Emotions were stirred in Ravensthorpe on Sunday as 50 people attended a special showing of ‘Lady Soldiers’ a film by visiting Historian Lyn Dale, organised by the Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council at the Red Room.
The pre-ANZAC screening told the stories of 17 Lady Soldiers who served in the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps between 1950 and 1970. A majority came from rural Australia, including June Pearson from Hopetoun.
A remarkable aspect of the film was the pragmatic belief by those featured that their experiences were ordinary, when in fact they were anything but.
Their calm recollections brought smiles and tears to an appreciative audience. They told of enlisting, travelling to distant training camps, meeting and living with complete strangers, parade ground training, and being assigned to tasks and places that defied the expectations of a glamorous uniformed experience.
They also told of falling in love, marrying and, sadly, being forced to resign from the WRAAC as a result.
A special supporting event was the Qualup Choir which preceded the film with a stirring rendition of GrIeg’s Finlandia, in preparation for a further presentation at the Ravensthorpe ANZAC day ceremony.
Another highlight was the presentation by local Terri Pens who told the story of her grandfather James (Jimmy) Wood, a recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War 1. Terri told of the extraordinary bravery shown by James in singlehandedly defending a position against a company of German troops until Allied forces could be advanced to secure an Allied victory. Her grandfather’s Victoria Cross was exhibited during Terri’s excellent presentation.
The evening concluded with supper during which the audience had the opportunity to exchange wartime and military service stories with Lyn and her Lady Soldier friend Cheryl Burrows, Terri Pens, and members of the Qualup Choir.
At the quilting workshop in Hopetoun.
The writing workshop at the Ravensthorpe Community Resource Centre.