News & Events

OCAV honours its own on April 25

April 9, 2019

It’s almost 75 years since Avis Wadmore joined the military to help out during the Second World War. She spent two years as a teleprinter operator with the Air Force in Adelaide. Her strongest memories are of the friends she made during that time and leaving her mother, Mary, alone.

Avis, 92, is one of Braeside Park’s oldest residents and moved into OCAV’s Berwick village 21 years ago. She now lives in one of the village’s assisted living apartments.

Avis wasn’t the only member of her family to head off and do her bit for the war effort. Her father, Arnold Ward and her sister, Margaret, had joined the Army, her sister serving as a nurse. So her mother was left alone, until they were reunited after the war.

“I think I joined the Air Force because they had gone off to the Army and I wanted to do my bit, but I wanted to be a bit different,” Avis said. “I remember what a happy time it was for us all when the war ended and we came home. We were only a small family so my mother was very relieved to have us all home,” Avis said.

Her father beat the odds by surviving two World Wars. He was 18 years old when he joined up in World War 1 and served as a Light Horseman fighting in Turkey.

“My father was only 18 when he joined up the first time and I think it was a bit of a giggle for young fellas in those days. I used to ask him what it was like during the battles and he told me that he had three horses shot from under him and each time caught another horse that was running past,” she said.

For many years after the war Avis worked in signals for the airline TAA (Trans Australia Airlines), and ended up supervisor of the Adelaide office. She loved working for TAA as she knew many of the staff who had joined the companyafter the demobilisation of the Air Force.

Avis doesn’t go to ANZAC Day services, finding them too demanding physically and emotionally.

“My lasting memories of the time during the War are of the friendships I formed that lasted a very long time. But I have outlived most of them now. There’s no one left.” She said.

OCAV will join all Australians on ANZAC Day in paying respects to our returned service men and women. There are several men and women within our own ‘ranks’ who we acknowledge on Thursday, April 25.

"I love the fact that Rushall Park residents and volunteers are so active – contributing to life in the village. The sense of the community is strong which is why I put my name on the waiting list" - Maggie Birkett.

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