Wren Enid Bell

Beatrice Enid Bell (Enid) was the first New Zealander to join the Womens Royal Naval Service during World War One.

Born in Wellington in 1888 Enid was the daughter of Sir Francis Bell the first New Zealand born Prime Minister of New Zealand and Lady Caroline Bell.

In England when World War One broke out, Enid immediately enlisted as an Ambulance Driver with the Red Cross and went to France. She remained serving in France until 1917 when she was invited to join the recently established Womens Royal Naval Service (WRNS). Enid joined the WRNS 21 January 1918 aged 29 as a Motor Driver.

This made Enid the only women present at sea to receive the surrender of the U-Boats.

In her role as Chief Section Leader she ran the Admiralty garage in London. One of her tasks was to drive some senior officers and a cabinet minister from London to Harwich, where they were to board a cruiser to receive the surrender of the German submarine fleet. On arrival in Harwich it was insisted that Enid accompany the senior officers on board. This made Enid the only women present at sea to receive the surrender of the U-Boats.

Enid discharged from the WRNS in February 1919. Enid was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1919

In London at the outbreak of World War Two Enid enrolled as an ambulance driver; driving on night duty during the blitz.

Enid died in 1977.