Graphical version

National Maritime Museum

HMS Dauntless


Reference code(s): GB 0064 DAU

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: HMS Dauntless

Date(s): [1914-1975]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 15ft: 457cm

Name of creator(s): HMS Dauntless


Administrative/Biographical history:

HMS DAUNTLESS, a naval shore establishment at Burghfield in Berkshire, has been used by the Women's Royal Naval Service since 1946 as a training and drafting centre.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of HMS Dauntless consisting of volumes and loose papers, 1914 to 1921 and 1939 to 1975. One quarter of the collection consists of the papers of Dame Katharine Furse (1875-1952), the first Director WRNS. Many of these relate to her period as Commandant-in-Chief, VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment); during this time, 1914 to 1917, the main subject covered by the papers was the need to co-ordinate women's war work. Correspondents, mostly politicians and administrators, include B Seebohm Rowntree (1871-1945), Lord Derby (1865-1948), W C Bridgeman (1864-1935), Dame Katherine's brother-in-law, Lieutenant-General Sir William Furse (1865-1953), Arthur B Cane (1864-1939), Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940), Mrs May Tennant (1869-1946) and the future Deputy Director W.R.N.S., Miss Edith Crowdy (d 1947). The rest of Dame Katharine's papers relate to the establishment of the WRNS in 1917, its development during the remainder of the war and the demobilization. With regard to the setting up of the Service, her correspondents include Lord Northcliffe (1865-1922), Admiral Sir Herbert Heath (1887-1956) and Sir Eric Geddes (1875-1937), First Lord of the Admiralty. The official papers contain memoranda and reports on the administration of the new Service. They cover all aspects of the organization from recruitment and training to accommodation and welfare. Among those papers dealing with demobilization are reports and correspondence, 1919 to 1921, about the possibility of establishing the Women's Royal Naval Reserve. The remainder of the collection contains photographs, printed matter, pamphlets and offprints. Most of this material dates from after the Second World War, although there are a number of earlier miscellaneous papers, such as a file relating to Dame Vera Laughton Mathews (d 1959); statistics and casualties, 1940 to 1947; papers concerning the closure of the Western Approaches Command, 1945; WRNS copies of Admiralty Historical Section files, 1946, and files and case books for the WRNS Benevolent Trust, 1949 to 1961. There are many photographs, loose and in albums. A few date from the First World War, but most of them, taken mainly for recruiting purposes, date between the 1940s and 1970s. There are also press cuttings, 1941 to 1946.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The collection was presented in 1976.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2011-03-30

World War One (1914-1918) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)
World War Two (1939-1945) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)
Women's employment

Personal names
Bridgeman | William Clive | 1864-1935 | 1st Viscount Bridgeman | statesman
Chamberlain | Sir | Neville Bowles | 1820-1902 | Knight | Field Marshal
Crowdy | Edith Frances | d 1947 | Deputy Director WRNS
Furse | Dame | Katharine | 1875-1952 | nee Symonds | nurse and nursing administrator
Furse | Sir | William | 1865-1953 | Knight | Lieutenant General
Geddes | Sir | Eric Campbell | 1875-1937 | Knight | industrialist and statesman
Harmsworth | Alfred Charles William | 1865-1922 | 1st Viscount Northcliffe | newspaper proprietor
Heath | Sir | Herbert Leopold | 1861-1954 | Knight | Admiral
Mathews | Dame | Vera Laughton | 1888-1959 | suffragist and journalist
Rowntree | Benjamin Seebohm | 1871-1954 | sociologist and manufacturer
Stanley | Edward George Villiers | 1865-1948 | 17th Earl of Derby
Tennant | Margaret Mary Edith May | 1869-1946 | nee Abraham | social work pioneer

Corporate names
Voluntary Aid Detachment
Women's Royal Naval Service | Great Britain