the Japanese surrendered. He was discharged under the Class B scheme on 22/3/46 as bricklayers were required again

Dad continued as a civil servant mainly in local military establishments for 39 years as a supervisor of building works. We, as a family spent 3 years in Singapore whilst dad continued his civil service employment as a supervisor of building works in military establishments.

Mum and dad married on 17/4/46 and had 3 children, me, my brother and my late older sister who we lost to cancer at only 57. They had 5 congratulations wedding anniversary cards from the Queen and were married for 72 years. I miss them very much.


Item list and details

1. Photo of mother 2. Father's war medal and photo 3. Photo of father in submarine 4. Close-up of father in naval training uniform 5. Close-up of mother 6. Father's war records 7. Cancellation of enlistment 8. Military records (enlistment, discharge, etc.) 9. Father's life story - 'Meet a Kitbags Veteran' 10. British Legion project - 'Ron' 11. Transcript of Ron's life story and Dolphin 12. Reproduction of submariner badge 13. Letter of condolence 14. Gosport Home Guard photos 15. Group photo at WRNS training depot

Person the story/items relate to

Ronald Wright and Jean Abbot

Person who shared the story/items

Julie Bennetts

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Father and mother

Type of submission

Shared at Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, Hampshire on 27 October 2023.

Record ID

111399 | GOS018