Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Blessed with a Life Full of Love; Her Riches ,Co Friendships That Have Lasted Seven Decades, Family and Beloved Pets

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Blessed with a Life Full of Love; Her Riches ,Co Friendships That Have Lasted Seven Decades, Family and Beloved Pets

Article excerpt

Byline: KATE MATTHEWS kate.matthews@dailyexaminer.com.au

DAWN Flanagan says sheCOs enjoyed a fortunate life with plenty of blessings; her family, her friends and beloved pets among them.

Celebrating her 90th birthday at home in Calliope on February 20, the years melted away as Dawn (nee Corporal Kneipp) and two of her closest friends, Olive Jardine and Elsie May Shaul, sat down for a chat about the life they remembered as young women serving in the Australian Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) during the Second World War.

When they met, it was 1944 and the girls were in their early twenties.

They shared a hut at the No. 5 Service Flying Training School for the RAAF in Uranquinty, west of Wagga Wagga in Southern NSW.

Corporal Olive McNeil, as she was known back then, remembered how tough the conditions were for the young women, many of who were living away from the comforts of home for the first time.

C[pounds sterling]We all lived in an unlined galvanised tin hut. We had to put up hessian curtains because there was nothing covering the windows. The floorboards were bare and it was so cold in winter, if you left your socks on the clothesline overnight, you could snap them in half the next morning,C[yen] said Olive, who now lives in Sydney with her husband.

It was so hot in summer, the girls took three to four showers a day, and there were terrible dust storms and if the windows werenCOt closed in time, everything would be covered in a deep blanket of dust.

And when it rained the mud would be almost unbearable.

But the terrible conditions did little to dampen the spirits of the young women and there was plenty of fun to be had.

Including a lot of swearing, according to Olive.

C[pounds sterling]Some of the girls were swearing and I said Co thatCOs enough of that, and I was going to charge them a penny for every time they swore... well, two girls would say, CyhereCOs a shillingCOs worthCO,C[yen] said Olive. …

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