Congratulations to Eileen McDonell

Congratulations to Eileen McDonell (nee Greene), born in Coonamble, New South Wales, who turned 100 years old on Monday 2 March 2020.

In 1942 Eileen joined the war effort, signing up with the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) in Sydney. Posted to Richmond Air Force base she worked first as a store keeper, then equipment assistant. In February 1942 she was promoted to Corporal and twelve months later, to Sergeant. She recalls many enjoyable outings in Sydney with her fellow WAAAFs, including sailing on the harbour and volunteering with the Red Cross. Many of the young pilots who passed through Richmond were on their way overseas and she remembers the heartache of knowing that many of them would never return.

A later posting saw Eileen sharing quarters in a requisitioned mansion, Hopewood House in Darling Point on Sydney Harbour. Along with other servicewomen who had volunteered with the Red Cross, she met the first of the ships carrying repatriated prisoners of war from the Japanese camps and learned from them about the horror of the conditions endured by so many.

After transitioning in 1946, Eileen worked in various clerical jobs before raising a family. Her positive attitude to life, sense of humour and interest in other people have carried her through to her 100th year.

Eileen joined us at Calvary Flora in June 2017.

Eileen celebrated her day starting with a lunch at the Women’s Country Club in Adelaide and was joined by her family.  Eileen was picked up at Calvary Flora and escorted to her birthday function in a White 1950 Jaguar.

Happy Birthday Eileen