Pat Guest - Enlisting in the AWAS

Running time
1 min 22 sec
Place made

Pat Guest recalled hearing about the Australian Women's Army Service and talked about her desire to enlist and fight the enemy.


I heard about the AWAS, the Australian Women's Army Service and I thought, "I'd like to join up. I'd like to go, too." I wanted anti-aircraft. I wanted to shoot Japanese planes out of the sky.

I thought, "How am I going to join up? Mum won't let me go. Dad always thinks I was so delicate because the way I was born."

My cousin was the same age as me and she said, "They've got a woman's army going." I said, "Yes." She said, "Nice to be in that." I said, "I'd like to go, too."

She said, "How about we go down to Newcastle, catch the train? I've got enough money for both of us. We'll catch the train to Newcastle, we'll join up and then we'll tell Mum and Dad later."

I thought, "Good idea." We went down to Newcastle.

The first thing he said was, "How old are you?" "We're 21." Because we knew we had to have the permission, see.

He said, "I see. And where are your baptismal or your birth certificates?" "Oh." He said, "Hmm. Strange how birth certificates all got burnt at one stage. A lot of them were burnt in fires."

We thought he's giving us an out here, so I said, "Well that's what happened to ours." "Oh, righto." He signed us up."

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