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Pioneers to Professionals: Women of the Royal Navy

Discover the awe-inspiring story behind the pioneering women who laid the foundations for the Women’s Royal Navy Service and shaped it into what it is today.

You will trace the role of these amazing women in the Royal Navy from the mid-17th century through to the present day, and see the dramatic changes that have taken place over more than 250 years.

RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester, BA22 8HT
Museum Open
10am to 4.30pm | Wednesday to Sunday Open all week during South Somerset school holidays (Feb, Apr-Oct)
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Leading by example, these pioneering women comprehensively demonstrated their capabilities and so laid the foundations for the eventual integration of the Women’s Royal Navy Service into the Royal Navy in 1993.  

Today women with the necessary skills can join any branch of the Royal Navy, a long way from the Women’s Royal Naval Service motto ‘Never at Sea’ a little over 100 years ago. In fact women were actively working on board serving ships and supporting naval operations long before 1917. 
Today women in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines make up 9.3% of the force in the UK Regular Forces and Future Reserves. Furthermore, the percentage of female officers in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, in the UK Regular Forces, stands at 10.6%. In July 2016, the government announced the lifting of restrictions on women serving in ground close combat roles, removing the last remaining barriers to full integration.

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