99 signals big milestone

At 99, veteran Norma Eggleston is one of Australia’s oldest living female signallers.

CAPTION: Director Recruiting – Army Colonel Kimberlea Juchniewicz congratulates veteran Signaller Norma Eggleston as she celebrated her 99th birthday at the Woden RSL club sub-branch, Canberra. Story by Major Anne-Maree Hunt. Photo by Lieutenant Colonel David Hankin.

Ms Eggleston joined the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC) in 1942 during World War 2 and served in multiple postings around Australia before discharging four years later in 1946.

The Woden RSL sub-branch organised a high tea on June 13 for Ms Eggleston’s 99th birthday to recognise her service and dedication to Australia.

The celebration was attended by more than 30 people, including members of the local RSL sub-branch, veterans, serving members and Ms Eggleston’s children.

“I cannot believe so many people have come to celebrate with me,” Ms Eggleston said.

“I am overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from current serving Army personnel today.”

Ms Eggleston was presented with her service history and a unit coin from Australian Defence Force Academy Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Virginia Morris.

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CAPTION: Norma Eggleston is presented with a certificate on her 99th Birthday by Director Recruiting – Army, Colonel Kimberlea Juchniewicz and Australian Defence Force Academy Warrant Officer Class One Virginia Morris. Photo by Lieutenant Colonel David Hankin.

“Ms Eggleston is a modern woman who went from being a gunner to signaller and deciphered Morse Code from aircraft for the majority of her service,” WO1 Morris said.

Director Recruiting – Army Colonel Kimberlea Juchniewicz said it was a privilege to attend Ms Eggleston’s birthday celebration.

“Norma is an incredible woman who served her country in a time of need,” Colonel Juchniewicz said.

“She is an inspiration to all of us, and I cannot wait to attend her 100th birthday next year.”

Corporal Daniel Hodgson, of 147 Signal Squadron, searched through the Australian War Memorial archives for Ms Eggleston’s service history.

“Understanding the contribution of others gives me a sense of respect and purpose for those who have served before me,” Corporal Hodgson said.

The serving Army personnel added joy to the celebration by presenting a cake and singing Happy Birthday.

Colonel Juchniewicz said the event was a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman, whose service and contribution to Australia had not been forgotten.

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CAPTION: Corporal Daniel Hodgson, of 147 Signal Squadron, speaks to veteran Signaller Norma Eggleston as she celebrates her 99th birthday at the Woden RSL club sub-branch, Canberra. Photo by Lieutenant Colonel David Hankin.


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