Corporal Colley 109869 Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF)
Lorraine Colley hailed from Jamberoo and was a boarder and an active member of the College community from 1941 to 1942. Lorraine was in the ‘A’ Hockey team in both years; 1942 was a particularly successful Hockey season with most matches played against a variety of schools on the Presbyterian Ladies’ College oval at Pymble.
During her time at the College, Lorraine was also secretary of the French Dramatic Club, which she started with seven other girls. The French Dramatic Club offered the students a glimpse into French poetry and drama and followed what were considered the current events of the time, involving the Free French Movement.
In 1943, Lorraine decided to help the war effort, hoping to “become a wireless telegraphy operator in just a matter of another five months”. She wrote to Miss Knox stating that she started out doing the “rookie’s course” and then moved on to “doing the Morse for four weeks”. Morse code was vital in World War II to communicate between warships and a wide range of bases so that the opposing side could not access and discover plans.
Letters and Photos
A.C.W. Colley L.N.
No 4 Wing
24/ 9/ 43
Dear Miss Knox,
I have been intending to write to you for some time, to let you known of my movements during the last few months, but am afraid that this is the first opportunity I have had to really settle down to letter writing.
I dare say you have heard that I have been a member of the W.A.A.A.F for approximately seven weeks now and find the work intensely interesting. I hope to become a wireless telegraphy operator in just a matter of another five months or so, or perhaps if I am lucky, before that period. I have only been doing the morse for four weeks, the first three were taken up with our Rookies course which was marvellous fun. We have about five hours work time a day and this is broken up at intervals by physical training and drill, of which, incidentally, the Air Force is very proud and not without cause for believe me those periods certainly are composed of concentrated drilling.
Reveille is at six and stand to at eight in the morning. We then work through with the necessary break for lunch until five when we stand down for the day. From then we are free to do as we wish on the station until tattoo.
This, of course is a rather large R.A.A.F unit and has the largest W.A.A.A.F establishment in Australia, so the appointments present are very reasonable. Pictures are available every evening for the huge sum of sixpence and although rather old, always are entertaining. Dances are held twice a week and two canteens are open every night run by voluntary workers.
I think the only things I do not like about the life are the injections and at the moment I am in hospital as the result of same. The trouble is that we seem to get them all at once. Last Monday I received tetanus and typhoid needles which made me feel quite ill and extremely depressed for a day or two and not many days after that was given another tetanus and a vaccination from which I am suffering at the moment, along with a sprained ankle. However all being well I should be out tomorrow or hope so.
I was disappointed not to be present for the school sports this year and also for your very kind invitation to attend the presentation of Leaving Certificates Miss Knox, and trust to be able to renew friendships sometime in the very near future.
I am sincerely yours