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Shepparton women honoured

Yesterday a group of women helped unveil a long awaited tribute to the ex-servicewomen of Shepparton and district, an honour board listing all their names, which will hang in the Shepparton RSL.

November 12, 2012 4:05am

Elsie Martin and Mary Lyons


Elsie Martin had her paperwork prepared and submitted well before she turned 18; with three bothers already enlisted for in the armed forces during World War II, she was determined to do her bit. In January 1942 she officially joined the Australian Women’s Army. ‘‘You weren’t sent overseas until you were 21 so I ended up at Bacchus Marsh, we marched all those hills during the next three weeks,’’ she said.

Mary Lyons joined that same month after riding her pushbike down to the Shepparton depot.

Yesterday the two were together to help unveil a long awaited tribute to the ex-servicewomen of Shepparton an district, an honour board listing all their names, which will hang in the Shepparton RSL.

‘‘I think it’s wonderful, we’ve been really pushing to get one,’’ Mrs Martin said.

‘‘I had three brothers in the forces so I joined up to release personnel for up north,’’ she recalled. ‘‘It was important, women did a lot of important work.’’

Mrs Martin said her farm background prepared her for life in rudimentary camps and her role replenishing army canteens.

‘‘It was hard work, we even changed the tyres and maintained the vehicles,’’ she said.

Mrs Lyons has long since forgotten the Morse code she used to send and receive messages as a signaller based in South Yarra.

‘‘I look back on it fondly and remember all the wonderful friends I met,’’ she said ‘‘I also met my husband.’’ She said the honour board was wonderful recognition, but a long time coming, for the more than 80 women listed from the district who served.

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