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Constance Hale's rare Atlantic Star Medal

Constance Hale (now Pearn) had a unique sea-going role with the Royal Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic. In 1943 she was drafted as a Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) shorthand typist aboard the Philante helping train new crews in the Irish Sea on three day exercises to learn anti-submarine techniques which was vital for survival in the Battle. For her time in the WRNS, Petty Officer Hale received several medals but she is one of a few women to have received the Atlantic Star.

The Battle was the longest continuous military campaign of World War 2. More than 5,400 merchant ships and tens of thousands of sailor’s lives were lost. Naval personnel on board ships who served for six months or more in the Atlantic or Home Waters between September 1939 and May 1945 received the Atlantic Star medal. There is a common perception that women started going to sea in the 1990s; Petty Officer Hale was one of the few who had the opportunity before this time.
May 2013 celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic with celebrations in Liverpool, London and Derry-Londonderry.
Selected by Carolyn Warne (curatorial volunteer)

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