Thursday, 3 September 2020
Bradfield Electorate: World War II Veterans
On 15 August this year, we marked 75 years since the end of World War II. For many, this was the end of many years of pain, hardship and sacrifices. It is important that we recognise the valuable contributions of our veterans. I had the pleasure of meeting Bradfield constituent and World War II veteran Joan McLean, who enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force at the age of 18. Joan served as both an aircraft woman and a corporal on the cipher team. There she aided in decoding top-secret messages with the Typex cypher machine. She served until the end of World War II and was subsequently awarded the War Medal 1939-45, the Australian Service Medal 1939-45 and the General Service Badge. Joan played a specific and important role in the war effort, as did thousands of other Australians.
On the 75th anniversary of VP Day, it was an honour to hear Joan's stories and to present her with a commemorative medallion and certificate to recognise the contribution that she made to our great nation. Joan, I'm pleased to say, is one of a number of surviving veterans of World War II in my electorate of Bradfield. I want to acknowledge Ms Dorothy Graham, who served in the Australian Army; Mrs Joan Charles, who helped the British Army communicate via Morse code to their soldiers in Germany; Mr Roy Ringrose, who served in the Australian Imperial Force on the anti-aircraft squadron in Darwin; Mr William Skinner, who served in the Royal Australian Air Force in New Guinea, supporting soldiers with the supply of ammunition; and Mrs Therese Russell, who was a cook in the British Army, and she says that, due to her height, she was required to stand on a box when serving food to soldiers.
Just over 75 years ago, VP Day was a time of great joy, following a time of extraordinary sacrifice and following a remarkable effort by so many Australians to protect our nation. Today, we enjoy a lifestyle and a legacy and great good fortune, thanks to their efforts and their extraordinary sacrifice. It is an honour to have had the opportunity to meet Joan McLean, and it's an honour to be able to acknowledge in this parliament the extraordinary contribution made by the constituents I've mentioned, as well as everybody who served our nation in World War II. Today, all of us remain beneficiaries of their legacy of sacrifice and service.