This Saturday we reflect as a nation on the 100 years since Australian and New Zealand servicemen landed at Gallipoli during the First World War.
RSL Care is commemorating this significant milestone with celebrations honouring the contribution of Veterans who have served during all wars, conflicts, peacekeeping activities as well as current and past Reservists.
“We are honoured that so many Veterans choose to live in our RSL Care communities,” stated Acting RSL Care CEO Luke Greive.
“It is both humbling and inspiring to talk with these senior Australians as they share their reflections of their Service years, like Mrs Clifford who was a Gunner in World War II.”
Mrs Cynthia Clifford (nee Cadd), lives in RSL Care’s Fairview Community at Pinjarra Hills.
Cynthia’s father and four uncles all served in World War I, and following their legacy of service Cynthia joined the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) in October 1943 during World War II. Cynthia was in Western Australia at the time. She spent four months at ‘Rookie School’ and then another six weeks training in Air Craft Identification and Predictor Operation for 3.7 Anti-Aircraft guns.
“I’ll never forget my first shoot; the four guns were fixed at once. I thought the noise was so horrific that I ran out of the predictor pit so fast heading up to the mess hut, but was brought back even faster to continue with my job,” Cynthia told us.
When the war in Germany was over, the gun sites were closed and Cynthia was sent to Melbourne aboard a troop train. While in Melbourne at Camp Pell, Cynthia completed a clerical course and held many interesting jobs including assisting with processing prisoners of war.
Cynthia eventually was posted back to Western Australian where she worked with the Army until September 1946, assisting with preparing Discharge Certificates for returned servicemen. “It was great to reconnect with a lot of old mates I had not seen in years,” she said.
Even after her discharge from the AWAS, Cynthia continued to work as a civilian with the Army until moving to the eastern states with friends, travelling aboard on the ‘Duntroon’ which had been a hospital ship during the war. “I had a wonderful time in the AWAS.”
RSL Care respects the contribution of all Australian ex-servicemen and women and most particularly wishes this week to remember – honour – celebrate the contribution of our Veteran residents and clients.