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Sky's the limit for our Norma

UP AND AWAY: Norma Marsh's favourite aeroplane has always been the WWII Spitfire. Photo Daniel Elliott / Stanthorpe Border Post
UP AND AWAY: Norma Marsh's favourite aeroplane has always been the WWII Spitfire. Photo Daniel Elliott / Stanthorpe Border Post Daniel Elliott

FROM a young age Norma Marsh looked to the sky with wonder and wished she could take flight.

Mrs Marsh got the chance to spread her wings and learn to fly with one of Australia's most accomplished and famous pilots Nancy-Bird-Walton in her late teens.

"From the time I was a small girl I had always wanted to fly and I've flown in all kinds of aircraft," she said.

"We were in a women's flying club in Sydney and I learnt to fly in a Gypsy Moth."

With the outbreak of the Second World War in the Pacific the skies became a battlefield. On February 4, 1941, the formation of the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force was approved and Mrs Marsh enlisted and soon found herself in the thick of the war effort.

"The air force lent us a plane but the government decided petrol was so scarce that we couldn't use it," she said.

"I was a steward at the number one bombing and gunnery school in Evans Head.

"We were all about 19 but we got pretty tough and could look after ourselves."

After a five-year stint Mrs Marsh was discharged and like many service personnel struggled to re-adjust to civilian life but said her time in the WAAAF had been a good experience.

"The first 12 months after we were de-mobbed were tough because I left behind all my mates," she said.

On November 11 Mrs Marsh will take part in Remembrance Day activities at Villa Carramar but she said it was one particular wartime tragedy which had stuck with her the most.

"On November 19, I'll feel the loss of the HMAS Sydney because we had men onboard,' she said.

Topics:  remembrance day, stanthorpe


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