Special Visit To Honour Service

RAAF

Muriel Dick, a 101-year-old World War 2 veteran living in Adelaide, has been honoured for her service by the Royal Australian Air Force.

During a special ceremony at the Resthaven aged-care home in Aberfoyle Park in Adelaide’s south, Muriel was presented with a number of gifts. These included a Chief of Air Force challenge coin and signed letter from the Deputy Chief of Air Force, and a female service dress cap by Commanding Officer 24 Squadron Wing Commander Craig Keane.

“Muriel played a vital role in the nation’s response to a call-to-arms to defend Australia and its national interests,” Wing Commander Keane said.

“We knew Muriel was unable to attend Anzac Day events in Adelaide this year, so it was the Air Force’s pleasure to come to her.”

Muriel was a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) from 1942 to 1946. She enlisted at the age of 21 and worked as a tailor.

“I decided to join the war effort to do my part,” Muriel said.

“I had the option of enlisting with the Air Force and keeping my job at Myer, so I could go back when the war finished.

“I signed up and was responsible for sewing labels onto the uniforms, as well as working in equipment.”

Reflecting on her time in the WAAAF, Muriel spoke of daily barracks inspections, beds made from hessian bags filled with straw, and regular training marches at night.

“We would be out marching in the middle of the night and one of the officers would swing a paddle around that made a ‘rat-a-tat’ noise to imitate the enemy overhead,” Muriel said.

“We would all have to get down into the bushes and hide so that we knew how to keep ourselves safe in the event of a real enemy attack. Luckily, we never saw any action.”

Leading Aircraftwoman Stacey Watson, a personnel capability specialist from 24 Squadron, was Muriel’s escort for the day.

Having previously worked in aged care, she was touched by how the staff lined up along the corridor to pay their respects to Muriel.

“It was such a privilege to be able to attend the service and meet Muriel,” Leading Aircraftwoman Watson said.

“All of my great grandfathers served in World War 2, but unfortunately I was never able to have a chinwag with them to learn about their time in the war, so to be able to do that with Muriel was such a humbling experience.”

Muriel, who is turning 102 in June, said she felt overwhelmed yet thrilled to have received a personal visit from the Air Force.

“To me, Anzac Day is the most important day of the year,” she said.

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