Patricia Swallow

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Patricia Swallow
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchWomen's Royal Naval Service
Years of service1950–1986
Commands heldWomen's Royal Naval Service
AwardsCommander of the Order of the British Empire

Daphne Patricia Swallow, CBE (born 1931/32) was commandant of the Women's Royal Naval Service from 1982 to 1986. A communications officer, she had followed in the footsteps of her father who served in the Royal Navy as a signals officer. Swallow also had an interest in bird watching and served as vice president of the Royal Naval Bird Watching Society. She was appointed aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II and made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. After her 1986 retirement Swallow carried out charity work.

Naval career[edit]

Daphne Patricia Swallow was the daughter of Captain Geoffrey Swallow, a Royal Navy signals officer who served aboard destroyers, including with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla.[1] Swallow, who was known by her middle name, joined the Women's Royal Naval Service (the Wrens) at the age of 18 in 1950.[2] She followed in the footsteps of her father to become a communications officer and served on postings to Malta, Norway, Portsmouth, Gibraltar and at the Royal Navy's Northwood Headquarters.[2] She served at several stone frigates (Navy shore establishments) including HMS Mercury, HMS Pembroke and HMS Heron.[2] She commanded the Wren training establishment at HMS Dauntless from 1973.[2] Swallow was a bird watcher and served as vice president of the Royal Naval Bird Watching Society from at least 1978 to 1984.[3][4]

Swallow was one of the first women to attend the National Defence College and was the first woman to hold the position of command personnel officer at Portsmouth.[2] She later served as staff officer for training and the command Wrens officer at the Portsmouth Dockyard.[2] Swallow was appointed deputy director of the Wrens in 1979 and also became a Fellow of the British Institute of Management.[2] She was appointed director and commander of the Wrens on 30 July 1982, succeeding Elizabeth Craig-McFeely,[2] and at the same time was appointed aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II.[5][6] Swallow was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1986 New Year Honours.[7] She ceased to be commandant on 6 February 1986, being succeeded by Marjorie Fletcher,[2] and retired on 4 April 1986.[8][9] Swallow afterwards worked for charities and got married in 1991.[2]


  1. ^ Kent, Barrie H. (2004). Signal!: A History of Signalling in the Royal Navy. Hyden House Limited. p. 48. ISBN 9781856230254. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mason, Ursula Stuart (2012). Britannia's Daughters. Pen and Sword. p. 133. ISBN 9781848846784. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  3. ^ The Sea Swallow. W. Spurrell. 1978. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Sea Swallow 1983 vol 33" (PDF). Royal naval Bird Watching Society. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  5. ^ Armed Forces. I. Allan Limited and the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies. 1982. p. 165. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  6. ^ "No. 49069". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 August 1982. p. 10130.
  7. ^ "No. 50361". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1985. p. 3.
  8. ^ "No. 50469". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 March 1986. p. 4239.
  9. ^ "No. 50479". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 April 1986. p. 4814.