Dedworth Open Space was acquired by the Admiralty on the outbreak of World War II
Written by Ron Skinner, ex.CPOWriter, H.M.S. “President III”; Chairman, Wartime Ark Royals Association
The Wrens who occupied Dedworth Open Space were part of the complement of HMS. “President III” which was the ship-name given to the establishment located at Dedworth Manor and which was administered under strict naval discipline. This establishment was responsible for the pay, accounts and administration of the D.E.M.S. (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships) personnel, worldwide, and was directly responsible to D.N.A. (The Director of Navy Accounts) at Admiralty.
Part of the Wren personnel lived in Dedworth Open Space, the remainder were at Hodgson House in Eton. The staff, under the command of a regular naval officer, Paymaster Captain Kennedy, RN., consisted of regular and reserve naval officers and ratings as well as Wrens, the male ratings were mainly those returning from sea service, including survivors. During the latter part of 1945, HMS. “President III” was moved to Chelsea Court in London. Throughout the period all the premises were regularly inspected by Captain Kennedy.
. At that time the premises had suffered no deterioration. I can further confirm these facts having served in HMS. “President III” as a Chief Petty Officer, myself, until early 1945 having joined that establishment early in 1942 as a survivor from H.M.S. “Ark Royal”.
An HMS. “President III” Reunion Club was formed in 1948 and still exists with a membership of approximately 100. A news sheet, The Writers’ Wrag, is produced a couple of times a year, some ten copies being dispatched overseas to Australia, the U.S.A. and Holland.