Pat Guest (nee Bourke)
Pat Guest enlisted in the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) in 1942. She was from Singleton in New South Wales. Pat joined with her cousin Doris, and they both put up their age so they could enlist.
When waiting at the train station at Newcastle to travel to Sydney, Pat, Doris and two sailors they had met, witnessed the shelling of Newcastle by a Japanese submarine.
In the AWAS, Pat worked initially as a mess steward but then trained as a driver and drove on various jobs.
Pat recalled her time as an ambulance driver, ferrying the returned prisoners of war (POWs) to hospital. This was the worst time of her service, owing to the poor condition of the men’s health and the anxiety of their friends and relatives trying to find more information about them.
Pat’s brother, Jim Bourke, had been a POW and returned home weighing only 5 stone (32kg).