The First World War > Women at War > Women's Royal Navy Service First World War: Organizations > Women's Royal Navy Service Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) The Royal Navy was the first of the armed forces to recruit women. Formed in 1916, the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) took over the role of cooks, clerks, wireless telegraphists, code experts and electricians. In November 1917, Katharine Furse, the former Commander-in-Chief of the Voluntary Aid Detachment, was appointed director. The women were so successful that other organizations such as the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and the Women's Royal Air Force were established. When the Armistice was signed in November, 1918, the WRNS had 5,000 ratings and nearly 450 officers. Members of the Women's Royal Naval Serviceon leave during the First World War.