WWII medal for Ivy

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Jessie Tol­son

A PORT Dou­glas great-great-grand­mother has re­ceived long-over­due recog­ni­tion for her vol­un­teer work in the Aus­tralian Women’s Land Army (AWLA) dur­ing World War 2.

Fed­eral MP War­ren Entsch of­fi­cially pre­sented 97-year-old Ivy Mar­garet Booth with a Civil­ian Ser­vice Medal 1939-45 last Fri­day.

The Civil­ian Ser­vice Medal recog­nises the ser­vice of el­i­gi­ble civil­ians in Aus­tralia dur­ing WWII who served in ar­du­ous cir­cum­stances in sup­port of the war ef­fort as part of or­gan­i­sa­tions with mil­i­tary-like ar­range­ments and con­di­tions of ser­vice.

Mrs Booth’s daugh­ter Mary Payne, 79, said her mother absolutely loved it.

‘‘When dad went in the army, mum used to make cam­ou­flage knits and vol­un­teered to do all sorts of work like that,’’ she said.

‘‘When they called for peo­ple to look af­ter the land be­cause the young farm­ers had signed up, mum went for that.’’

Be­ing a coun­try girl, work­ing on the land came nat­u­rally to Mrs Booth when she was moved to Mt Kooy­ong near Julatten, where the farms were pro­duc­ing veg­eta­bles for the Amer­i­can forces.

Mr Booth was a vol­un­teer in the Aus­tralian Im­pe­rial Force but was dis­charged in 1944 be­cause of an eye in­jury, at which time Ivy gave up the land army, and the cou­ple moved to Moss­man in 1950.

Mr Entsch said he feels very priv­i­leged to be in­volved.

‘‘Ivy’s friend He­lena Kanak-Dick­en­son was speak­ing to her re­cently about her war ex­pe­ri­ences and when He­lena found out that Ivy had never been recog­nised for her of­fi­cial role, she con­tacted my of­fice to see if there was any­thing we could do,’’ he said.

‘‘Af­ter some re­search, it turned out that Ivy was en­ti­tled to the Civil­ian Ser­vice Medal 1939-45, and in fact, she should have re­ceived no­ti­fi­ca­tion of it af­ter 1995, when the medal was in­tro- duced.

‘‘For some rea­son she didn’t re­ceive it, but we were able to re­quest a new one and I’m hon­oured to present it to her.’’

Mr Entsch said he ap­pre­ci­ated that while Ivy might have en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence, it couldn’t have been easy.

‘‘It was quite a sac­ri­fice - putting her only child in care so that she could serve her coun­try,’’ he said.

‘‘But the Women’s Land Army made sure that vi­tal agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties con­tin­ued de­spite so many young farm­ers hav­ing been sent over­seas to fight.

‘‘I commend Ivy for her ef­forts and I hope that it means a lot to her, to fi­nally re­ceive this recog­ni­tion.’’

Ivy’s hus­band passed away 25 years ago and she now lives at the Oz­care Nurs­ing Home in Port Dou­glas.

As well as her daugh­ter Mary, Ivy has t wo g r a n d c h i l d r e n , t wo g r e a t - grand­chil­dren and six great- great­grand­chil­dren.

Mrs Booth re­ceived her long over­due medal in front of mem­bers of her fam­ily and friends and was sur­prised by the at­ten­tion.

‘‘I just did the job be­cause I loved it,’’ she said.

‘‘I never knew there was an award and I re­ally want to thank He­lena KanakDick­en­son, this wouldn’t have hap­pened with­out her.’’

When Mr Entsch ex­pressed his grat­i­tude for Mrs Booth’s hard work in the AWLA, she humbly replied: ‘‘It was noth­ing re­ally.’’

Pic­ture: JESSIE TOL­SON

HON­OURED FOR SERV­ING HER COUN­TRY: Ivy with her daugh­ter Mary

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