Lest We Forget

On ANZAC Day, we take this time to remember all who have served for our country. This year, we speak to Woodford Manor resident, Hilary, who reflects on her wartime experience.

On ANZAC Day, we take this time to remember all who have served for our country. While those who participated in active service were heavily impacted by the sights of war, often the effects were felt by family members as well.

Resident, Hilary recalls the effects that serving in the first world war had on the health of her father Albert.  ‘When he returned home [from war] he was always sick and passed away not long after, ’ Hilary says, ‘I cannot remember how old he was.’

During the second world war it was Hilary’s turn to be called up, but at only 18 years old and having seen the effects of war she was not keen to go. ‘My boss managed to get me out of the war as he needed me as his secretary,’ she says.

Hilary recalls at the time that women were putting their hands up to go to war, but she never understood why. ‘People were not very nice to me, they would say, if others can go to war, why couldn’t you?,’ but Hillary says,  ‘I didn’t want to lose my family, and I was lucky my boss got me out of the situation’. .

Through church,  Hilary met  Wilfred Jarvis, also 18, and the pair became good friends. Wilfred was called up to serve in Papua New Guinea and during the three years he was away  they wrote back and forth to each other. Wilfred was granted leave for a short period to come home for his 21st birthday, returning from service permanently when he was 22.  When he came back, Hilary recalls that he looked very pale and sick due to complications from war. The pair fell in love and were briefly married at the age of 22.

Hilary recalls that the numerous complications from war made daily living challenging. While she did enjoy receiving letters from Wilfred at the time, times were tough. ‘Everything was so hard, couldn’t get food, clothing, nothing, was so hard living,’ she says.

Soon, Hilary will celebrate her 100th birthday. She says, ‘I feel I have had a good life, wonderful family. My time left is here at Woodford Manor and I amvery lucky to have wonderful people around me’.

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