Met School – Lee-on-Solent
In the beginning all met training was on the job for ratings, whilst for officers who chose to take on met duties alongside their other job, training in meteorology was initially done by the Met Office and later by the Directorate once sufficient experience had been amassed. It was the officers who then passed on their knowledge, to a greater or lesser degree, to the ratings.
In 1937 those ratings chosen to assist the forecaster on board ship were officially recognised, paid a little extra and the title Seaman Q(Met) adopted formally. This changed in 1942 when the sub-specialisation of the Seaman Branch became Seaman (Met). Those Q ratings that remained in met appear to have kept their Q rating but whether they were ever formally trained records do not indicate.
During the war this ad hoc training for ratings continued, although on a more formal basis at various Air Stations but by 1942, as HMS Daedalus operated as a Naval Air Station and therefore needed its share of met personnel training gradually gravitated there. Lee was also the bank in the south of the country for met wrens and ratings that could be sent anywhere to relieve personnel to go on leave and to cover sickness. For a while wrens were either trained on the job or at Worthy Down but by midway through the 1940’s all training for wrens and ratings had been centralised at Lee-on-Solent.
More and more formal training in met for ratings was undertaken by Lee-on-Solent, indeed by the end of the war it seems that all wren and rating met training was under the auspices of Lee. Although there are no records stating that Lee was a ‘Met School’ it undoubtedly undertook this role as there is documentary evidence which states that the training of met ratings and wrens was to be transferred to the new Met School at RNAD Kete in 1947. Officer met training had moved from Royal Naval College, Greenwich to Kete in the autumn of 1946.
The picture shows a group of wrens outside what looks like a bungalow at Lee. Was this wrens quarters or the school? If anyone has the answer please let the secretary know. Taken in 1946, this was the first wrens met course after the war. Featured are Margaret Bullock and Edna Warren nee Horton; the others are unknown unless anybody recognises them.