International Women’s Day: Mandurah resident Edith Edwards (97) reflects on her role in WWII


Edith Edwards (97) was a signals operator translating Morse code messages during World War II.
Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au   d480107
Edith Edwards (97) was a signals operator translating Morse code messages during World War II. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d480107

EDITH Edwards reckons following your dreams is the key to a happy and fulfilled life.

As a 21-year-old, Edith, who was born in Kalgoorlie in 1921, joined the Army after feeling compelled to support the war effort when Darwin was bombed.

After signing up, she was transferred to Perth and then Melbourne, where she worked as a signals operator translating Morse code messages.

“At that time nobody thought the war would go on for that long, but obviously it did,’’ Mrs Edwards, who clearly recalls living in Melbourne during the early 1940s when the place was full of American soldiers, said.

“I worked alongside many women, some of whom joined up as young as 18.

“We all got sent to different schools and were trained in areas we were interested in or showed a talent for.

“It was all very interesting. But it was also a very difficult period, as you would expect during wartime.

“Rations were enforced and coupons were needed for everything from food to clothing.

“That time seems so long ago and when I look back I very much feel like I’ve had an enjoyable life.

“I’ve tried not to let things worry me and I’d say to young girls now to follow their dreams and also consider going into the forces.

“It was certainly a great experience for me at the time.”

Mercy Place Mandurah service manager Christina Venables said International Women’s Day provided an important opportunity to celebrate the achievements of female residents.

“We have many female residents who really did blaze a trail for women in their younger years, many of whom joined in the war effort and rolled up their sleeves because they wanted to make a contribution,’’ she said.