251,534 Pages

Attracta Rewcastle

Rewcastle arriving at the Admiralty on her first day with the RNVR, 1940.

Attracta Genevieve Rewcastle (née Candon, 1897 – 18 February 1951) was a doctor, politician, and the first female Commissioned Officer in the Royal Navy.[1] Born in Roscommon, Ireland, Rewcastle attended University College Dublin where she studied medicine. After working as an Assistant Schools Medical Officer in Sheffield, she went on to a position at Great Ormond Street Hospital, as well as working in Private Practice.[2]

She joined the WRNS in 1940, and took up a position at the Admiralty as the Medical Superintendent of the WRNS. As a Doctor in the WRNS, she was paid less than her male counterparts in the Royal Navy; the Medical Women's Federation objected to this, on the grounds that male and female Doctors were paid equally elsewhere. As a result, Rewcastle was appointed to the Relative Rank of Surgeon-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in the summer of 1940, and on 5 December 1941, she was made Temporary Acting Surgeon Lieutenant. She was promoted to Temporary Acting Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander in 1943, and Temporary Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander in 1945. She was released (Class A) in 1946.[3]

After the war, Rewcastle served as a Conservative Party Councillor on Westminster City Council, and ran as the Conservative candidate for Willesden West constituency in the 1950 general election (losing to the incumbent Labour MP, Samuel Viand).[4]

In 1926 she married Cuthbert Snowball Rewcastle, a barrister and former Liberal politician, later to become a QC and judge. They had three children. Her son, Sub-Lieutenant Anthony Giles Candon Rewcastle, was lost with the submarine HMS Affray in 1951, the last Royal Navy submarine to be lost at sea.


  1. "THE NAVY'S WOMAN DOCTOR". 1940-08-31. pp. 8. 
  2. Royal Museums Greenwich, Collections Online. "Rewcastle, Attracta Genevieve, Doctor". 
  3. Royal Navy, Record of Service. Attracta Genevieve Rewcastle. Navy Command Secretariat. 
  4. Craig, FWS. British parliamentary election results, 1950 – 1970. 

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.