Stories of War: Local Legend Ray Hinkler

News Mail Bundaberg Qld., April 22, 2017 | Go to article overview

Stories of War: Local Legend Ray Hinkler


Ray Phyllis Hinkler

Born: Brisbane in 1923

Resides: Bundaberg

Rank: Driver

Service: Australian Women's Army Service

Enlisted: Brisbane in 1942

Discharged: Brisbane in 1946

Trade: Ambulance Driver

Unit: 1st Ambulance Car Company-Grovely, Enoggera, Wallangarra, Toowoomba

Areas served: World War II Australia

Honour: War Medal 1939-1945 and Australian Service Medal 1939-1945

This is part of Ray's story as told to writer Jennifer Waldron in 2012.

Authorities put it to the people that everyone had to join in the war effort in either the services, the munitions factory, land army, or war work in factories, etc.

The farmers were kept on the land to feed the nation.

So I joined the army when I was 19 years and discharged four years later.

I enlisted in the Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS).

It was very bad and anxious times.

Prime Minister Curtain ordered troops to be sent home from the Middle East to fight in the New Guinea islands.

Darwin was bombed, there were Japanese submarines in Sydney Harbour, Singapore was taken, and many Australians became prisoners of war - many dreadful happenings.

I wanted to join the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force as a driver but I couldn't drive, but I found out that the army would teach you to drive, so Army it was.

America entered the war at Pearl Harbor.

American troops arrived and so did personnel from many other countries.

There was a big shortage of accommodation in Brisbane, for leaders mainly.

Our house became home to a Dutch Air Force commander and his wife for those war years.

America saved our bacon.

I enlisted at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds where I underwent a physical examination and was issued with my Army number and was sworn in.

After the Exhibition Grounds, we were taken to Victoria Barracks and issued with gear and clothing. …

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