WWII medal for Ivy
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.’’
HONOURED FOR SERVING HER COUNTRY: Ivy with her daughter Mary