Anzac Day: Mandurah resident reflects on the war years

Anzac Day: Mandurah resident reflects on the war years

MORE than 100 years on from the birth of the Gallipoli legend, Mercy Place Mandurah will commemorate the Anzac heroes and other ex-servicemen and women in its midst ahead of Anzac Day.

As one of several residents whose loved ones served their country during World War II, 88-year-old Josephine Still will be one of many to remember those who were involved in the war effort at a commemorative ceremony.

Josephine’s mum, Rosa Warry, was a volunteer air observer throughout the war – a secret she kept from her family which was only uncovered when an old family chest was opened and a certificate discovered.

Dated January 18, 1946, the certificate was issued by the Royal Australian Air Force and recognised Rosa for her ‘patriotic response to the call of country by serving in the Voluntary Air Observers Corps’.

“Mum never spoke about what she was doing, but I remember a moment in my childhood when I was watching her make bread in the kitchen and I saw her look out of the window as a plane came past,” Josephine said.

“She asked me to go out and watch which way it was going and write down the direction and the time it crossed over, which was a great thrill to me as I was very interested in the war, especially because Japan had bombed Pearl Harbour on my birthday.

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“My mum used to take a walk every evening and one night I followed her, hopping from tree to tree behind her.

“She went to the phone box and then to every home on the street. I realise now that she must have been making sure everyone’s house was blacked out, although of course I didn’t realise that at the time.”

Ms Still said it was when Rosa was moving house that she picked up many of her possessions in a case, including several family photos and the framed certificate, and gave it to her nephew for safekeeping.

He promptly put it in his shed and forgot all about it. The case sat in a shed for more than 40 years.

“We couldn’t believe it when we opened the chest last year and found the certificate, as my brother and sisters and I had no idea,” Josephine said.

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