The historic town of Mannum on the west bank of the Murray River in South Australia is celebrating the WW2 service of some of its much loved residents in the lead up to the 75th anniversary of the end of hostilities.
Among them is Rhonda Frick, who was born on March 28, 1925, and answered the call to duty in WWII, enlisting in November 29, 1943 at the No 6 Service Flying Training Schools RAAF.
The No 6 was a flying training school of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) which was located at Mallala, South Australia.
Rhonda served as a member of the WAAAF, in transport, and drove trucks to pick up stores in Adelaide as well as manning ambulances and fire trucks.
On the fire truck she was stationed at the runway with three males, sitting for eight hours at a time while planes with trainee pilots practiced take off and landings.
Rhonda was a very small lady and people were not quite sure how she reached the pedals.
She was discharged on November 21, 1945.
Rhonda married Corporal William Frick, 33rd Garrison Parade.
She is now a valued member of the Returned and Services League, Mannum branch.
Women in war
The Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) was to be the first women's service to be formed in Australia (excluding the nursing services) but members were disappointed that other than some official visits made by a few to New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Northern Territory they were not permitted to serve outside of Australia.
The WAAAF was formed in 1941 after considerable lobbying by women keen to serve and by then the Chief of Air Staff wanted to release male personnel serving in Australia for service overseas.
The WAAAF was the first and largest of WWII Australian Women's Services.
During the early years of the War, the necessity to make use of women in many avenues of employment became apparent.
Recruitment expanded after Japan entered the war in December 1941 as the defence services recommended the greater employment of women in order to release men for operational duties.
By the end of 1941 some 1500 were serving. This grew to a peak of 18,667 officers and airwomen by October 1944.
Airwomen were accepted into 73 different musterings (trades), including highly skilled technical employment on aircraft, as well as armament workers, meteorologists, electricians, fitters, as well as clerical, medical, signals, transport, radar and other fields of employment.