We are in the 75th anniversary years of WW2 – remembering those who served in 1939 – 1945.
World War 2 saw so many more women participate – at least 35 women associated with Thirroul in the Army and RAAF – as many women as who served in Nursing in WW1 across the whole Illawarra region and beyond.
These women, who served in WW2, were either born in Thirroul, and/or were living in Thirroul, when they enlisted. But so far no women associated with Thirroul have been identified as serving in the NAVY.
One can only wonder at the stories of these 35 women.
Twenty women associated with Thirroul had enlisted in the Army in WW2 – of whom 4 appeared to have been nurses – and one was a Gunner – and 15 women enlisted in the RAAF. One woman in the RAAF continued serving into the 1960s – reaching to Flight Sergeant rank – Gwendoline Fitzgerald (1, 2)
Three of the four nurses in the Army may have served overseas. One nurse who served overseas was Phyllis Vickers from The Esplanade Thirroul. In 1942 – 1943 she served on the Oranje – a Netherlands ship used as the main Australian Hospital Ship in WW2 – in the Middle East, Indian and Pacific WW2 campaigns. It had been the largest ship in the world before WW2 and was used in 1942 to bring wounded soldiers home from the Middle East – and also in September 1945 transporting released 8th Division Prisoners of War from Singapore. During the war Phyllis married Captain K J Eager of 106 Australian General Hospital at Bonegilla.
One of the Thirroul born nurses in WW2, Lieutenant Eileen Cecily Mullens who completed her training at the Mater in Waratah in 1933, married Captain Nigel Hubert Bowen after the war in 1947. Nigel, later Sir Nigel Hubert Bowen, became the first Chief Justice of the Australian Federal Court. This was after his departure from the Australian Federal Parliament as a Member for Parramatta, where he had served as Minister for Education and Science, Attorney General and Foreign Affairs Minister. Eileen’s sudden death in 1983, caused a delay in the Lindy Chamberlain trial (Source Senator Robert Hill – Hansard), some years later her widower husband remarried.
Photo Title : Australia-Japan Ministerial Meeting, Canberra, 12-13 October, 1972 : Lady Waller and Sir Keith Waller, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Bowen and Nigel Bowen, Minister for Foreign Affairs, greet Gough Whitlam, Leader of the Opposition, and Mrs Margaret Whitlam – Date : National Archives of Australia 1972 – sourced via Trove
If you can help with information and photographs of these women – please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
SURNAME FIRST NAME 2ND/3RD NAMES SERIAL NO.
|HAMILTON (Cooper)||LORRAINE||NF466856||Army (more)|
|KEEGAN (Kelsall)||GERTRUDE||JANET ESTHER||106422||RAAF|
|MAY (Trend)||MARGARET||NX119272 (N391906)||Army (was Sister at Lithgow & Coledale Hospitals)|
|MULLENS (Bowen)||EILEEN||CECILY||NX138696 (N391918)||Army