South West Londoner’s Selina Ditta interviews Muriel Davison ahead of her book signing in Kingston.
Muriel Davison, 89, originally from Surbiton, was stationed at Irton Moor in Scarborough to work as a Wren (Women’s Royal Navy Service) during World War II.
She has recently published her memoirs and is set to meet signing copies of her book today at Hook and Chessington Library at 2pm.
South West Londoner: You were a Wren in World War II, what was the role and what does it mean to you reflecting back in your memoirs?
Muriel Davison: It was a very interesting role and I’m very fond looking back on my time as a Wren. I joined in 1943 because I was qualified as a radio mechanic.
SWL: You’re a member of the Kingston Wrens Association, can you tell me about what you do?
MD: We meet once a month and have a Christmas party. We all worked in the Royal Naval Service during the war. We have a lot of social gatherings, but we’re all elderly people and our number is getting smaller unfortunately but it’s more of a social gathering rather than publically hosting events.
SWL: How did you come to write the book?
MD: I was visiting Bletchley Park which is the original site where the messages we picked up (from Irton Moor in Scarborough) from the German boats were sent off to be decoded. The staff there are trying to turn the site into a museum. They were impressed I could remember everything so vividly and asked me to do a write up. I wrote everything down from memory, except for the technical work explanation, and then it was turned into a book by a local publisher.
SWL: What are some of your fondest memories of working at that time?
MD: They’re all in the book, there’s so many of our times together, of the war. The course we went on which taught us how to use the wireless equipment was very stressful and never done before. I’m glad to shed light on it because no one mentions the services of the people in Irton Moor who picked up the messages with wireless radios from the German U Boats and German Naval ships vessels. We signed the Official Secrets Act and for years we weren’t allowed to talk about our job to anyone, not even my parents! I don’t know what they thought I did for a living!
SWL: What was next for you after the war ended?
MD: I worked at the station for two years from 1943 to 1945, afterwards I came home to Surrey and went back to work for the Civil Service.
SWL: Is Surrey home for you then?
MD: Yes I consider it my home, my family have all grown up here, my sons and a daughter and my four grandchildren.
A Wren’s Tale: The Secret Link to Bletchley Park by Muriel Davison costs £5.95 is available to buy from Regency book shop in Surbiton and the Chessington Garden Centre